The race for the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC) presidential ticket in 2023 is heating up, with Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State declaring his interest in the nation’s top job yesterday.
Similarly to former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja yesterday to inform him of his presidential ambition, Umahi met with the president at the villa and sought his blessing for his presidential ambition.
After a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor told reporters that he had “fruitful discussions” with him on politics in general and security challenges in the south-east, “which was the main reason for the visit.”
On politics, Umahi revealed that the conversation focused on the APC’s progress, the 2023 general elections, and his interest in running for president.
He also stated that after serving as governor for more than six years, he was well-positioned to run for president on the APC ticket.
“We talked about politics and how our party, the APC, is growing in Nigeria and the south-east. And, of course, you’re aware of the south-interest east’s in the presidency in 2023. And, of course, I told Mr. President that, regardless of the party’s decision, which we will respect, if the party opens or zones the ticket to the southern part of Nigeria, I believe that, based on what I’ve put in place over the past six years, I’ll be running for president on the APC platform.
“So I told him, and of course, he believes that anyone running for president of this country must consult widely, meet with all of the leaders, and do everything possible to eliminate ethnicity and religion from our politics.” “In order for this country to develop.”
When asked if he felt threatened by Tinubu’s interest in the same presidential ticket, he clarified that he was not contesting with anyone.
“I’m not competing with anyone; I’m competing with myself,” he said.
While citing a Bible passage to support his ambition, Umahi added that God’s will would win out in the end.
“The Bible that I swore with in a section of 1 Samuel says that no man shall prevail by strength, and power and might belong to God,” he says. He gets to choose whom he wants, and he’ll do so in 2023.”
In terms of what he has to offer Nigerians as a presidential candidate, the governor stated that he would pick up where President Buhari left off in 2023.
“So, if God permits, we want to treat the country in such a way that what we’ve done becomes a microcosm of the macrocosm that we expect.” We’re also confident that we’ll be able to carry on with what Mr. President has started.
“Ethnicity, religion, and the unpatriotic characteristics of many people are among the most serious problems we face in this country.” And I believe that engagement should begin where Mr. President would have left off.
“God willing, and if the people of this country wish it, we’ll be looking at the same thing we did in Ebonyi state under Umahi’s presidency.” Before we came on board, we were a state that had been written off, with no infrastructure to speak of.
“However, I must commend the first two civilian governors, Dr. Sam Egwu and Chief Elechi, who accomplished a great deal despite the fact that they arrived in the midst of the nation’s dust, Ebonyi State.”
“As a result, they faced a number of difficulties.” As a result, I can say that they laid the groundwork for me to build on. As a result, there are numerous things that we have accomplished in Ebonyi.”
The governor also stated that he spoke with the President about resolving the security crisis affecting the country’s south-east region through political solutions, which he believes can be achieved through consensus and out-of-court settlements.
“Let me also add that, as chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum, I am in favor of a political solution to our insecurity issues in the south-east.” Of course, I told Mr. President about it. You see, a political solution does not end the judicial process, and if you know Mr. President well, you know that he has consistently stated and demonstrated that he will not interfere with any judicial process.
“Everyone knows who he is because of that.” But you’ll recall that if a deal is reached between the parties, you shouldn’t expect Mr. President to be the negotiator; there are a lot of federal and government officials involved.
“So, I believe strongly that as a south-east region proposing a political solution, we should be able to engage the federal government; after all, there’s always the ‘out of court settlement,’ but it is for our people and our brother Kanu to be willing for us to truly engage so that we can find true peace in our region because the activities there have destroyed a lot of the economy of the south-east, and a lot of lives have been lost,” she said. We were yelling that it wouldn’t help because the agitation shouldn’t have gone the way it did.
“Today, the situation has progressed beyond their control. Every criminal, kidnapper, and armed robber claims IPOB, and IPOB fights them, but I believe it is too late.
“So, we want peace, we want to save our people’s lives, and we’re willing to engage in order to reach an amicable settlement and rebuild the southeast’s economy,” he said.
When asked what he thinks should be the starting point for engagements for a political solution to the south-east security challenge, the governor said, “South-east leaders, of course, not all of them, must be selected leaders, and already the Ohaneze and Chief Mbazurike are in the forefront and have always been briefing me, so I’ve joined them with Southeast governors.”
“That could be a good place to start, and we’ll be able to figure out what we want.” We want peace, so there are some things we must give up in order to achieve it.
“If we aren’t being treated fairly, and some people believe we aren’t being treated fairly, we should be able to constructively show the federal government the areas where we believe we aren’t being treated fairly.”
“Not through hate speeches, not through violence, I don’t believe in these things,” he said, “because even in homes, in families, we still have one thing or another against the family, but they should be able to discuss.”
When asked if he had contacted Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the governor stated categorically that the group should not be involved in party politics.
“I wouldn’t have done that without first clarifying with Mr. President that there is a sense in the south-east that we haven’t had a President, and that our people believe that those of our leaders in the various political parties should indicate interest in running for President, and that this is fair and important.”
“However, at the end of the day, God Almighty and political parties will decide.” The leadership of the Ohaneze should not engage in political maneuvering. Yes, they can speak for the interests of the south-east, and they can speak for fair treatment of the people of the south-east, but in the interests of equity, justice, and fairness, and to ensure that all political parties and aspirants have a level playing field, they should not get involved in politics of who to support or who not to support.”
Umahi described last week’s statement by Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, that the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) should have met last weekend as “misinformation.”
“I’m not Mr. President,” he says, “and I don’t believe the governor you mentioned should have spoken for the party because if it’s the APC Governors’ Forum, we have a leader, a chairman who is His Excellency, the governor of Kebbi State.”
When I called him, he wasn’t even aware of the meeting, and if it’s the party administration, we’ve got His Excellency, the governor of Yobe State.
“If we’re going to have a press conference on Sunday, I think these two would be able to speak to the press.” So I didn’t know, and I had to ask the chairman of the APC Governors Forum, who didn’t know either. As a result, I’m not sure the meeting took place.”