Okafor Ifiebor/Rivers

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said his Ebonyi counterpart, David Umahi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, because of his presidential ambition.

Wike said this a statement he issued to react to the dumping of PDP for APC on Tuesday by Governor Umahi.

The Rivers State Governor dismissed claims by Umahi that he decided to leave the PDP because injustice meted out to the South-East by the  party over the years.

Wike, in the statement signed by Kelvin Ebiri, the Governor’s special assistant (Media) however said committed members of the PDP  were not surprised that Governor Umahi has formally defected to the APC, the party he has been fraternising with for a while.

He added that ordinarily, he would not have been perturbed by Umahi’s decision to defect to the APC, but, he felt offended by his attempt to justify his decision on the purported injustice meted on the South-East by the PDP.

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The Rivers State governor accused Umahi of being unfair to the PDP, which gave him the party’s governorship ticket in 2015 against all odds, and repeated same feat in 2019.

“My friend, Umahi wants to be President. There is no problem about that. You have a right to be President. Nobody can stop you.  You are educated. You have been a Governor for two terms, so you are qualified to say I want to be President of Nigeria. But, that does not mean, that you have to blackmail your party, and tell lies to the people you are leaving the party because of the injustice  meted against the South-East, that is not correct,” said Wike.

Governor Wike, who demanded that Umahi should retract the statement that the PDP has not been fair to the South-East, argued that under the PDP, the South East has produced Senate Presidents; National  Vice Chairman of the PDP  and Secretary to the Federal Government.

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He added that it was erroneous for Umahi to accuse PDP of injustice, when he had unilaterally imposed his younger brother as South-East zonal Vice Chairman of the PDP.

“In life, power is sweet, but conscience is important. It is most offensive and insulting for a man to lie against his party because of power.”

The governor said though APC has not yet told  Nigerians where it will zone its Presidential ticket, Umahi presumptuous move might be too hasty and will ruin him politically.

According to him, assuming the APC decides to zone its Presidential ticket to the South East where the party has no formidable base, what is the guarantee that Umahi will secure the ticket?

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“My reaction to Governor Umahi’s defection is not that he has no right to defect, but to say he is defecting because of injustice meted to the South East that is insulting to the South East.”

The Governor urged the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of the PDP to take decisive steps to ensure that PDP does not die in Ebonyi State.