A Peoples Democratic Party chieftain in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike, yesterday said Ebonyi people will determine who will succeed Governor David Umahi, and not the incumbent Governor himself.
He claimed Umahi has realised that residents of the state have rejected his ‘self-imposed’ candidate, adding, “Governor Umahi recently resorted to casting aspersions on the candidates of opposition political parties in the state.”
The PDP stalwart was reacting to a statement credited to Governor Umahi, who, last week, said he was not supporting the governorship candidate of the party, Chief Ifeanyi Odii, whom he described as a political neophyte.
Abia, a former Commissioner for Information in the state, said this in a statement, on Wednesday.
According to him, “We are rather flaggerbasted that up till this moment, Governor David Umahi has continued to take Ebonyians for granted after his disastrous 8-year tenure which will soon expire in the next five months. It is now self-evident that Umahi had ruined the fortunes of the young state and is about to bequeath a horrible legacy of maladministration which has resulted in the abject poverty and hopelessness of the citizenry.
“This unenviable profile resulted from Governor Umahi’s strange and autocratic leadership style wherein the institutions of state were personalised and privatised just as Government policies were implemented without due process and in utter disregard for extant rules and regulations of the public service. Administrative recklessness bred lawlessness and political brigandage which in turn fuelled uncontrollable communal disturbances and wanton destruction of lives and properties in the state. Ebonyi state has known no peace since Gov Umahi mounted the saddle of Governance in 2015 because of his divide-and-rule tactics.
“After leading the state on this regrettable and inglorious path of self-inflicted destruction, Governor Umahi is not yet satisfied. He is now intoxicated with power and wants to carry his luck too far. He usurped the powers of the vital organs of his party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) by imposing his surrogate, Hon. Francis Nwifuru as the sole candidate, a public pronouncement he made during a funeral ceremony in Okposo, in Ohaozara LGA several months before the party primaries.
“Having realised that Ebonyians have rejected his self-imposed candidate, Governor Umahi recently resorted to casting aspersions on the candidates of opposition political parties in the state. His incoherent aspersions on the person of the PDP Governorship candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is meaningless because there is nothing he can do to change the popular choice of Ebonyians and that is the beauty of democracy.
“His often quoted comments on candidates he would have preferred as opposed to others who eventually emerged from the party primaries tends to project him as an anti-democratic element who works hard to undermine the unity and solidity of the political parties positioning to take over power in the 2023 general elections. Umahi is talking as if he has the constitutional powers and privileges to determine those who will succeed him.
“The fact of the matter is that Ebonyians have resolved to regain their political freedom by taking steps to rescue the state from a further slide into destruction and destitution. Ebonyians are moving en-mass through the instrumentality of the forthcoming elections to recover the governance of the state from Umahi’s failed experiments.
“The people of Ebonyi state today are geared towards enthroning a new leadership based on capacity, antecedents and proven track records. Wherever the leader comes from has become immaterial at the moment. Umahi must respect the will of the people.
“Ebonyians have come to realize that Gov Umahi himself constitutes the problem of the state and any candidate he supports for the 2023 elections stands to be rejected by the people of the state. Herein lies Gov Umahi’s current frustration and desperation. Let him stop his grandstanding and squarely face the concrete realities of the situation on ground.”