Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi recently announced his departure from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Speaking to local journalists in the state capital, Abakiliki he said;
“Even if PDP promises somebody presidential ticket how does it work where over 8000 delegates will be voting. And such promise cannot happen with more than 10 or 20 people so people are being very mischievous about that.
“There are a lot of qualified persons from South-east. Some people say I was promised lots of things by the APC, there was no such discussion. APC never promised me any position, they never promised South-east any position.
However, I offered this movement as a protest to the injustice being done to South-east by the PDP. Since 1999, the South-east have supported the PDP. At a time the five states were all PDP. One of the founding members of the PDP was from South-east, the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.
It is absurd that since 1999 going to 2023, the South-east will never be considered to run for presidency under the PDP. And this is my position and will continue to be my position. It had nothing to do with me or my ambition.”
Why does this matter?
The ruling APC’s Achilles heel lies in the South-East and South-South where its presence has been limited by its loss of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state to the PDP leaving it with only Imo State before Umahi’s entry. Despite his denials, this move can be viewed as being largely informed by the jockeying for prime position in the 2023 elections and the post Buhari era. It is highly likely that the party could zone one of the key seats to the South East which would benefit any senior politician from the region that is underrepresented within the party.
Additionally, as a governor in his second term in office, Umahi does not really have a lot to lose so in that sense, aligning with the party at the center could be viewed as a canny move of self preservation.