In a recent development, David Umahi, the Minister of Works, has asserted his authority in determining his successor as the senator representing Ebonyi South within the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This decision comes on the heels of Umahi’s departure from the Senate following his appointment as a minister by President Bola Tinubu. The election petition tribunal in Abuja, in a ruling on September 8, upheld Umahi’s legitimate election as the senator for Ebonyi South, dismissing petitions from the candidates of the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
During his visit to Governor Francis Nwifuru as part of his statewide inspection of federal roads, Umahi emphasized his role as a prominent stakeholder within the APC. He highlighted that within the party in Ebonyi, only the governor holds a higher position than him.
Umahi pledged to ensure that the APC ticket for Ebonyi South remains within Ohaozara, his Local Government Area, promising to consult with the governor and pursue legal means if necessary to uphold this decision.
“We would ensure that the party zones the ticket to Ohaozara (his Local Government Area), and it will not leave there. We would discuss the issue with the governor and, through him, run through the court process wherever the opposition takes us,” he said.
The minister expressed his gratitude to the governor for supporting his efforts to have Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi (APC, Ebonyi Central) take his place as the Senate Deputy Majority Leader. He acknowledged the governor’s role in facilitating this process, underscoring the unity within the APC.
“I asked if you could facilitate the process, and you did, and it is currently working. It is not every governor that would want his subject to grow, but I want to assure you of complete comfort.
“President Tinubu does not like division, and be assured that you are not struggling for the party’s leadership with anyone,” he said.
Umahi reflected on his decision to switch from the PDP to the APC, acknowledging the challenges and backlash he faced. However, he highlighted the positive outcomes of this move, noting the increased political influence of Ebonyi State on the national stage. He encouraged Governor Nwifuru and others to work towards strengthening the APC in the state and the Southeast region.
“That decision nearly took my life; my properties were burnt and I became the enemy of the entire Igbo, but the decision fetched all of us our present position. So support the governor to deepen the party in the state and the Southeast zone,” he said.
Additionally, Umahi reiterated his belief that President Tinubu was divinely chosen to lead the nation, a stance he has maintained since the election campaign. He called on other Igbo stakeholders, including the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi, to support Tinubu’s leadership, citing the President’s appointment of him as a prominent minister even when the Igbo vote was not in his favor.
“The President gave us a foremost ministerial position even when we didn’t vote well for him.”