Buhari is my ‘friend and father’ — Umahi

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Following his defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has described President Muhammadu Buhari as his friend and father.

Mr Umahi made the declaration on Tuesday in Abakaliki while confirming his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

He added that he was ready to be a martyr who will be sacrificed to achieve the much-sought Igbo presidency.

“I have to lead the protest against the marginalisation of the Igbo by the PDP and I don’t have to consult anybody to lead such a protest.

“I don’t want the PDP to collapse in the southeast but it can collapse itself in the zone if it does not heed to the peoples’ advice to entrench justice, fairness and equity.

“The PDP should be bold to declare its stand on zoning of the presidency to the southeast and if it cannot, should tell us why we are not capable of holding such a position but will come for our votes during elections,” he said.

Umahi said that the decision to leave PDP was not about leadership but about patriotism, justice, fairness and the overall interest of the people.

“I am not vying for any position in the APC so anybody who does not like me over the defection will be fighting the air.

“I will instead play the fatherly role of guiding anyone who wants to vie for any position because it is a waste of time for any governor to seek to replace himself.

“When you are looking for everybody to be loyal to you in politics, you might not get to your destination because destinations are not straight but full of obstacles,” he said.

Umahi said that he will not be disturbed if the APC fails to zone the presidency to the southeast but will depend on God to determine the matter.

“The APC, however, appears to be amenable towards working with the southeast even though the southeast never supported it the way it supported the PDP since 1999.

“We would be 24 years with the PDP by 2023 and Ebonyi, under my administration, will testify the numerous feats we have attained with the support of my friend and father President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

He said that his defection has created a political gathering and mass movement, unprecedented in Ebonyi history with both PDP and APC faithful coming together to pursue a common cause.

“I will have no regrets if our agitations are not met in APC as it will be on record that a governor was sacrificed for the betterment of his people on what is rightfully their due.

“We will still protest if we are still unfairly treated in the APC because protest is the beauty of democracy and if it doesn’t work now, it can work in the future,” he said.

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