Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), says Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, can contest for president in the 2023 elections.
He said though the ruling All Progressives Congress has not come out with its zoning formula, Umahi has the right to aspire for any position in government “as long as he can muster the needed support and momentum for victory”.
Adesina in a piece on Friday titled, ‘Dave Umahi’s Heart of Lion’, praised the Ebonyi State governor for having the courage to dump the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for the APC.
He said Umahi had been a believer in the Buhari presidency even while he was in the opposition party.
The president’s spokesman wrote, “Umahi had always loved and respected President Muhammadu Buhari, and never hid it, though they were of different political parties. And the President reciprocated in like manner. In fact, the first State the President ever visited in the country and passed the night, was Ebonyi. Umahi was PDP in the exterior, but APC at heart.
“My first inkling of what was on the way was about two years ago. There was a meeting of Progressive Governors (as those elected on the platform of APC are called), and Gov Umahi had sent his deputy to attend. A PDP man among APC Governors? Something was definitely cooking.
“Now, the deed has been done. Gov Umahi has done what Napoleon couldn’t do. He has officially crossed from the PDP to APC. Only a man with the heart of a lion could do that.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the APC National Executive Committee on Tuesday approved waivers for Umahi and others who just joined the party to contest elective positions on the party’s platform without waiting for a particular number of years.
Umahi, who defected last month from the PDP to the APC, had complained of marginalisation of the South-East zone by the PDP as one of his reasons for leaving the party. He had also noted that he believed the APC would protect the interest of the South-East zone in the 2023 presidential election.
Adesina corroborated Umahi’s claims, saying the South-East must play better politics to get the ultimate office in the country.
The president’s spokesman further wrote, “Umahi has displayed a courage of conviction. He said the South East has been let down by the PDP in the last 21 years, so it was time to switch camp. It takes the heart of a lion to change course in such setting. Some people said it was because he wanted to run for President in 2023. And why not? The party has not come out with its zoning formula, but in a democracy, anyone can aspire for any position, as long as he can muster the needed support and momentum for victory.
“I’ve always said it. The South-East must play better politics to get the ultimate office in the country. Sleeping and facing the same direction may not be the best option. The Orji Kalus, Hope Uzodimmas, Chris Ngiges, Dave Umahis, and many others, are now shining the light, so that their people can find the way. And so let it be.”