Rivers State Governor Nyesome Wike has warned his counterpart from Ebonyi to not destroy the South-East on the altar of political ambition.
Wike’s warning follows Dave Umahi’s switch from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Umahi has a long history with the PDP. He was the party’s state acting chairman in 2007, state chairman in 2009, deputy governor in 2011, governor in 2015 and re-elected governor (under the PDP) in 2019.
Wike said the Ebonyi governor, who he said could have been an “APC mole” or “APC spy” all along, dumped the PDP over his ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. But Wike urged Umahi not to let his presidential aims destroy the South-East, the regional block to which Ebonyi belongs.
Wike also shared what he apparently believed led to Umahi’s exit.
Wike said: “When we (PDP) had the 2018 convention that produced Atiku Abubakar, as presidential candidate, he (Atiku) consulted widely and came up with Peter Obi to be his running mate.
“Umahi was livid because he wanted to produce or he wanted to be vice president. You don’t chose who would be the Vice Presidential candidate of anybody. Umahi was livid.
“What disturbs me? Why do you think that if anything comes to South-East it must be you? Why do you think so?”
Umahi claimed he dumped PDP because the party treated him unjustly. But Wike, who made his comments while appearing on a TV programme on Thursday, said Umahi does not really believe in justice. The comments were highlighted by Wike’s media aide Kelvin Ebiri.
Wike said that Umahi cannot talk of injustice when he practices injustice against the South-East zone by single handily installing his two younger brothers; one as the Zonal Vice Chairman of PDP and the other as the Deputy State Chairman of the party.
Wike said: “If he (Umahi) believes in equity and justice, will he be doing such? It is because he has planted these people that the State House of Assembly had such effrontery to give the National Working Committee (NWC) ultimatum to zone presidency to the East.
“Where does such thing happen? No other party has done any zoning. You can imagine the level of selfishness. “
Wike also said that Umahi’s claim that he made PDP what it is in the South-East was untrue.
“I know it’s not correct,” Wike said.
“If not for Pius Ayim that impressed it on former Governor Martin Elechi, would Umahi have become governor? So, he can’t say he’s the one who has built PDP.
“The party made him what he is and if he denies it, it only tells you the kind of person he is.
“What’s even his contribution at the national level of the party to support his claim? Where was he when people like Alex Ekwueme fought General Abacha and built the party? I distaste such arrogance.”
Wike dismissed the allegation against him by Umahi that he is a dictator who imposed Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman and his will on the party.
Wike said Umahi is “treacherous”. To buttress this, he stated that when the caucus of the party decided that Kingsley Chinda should be elected Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Umahi told his state reps to work against it.
Wike further stated that when members tried to rescue PDP from the “destructive” tendencies of Modi Sheriff, Umahi was one of those who was frolicking with the alleged Boko Haram sponsor.
“We fought and won and Modi Sheriff left,” Wike said.
“I can say that I am one of those who made sure that PDP never died. I feel comfortable with my performance in my state. Rivers people are comfortable with me too.
“For the first time before PDP left office, they (South-East) have never had Chief of Army Staff.
“They have had Senate Presidents. They have had national Chairman of the Party. They have had Secretary to the Government of the Federation. They have had Minister of Finance.
“Now, tell me what APC has given to the people of South-East since 2015? Minister of Labour, Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Three senators from his state (Ebonyi) said they have seen the need for South-East to produce president.
“However, it is not the way our governor is going about. This is not a personal thing.
“Your ambition should not destroy the entire South East,” Wike said.