From Victor Osula, Abuja
Few hours after former Lagos Governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu told State House Correspondents in Abuja on Monday that he has formally informes President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to run for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, towed the same line on Tuesday and informed journalists in Abuja that he has has formally informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to run for party’s presidential ticket in the 2023 presidential election.
Umahi told this to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Buhari in the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday President Buhari advised him to consult widely
He disclosed that he was unconcerned about Tinubu’s entry and stated that he would be the man to beat if the party threw the presidential ticket open for aspirants
Umahi, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the APC, because he felt the opposition party indicated no interest in giving the South east a chance to compete for the presidency, said he was fit an proper to represent the Southeast best choice for the national plum job.
Umahi said: “I told Mr. President that without prejudice to whatever will be the decision of the party, which we shall abide by, that if the party throws the ticket open or zoned to Southern part of Nigeria that I believe that with what I have put in place in the past six years plus, that I’ll be running for Presidency on the platform of APC.
“So, I told him and of course, he believes that whoever wants to run for President of this country must have to consult widely; go to all the leaders and that we must do everything to remove ethnicity and religion in our politics, so that this country can grow.”
Umahi added that his presidency would replicate what he did in Ebonyi in terms of building of infrastructure, and will bring his experience in construction to bear on his works.
Umahi ssummoned the Bible to make his point, thus, : “The Bible that I swore with, a section of it in 1 Samuel says that by strength shall no man prevail, and power and might belong to God. He chooses whomever he wills and he will do that in 2023. I’m not in contest with anybody, I’m in contest with myself,” he said.
When asked about those he was likely to consult in the run up to the party’s convention to pick their presidential candidate, the governor who is Chairman of the Southeast Governor’s Forum, surprisingly, faulted the interest of the Southeast social political organisation, Ohanaeze Indigbo, in politics.
“I wouldn’t have done that without first coming to clear with Mr. President that there is this feeling in the South East that has not been President and that our people feel that those of our leaders in the various political parties should indicate interest to contest and this is fair, this is important. But at the end of the day, it is God Almighty and the political parties that will also decide,” Governor Umahi said.
“Ohaneze leadership should not play politics. Yes, they can speak for the interest of the South East, they can speak for fair treatment to South East as people, but as a matter of equity, justice and fairness, and leaving a level playing field for all the political parties and the aspirants, they should not dabble into politics of whom to support or whom not to support.
“I think they will hear it just like they heard other political parties’ aspirants. We will also write them to notify them that yes, they have capable sons and daughters that, if God wills, could do this job.”
President Muhammadu Buhari and Ahmed Bola Tinubu
National Leader of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Aswaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2023, first by informing President Muhammadu Buhari and next with a consultation tour around the country to inform stakeholders.
Addressing journalists after his meeting with Buhari yesterday, the APC leader said:
“I can answer that with a categorical yes. I’ve informed the President of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people will I consult. You will soon hear, all you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten that truth from me that I have informed Mr President of my ambition, and you don’t expect more answers than that. ”
The former Lagos State Governor also revealed that the President did not advise him to drop his ambition.
“He is a democrat. He didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t ask me not to attempt and pursue my ambition. It is a lifelong ambition. So, why do I expect him to say more than that? You are running a democratic dispensation, and you must adopt the principles and the values and virtues of democracy. That’s it,” he said.
He refused to be drawn into talk about the ambition of Kogi state governor Yahaya Bello and the rumoured ambition of VP Yemi Osinbajo for the presidentcy; “I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr President, and turn Nigeria better. I have done that with commitment in Lagos State.