March 8,2022 was a bad day for Engr Dave Umahi. On that day, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja sacked him as Governor of Ebonyi State for defecting from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
This Magazine can authoritatively report that the Governor did not see his ouster coming. He didn’t take the Court case which was instituted by the PDP seriously. Afterall, he was not the first Governor to have switched party.
However, unknown to Umahi, through the Court case, PDP had just armed and powered a powerful anti-South-east force in his party, the APC.
This forces, funded and promoted by a wealthy South west APC element with eyes on contesting next year’s Presidential election, the magazine was informed, is primed at ensuring that no South-east politician in the party, with a reasonable political and financial clout makes a real bid for the APC Presidential ticket.
Thus, when Umahi dramatically declared his interest for the Presidency, and his possible preference by President Muhammadu Bubari began to gain currency in the media, the said APC chieftain reportedly became exasperated.
His next move was to launch a deadly plot to stop the Ebonyi Governor in his tracks with the PDP suit as a handy, potent weapon.The rest, as the cliché goes, is now history.
This magazine can comfirm that though he has appealed the Abuja High Court sack and has obtained a stay of execution from a State High court in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, Governor Umahi is indeed extricably embattled and his battle to retain his seat is not likely to end in his favour if what this magazine has been able to scrap from a reliable source within the APC is anything to go by.
It was gathered that the Abuja High Court ruling became a fait accompli through the instrumentality of the said South west APC godfather.
He has, also, allegedly vowed to follow the case through to the apex court.
The idea here, The source was informed, is to either completely wear Umahi out, distract him from further pursuing his Presidential ambition, or outrightly remove him as Governor thus eroding any advantage he has of securing the APC Presidential ticket as a sitting Governor with a considerable warchest.
Umahi won election as Governor on the platform of the PDP in 2015 and was relected to the same position in 2019. However, while he held office as a PDP Governor, he never hid the fact that he fancied President Buhari and the APC.
His romance with the Party and President was to the knowledge of his then Party, PDP, which pretended as if all was well.
In one of his brazen anti- PDP postures, Umahi gathered stakeholders of the party in Ebonyi and told them he was in both PDP and APC, declaring that he was the only person who could engage in such anti-party activity and get away with it.
In the run up to the 2019 Presidential election, the embattled Ebonyi State Governor practically querried the rationale for Atiku Abubakar and PDP’s choice of a fellow Igbo and former Anambra state Governor, Peter Obi as Vice Presidential candidate.Dave Umahi
He, allegedly, did little to promote or campaign for the Atiku/Obi ticket but did everything to sell the Dave UmahiBuhari’s candidacy.
However, despite Umahi’s perceived transgressions, a broad spectrum of the Igbo political elites and intelligentsia see him as face of the Igbo in the APC who stands a good chance of securing the party’s Presidential ticket.
They have, therefore, condemned the alleged forces working to undo him.
Said one of them: “External forces, political buccaneer outside Igboland are primmed at suffocating the Southeast out of the political space as far the 2023 presidential election is concerned.
“Yes, the external conspirators behind the court case and the court ruling targeted Umahi’s rising political profile. They targeted his bright chance at picking the APC presidential ticket in June.
Peter Obi: Umahi queried his choice as VP candidate.
“It is true that Umahi has a window of appeal up to the Supreme Court but the main idea is to distract him and take some steams off his presidential campaign”
Another asked rhetorically: “Ask yourself, why the attention on Umahi; is he the only PDP Governor who defected to the APC?”A
He then answers: “It is all part of the orchestrated external plot, intra-APC plot to stop him from runing for the presidency.
“These anti-South east forces are not in the PDP, it is firmly embedded in the APC ,security forces and the judiciary. Yes, in the APC, the very party Umahi joined in November 2020!
“The same anti- Igbo forces in the APC that are seeking to undo Umahi were also responsible for the persecution and prosecution of Senators Rochas Okorocha and Orji Uzor Kalu.They were the ones that lunged at PDP’s best presidential material and former Anambra state Governor, Peter Obi with Pandora’s papers.
Their intention was to smear Obi and leave him smelling rotten with a baggage but when it dawned on them that their own godfather and some other members were also not spared in the pandora paper controversial, they beat a quick retreat and the scandal died”
According to yet another Igbo political elite who pleaded anonymity, “the hawks hurting South-east political interest are equally the troublers of PDP Presidential material and former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.They are tugging at him with an EFCC case.
“The reactionary forces are indeed assiduously seeking to undermine and weaken Ndi Igbo politically.
“They were also responsible for the rise of Hope Uzodinma as Governor of Imo state; they equally tried, albeit, unsuccessfully to instal Senator Andy Ubah as Anambra state Governor last year.
“Now, who was sent to Anambra to conduct the kangaroo primary election that handed Ubah the APC guber ticket and divested Senator Chris Ngige and Chief George Moughalu of Anambra APC structures? His name is Dapo Abiodun, he is the Governor of Ogun state! And who is his godfather? Your guess is as good as mine.
“This is an all-out political onslaught against Ndi Igbo to weaken them and render them politically prostrate and castrated in 2023”
A Professor of Political Science in one of the State- owned Universities in the region told the magazine that the plot to stop the South-east in 2023 actually started in 2019. His words: “It started just before the 2019 elections; the plot to deny the Southeast any meaningful political input and participation in the 2023 presidential race started in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
“First, to render him a king without a crown, Governor Rochas Okorocha was denied the APC structures and the same were handed over to Uzodinma who would later be made Governor by a Supreme court ruling.
Secondly, to make him smell bad for the office of the president in 2023, EFCC charges have now been slammed on Rochas.
“Is it not also curious that another of our presidential material, Senator Kalu is equally facing the same legal distractions from the EFCC? Of all the class of 1999-2007 governors, is it not unsettling that Kalu is the only one that has gone to jail?
“Ndi Igbo, from all ramifications, are endangered species, politically speaking. The external forces arrayed against us are in control of the security forces and the judiciary as well as in the ruling party; they call the shots, they have the yam and the knife.
“It is quite possible they are the unseen hands behind the maddening security situation in the Southeast just to paint the region as unstable and therefore not suitable to be entrusted with power at the centre”
In his view, “our enemies can do and undo, they have a free reign; in 2019, erroneously taking Governor Nyesom Wike to be Igbo, they were on the verge of illegally rigging him out of office but later backtracked when it dawned on their godfather that doing so would hand Rivers to Rotimi Amaechi who is not in the APC faction with him.
“The godfather also realised that uprooting Wike would plunge the Niger Delta and by extension oil production there into unimaginable disruption which has the potential of affecting his easy lucre”
Appealing for South-east unity ahead 2023 Presidential election, the University don said: “This is time for pragmatic politics. Lets put party affiliations aside and fight for Igboland.Umahi is our poster boy for good governance, for development, he must not be allowed to go down. Let’s rise to confront these forces, Ndi Igbo must rally around Umahi now. He is one of our best”