At a press conference in Abuja, Wednesday, the Chairman of the Ebonyi National Assembly caucus and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu said though Umahi has the right to join any political party of his choice, if the reasons he advanced for his defection were untenable.
Egwu added that although the National Assembly members from the State would not abandon the PDP because of Umahi, saying, “We remain proud card carrying members of the PDP, the platform on which we contested elections in 2019 and won”.
The former governor insisted that Umahi should be the last person to jump ship having benefited immensely from PDP in the past, including his appointment as State PDP chairman, to his being elected as deputy governor and a subsequent two-term governor on the platform of the party.
The senator, while reading the text of the press conference, said: “We, the undersigned members of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly, wish to address our fellow PDP members and other well-meaning Nigerians, on the defection of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi from the PDP to the APC.
“For the sake of clarity, we wish to state that not a single member of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly is defecting to the APC.
“The three Distinguished Senators and five House of Representatives members remain proud card-carrying members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the platform under which we contested and won elections in 2019.
“The major reason given by Chief Umahi for defecting from the PDP to the APC is now in the Public domain which is that the PDP has not been fair to the People of the South East on the issue of zoning the Presidency and vice Presidency.
“While we support that it is the turn of the South East to fly the Presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, yet we consider it impolitic, indecent and unwise to give ultimatums and conditionalities in a bid to secure zoning.
“Indeed, if there is any Ebonyi person who should remain eternally grateful to the PDP, that individual ought to be the Governor David Umahi; a man who was appointed the Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, made deputy governor of a PDP administration, and was elected for two terms under the banner of the PDP.
“As Governor, his two younger brothers were elected to principal offices of the PDP; one (Mr Austine Umahi) as the National Vice Chairman (South East) and another (Mr. Maxwell Umahi) as the Deputy State Chairman of the PDP.
“As democrats, we concede Chief Umahi’s right to join any political association of his choice.
“However, as Federal Lawmakers we are not unaware of the Supreme Court decision that candidates are products of political parties.
“What it means is that political office holders are not at liberty to migrate from one political platform to another, particularly when there is no division in their party.
Recall, Governor Umahi had on Tuesday formally announced his defection from the PDP to the APC, while the National Leadership of the PDP had in a statement denied that Umahi dumped the party because of alleged injustice.