The Senate Minority Leader and Senator for Abia-South, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has vowed to remain in the vanguard for the agitation of justice, equity and fairness for the South-East in national affairs despite all odds.
He argued that giving up the agitation to accord the zone equal opportunities with other parts of the country would deepen their already existing pitiable condition and thus subject her people to second-class citizens.
The senator, who stated this after being presented with a Legacy Merit Award as the “Most Outstanding Performing Senator in the South-East 2020,” by the NUJ, Imo State Council, insisted that the quest for a president of Igbo extraction in 2023 was non-negotiable.
Represented by his aide, Chijioke Ukoh, the senator however, enjoined the Igbo not to relent but to remain firm, resolute and undaunted in the face of legions of challenges, assuring that light would definitely appear at the end of the tunnel one day.
He urged, “The Legacy Award is an appreciation and the reward for good work is more work. Please continue to be fearless, objective and constructive in the discharge of your duties as the watch-dog of society in line with the ethics of your noble profession”.
His comment comes amid the growing clamour from South-East leaders for an Igbo to succeed Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Meanwhile, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has said that his migration to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was in obedience to God.
He said that he defected to APC because he believes that the governing party is amenable to working with the South East region than the PDP. Umahi’s Defection Heightens Agitation for Igbo presidency.
The governor insisted that he would continue to agitate for the interest of the South East in or out of office, adding that he has decided to become the sacrificial lamb that would be crucified for the interest and good of the South East as a zone.
“My defection to APC was in obedience to God’s will, respect for President Muhammadu Buhari and an honour to dignitaries present as well as obedience to the wish of Ebonyi people.
“Money means everything to many people but I choose wisdom from God. “People asked why I was leaving PDP, but I told them that if APC would treat me nicely when I don’t have any relationship with it, what will happen when I am in its fold”. Referring to the N10 billion for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, which the president obliged without conditions on application.
“Even as large as APC is, one man does not control the party but in PDP, one man controls the party”, He claims.
Umahi advised that Nigerian politicians should try to get close to President Muhammadu Buhari to understand him, saying that the president never asked him to quit PDP.
The president never treated any governor with disdain and presently that I am in APC, there is no guarantee that I will be treated better than those already in the party as well as the PDP governors.
“We can boast of infrastructure and economic supports from the APC-led federal government, but we cannot do such for the PDP led administration since 1999,” he said.
Umahi further noted that despite his movement to the APC, he would not castigate the PDP, stressing that he wished the PDP would consider the region and zone the Presidency to South East for equity and fairness.
Alhaji Mai Buni, APC National Caretaker Chairman, congratulated Umahi and his supporters for joining the party, saying that he was entitled to all rights and privileges due to progressives’ governors.
“You are automatically the leader of the party in the state and a waiver has been granted to you and your supporters across the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
He urged him to be fair to all members of the party, and realise that others were already there before him.
“We will be inaugurating the state caretaker committee of the party which will ensure the formation of all structures at wards and LGA levels,” he said.
Governors also at the event included those of Kebbi, Jigawa and Niger State.