DAVID UMAHI’S visit to President Buhari, to inform the president of his intention, to contest the 2023 presidential election, on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, may be Umahi’s second biggest news headline of late. He spoke to State House journalists, after the visit, and restated his discussion with the president.
The first big news headline was when he dumped the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the platform on which he got to political limelight, and serving as Governor of Ebonyi State, in Nigeria’s south-east, for two terms of four years; and migrated to the ruling APC. To the APC, Umahi was a big catch; while to the PDP, he would not be missed. PDP said, the party was already aware of Umahi’s move. That Umahi was “PDP in the day, and APC in the night”.
Umahi gave excuses for making the move, but denied presidential ambition. He claimed that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had not treated the eastern region fairly. The region, he said, has being PDP dominated States, since 1999, but has not gotten fair political treatment from the PDP, when it held power for 16 years – 1999 to 2015. Umahi’s claims were debatable.
PDP’s 16 years in power, could profile remarkable fair political treatment for the region. The region produced presidential and vice presidential candidates of the party; national chairmen of the party; secretary to government of the federation; governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank; ambassadors; high ranking federal ministers; directors-general of government agencies; Chairman of INEC; among other political bigwigs.
For the first time, after the civil war, the region produced a top ranking military officer, Chief of Army Staff. The opportunities provided for the region, when the PDP held power, were huge stepping stone for the region to go-after seeking political power, not waiting to earn political power. Political power is never earned, but keenly contested, in a politically aware, conscious and organised environment or region.
It is certain, Umahi is in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, with presidential ambition. Will Umahi canvass for political power in the APC; that it is the turn of the eastern region to produce the nation’s next president, and wait to earn power; or he will go-after power, and contest for the office? Securing political power is not poppy talk. It is engagements, consultations, negotiations, and building consensus, as well as being relevant.
Rather, politicians of eastern region are engaged in “rotation” or “turn” arguments. That it is the “turn” of the region to produce the next president in Nigeria in 2023, or nothing else. The turn or rotation argument, or argument of political and economic disadvantage or marginalization, are lamentations. It does not produce political power. Nigerian presidency is a serious matter – not David Umahi’s dream.
Political power is not about someone or a group’s wish or sentiment. It is about power to mobilise the people, power for national interest, power to execute or carry out the objectives of a political party for the benefit of the people and the nation.
The zero hour towards 2023 is drawing closer. Those seeking political power need a thinking cap, and should go-after it seriously – from the East, West and from the North.