19 April 2017

Nigeria: VON Director General Hails Ebonyi Governor Over Statement On 2019 Presidential Poll

The Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, has hailed the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, for indicating that he and his supporters would not vote along party lines in the 2019 presidential election.

Mr. Umahi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, had on Tuesday in Abakaliki, the state capital, said the state would not play politics of sentiments when it comes to the presidential election.

The governor, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, said the state would vote for a presidential candidate that would help develop it irrespective of his or her political affiliation.

Mr. Umahi's predecessor, Martin Elechi, had a fortnight ago, defected from the PDP on whose platform he governed the state for eight years, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

In a statement he sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr. Okechukwu, who is an APC member, said the governor's decision could have been informed by his appreciation of the foundation being laid by President Muhammadu Buhari for a progressive and prosperous Nigeria.

"I am happy that Umahi is one of thousands of Ndigbo who are coming to terms with the silent revolution going on," he said.

Mr. Okechukwu, who hails from Enugu State, said the South-East chapter of the APC would harmonise different personalities, especially from Ebonyi State, that are trooping into the party.

He said, "They are all welcome. We welcome Umahi, we welcome Elechi and their followers; we shall at the appropriate time sit down and coordinate the way forward. I don't foresee much crisis.

"My happiness is that the surge of Ndigbo into the APC and by extension the support of the 2nd term bid of Buhari is a prelude to the actualisation of the president of Igbo extraction in 2023."

"This is why we are appealing to our brothers and sisters who are agitating for Biafra to realise that a bigger, just and fair Nigeria is unfolding. All we require is patience."

Mr. Okechukwu said he was one of those who believed the only way forward for the Igbo to harvest from the subsisting zoning and rotation convention of the presidency was to support Mr. Buhari in 2019.

According to him, it was timely because the Igbo people had supported and voted former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and by extension the Yoruba in 1999 and 2003 and Goodluck Jonathan and by extension the South-South in 2011 and 2015.

He said, "2019 is Buhari's time to consolidate the war against corruption, restore peace in Nigeria and lay a level playing field for progress and prosperity.

"Governor Umahi has vindicated the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who had earlier predicted that three PDP governors are heading to APC.

"Our common objective is for us to reposition Ndigbo in the mainstream of Nigerian politics and take our eminent position in the presidency."

The VON DG predicted that more people in the remaining south eastern states would join the APC, saying "Thank God Buhari has all the major political actors in Ebonyi State on his side, next is Anambra, we are going to win this time around."

The official said he believed that "all the major political forces in Enugu State is with Mr. President, especially with his rapid construction of abandoned federal roads, and other critical infrastructure. The truism is that more states no doubt will follow.

"This is why we are inspecting ongoing federal projects in the South East. We therefore salute Umahi for his foresight and truthfulness."

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