Minister of Labour and Employment and one among the founding members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in South East, Senator Chris Ngige, weekend, explained that a number of the chieftains of the party within the zone didn’t attend the defection rally of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State because they weren’t invited.
Recall that a lot of prominent members of the APC from South East were reportedly absent at the defection rally by Governor Umahi, who had last week dumped his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP, for the ruling APC.
The Ebonyi State Governor had served because the State Chairman of PDP for several years and later became Deputy Governor from 2007 to 2015 before emerging because the governor in 2015 and was also re-elected in 2019 on an equivalent party platform.
He accused his former party of not being fair to South East by not zoning the 2023 presidential ticket to the zone which is believed to be the stronghold of PDP since 1998.
It was argued that out of the three geopolitical zones within the South, South West through former President Olusegun Obasanjo had occupied the very best political position of the land for eight years, the South-South through former President Goodluck Jonathan also was at the helm of affairs of the country for about six years, remaining only the South East.
Umahi said for equity, fairness and justice, the PDP should zone its presidential ticket for 2023 to South East whilst it’s been rumored that the APC was considering the zone for its presidential slot.
However, at the defection rally in Abakeliki, the Ebonyi capital , most APC stalwarts from the zone were conspicuously absent thereby fueling the speculation that there’s a crack within the party’s family within the zone.
Asked why South East APC leaders were absent at the rally, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Ngige said, “We didn’t attend because we weren’t invited, the solution is straightforward and shot.”
Also asked whose responsibility it had been to ask them, he said, “It may be a party thing, either the governor who is coming into our party will invite us or the Caretaker Committee leadership will invite us, neither of them invited us.”
Reminded of the alleged crack in APC family in South East due to the insinuation that the Caretaker Committee plans to think about Umahi for the party’s presidential ticket, hence the absence of the leaders, Ngige denied of data of any crack within the APC family within the zone.
He said, “Is there any crack during a family that somebody maybe is eating food and didn’t invite you to dinner, it’s a rally, it’s nothing to try to to with the welcome reception by the Caretaker.
“Maybe they felt most folks were busy. i’m busy with ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) problem as you recognize and labour issues, maybe that was why they didn’t invite me. albeit they invited me, exigencies of duties wouldn’t have allowed me to travel . So, there’s no crack.”
Asked whether Governor Umahi didn’t meet with the party leaders within the zone before his defection, the Minister replied, “That is that the question you ought to ask the governor not me.”
It was reported that neither the Senate Whip, Orji Uzor-Kalu, who is that the highest APC political office holder from the zone, nor the previous Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who was a foundation member of the party, Senator Ngige and therefore the Ministers from the zone attended the defection rally.
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