INDICATIONS have grown that Ebonyi State’s Governor Dave Umahi will seek the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) come 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina appeared to endorse him.
Currently the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, Governor Umahi, 57, defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he was elected. He was first elected in 2015 and last year, he was re-elected for a second four year term but his defection to the APC is seen as the beginning of a presidential bid for Aso Rock in 2023.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from southern Nigeria.
Each half of the country is made up of three geo-political zones, which in the south is made up of the southeast, south-south and southwest geo-political zones. However, since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo. while the south-south has produced President Goodluck Jonathan, so the next president should come from the southeast.
It is believed that Governor Umahi is hopeful of clinching the APC presidential ticket in 2023 and running for president as the party’s candidate. With Mr Adesina now coming out to give his tacit backing to Governor Umahi, it is believed that he may have the full support of President Buhari, who he shares a long-standing relationship with.
Earlier today, Mr Adesina, said though the APC has not come out with a zoning formula, Governor Umahi has the right to aspire for any position in government as long as he can muster the needed support and momentum for victory. In a piece titled Dave Umahi’s Heart of Lion, Mr Adesina praised the Ebonyi State governor for having the courage to dump the PDP for the APC.
He said Governor Umahi had been a believer in the Buhari presidency even while he was in the opposition party. Already, the APC national executive committee has approved waivers for Governor Umahi and others who just joined the party to contest elective positions on its platform without waiting for a particular number of years.
Mr Adesina wrote: “Umahi had always loved and respected President Muhammadu Buhari and never hid it, although 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. Now, the deed has been done, Governor Umahi has done what Napoleon couldn’t do, he has officially crossed from the PDP to APC and only a man with the heart of a lion could do that.”
Also, Mr Adesina re-echoed Governor Umahi’s stance that the southeast geo-political zone must play better politics to get the ultimate office in the country. If Governor Umahi gets nominated as the APC presidential candidate, he is likely to face former Anambra State governor Peter Obi of the PDP in a two-horse race.