Governors Nyesom Wike and David Umahi of Rivers and Ebonyi States respectively, are at each other's throats after Umahi defected from the PDP to the APC.

After months of speculation, Umahi formalised and announced his transfer to the APC on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

Umahi said his defection was a protest move, because the PDP has been unjust to the southeast region since 1998.

"APC never promised me any position, they never promised southeast any position, there was no such discussion. However, I am making this movement as a protest to the injustice being done to the southeast by the PDP since 1998 till date,” Umahi said.

Wike wasn't impressed, however.

Wike attacks Umahi

Wike wasted no time attacking Umahi after those remarks. According to the Rivers Governor, Umahi is wrong to say the PDP has treated the southeast region unfairly.

Wike added that Umahi left the PDP because he wants to be President of Nigeria; and that the move could ruin Umahi’s political career.

He also said Umahi has always been APC at heart, given how often he mingles and fraternises with chieftains of the APC.

“Committed members of PDP were not surprised that Governor Umahi on Tuesday formally defected to the APC, which he has for a while been fraternising with,” Wike said.

He added that; “My friend, Umahi, wants to be president. There is no problem about that.

“You have a right to be president. Nobody can stop you. You are educated. You have been a governor for two terms, so you are qualified to say I want to be President of Nigeria.

“But that does not mean that because you want to blackmail your party, and tell lies to the people that you are leaving the party because of the injustice meted against the southeast; that is not correct.”

Governor Wike of Rivers addresses the press in Port Harcourt on November 2, 2020 (Kelvin Ebri)
Governor Wike of Rivers addresses the press in Port Harcourt on November 2, 2020 (Kelvin Ebri)

Wike said the PDP has been very fair to the southeast geopolitical region, given that the region has produced senate presidents; national vice chairman of the PDP and secretary to the government of the federation; whilst the PDP called the shots at the executive arm of the federal government.

Wike also said Umahi was wrong to accuse the PDP of injustice after he imposed his younger brother as the southeast zonal vice chairman of the PDP.

The Rivers Governor said since the APC is yet to tell Nigerians where it will be zoning its 2023 presidency to, Umahi’s defection comes across as hasty and may ruin him politically.

Umahi hits back

Umahi has called Wike “a dictator who remotely controls the PDP."

The Ebonyi Governor said Wike’s “dictatorial tendencies and overbearing influence on the party’s affairs had made other governors unhappy with him.

“I refused to join issues with Wike because he is my friend. But Wike must know that he is a dictator. Wike must know that one person cannot be called a crowd. Wike must know that a lot of governors in PDP are not very happy with him. He remote-controls the party.

“He said that I made my brother the vice chairman. I fund the PDP southeast from A to Z. And he has forgotten that he single handedly made Secondus the PDP Chairman. He has forgotten that he wanted to impose one of his own as minority leader of the house.

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi left the PDP to protest injustice [Concise News]
Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi left the PDP to protest injustice [Concise News]

“There is nothing that happens in PDP without his authorization. He once said that PDP National Working Committee (NWC) members are beggars and bribe takers. I have asked him that let’s not take on ourselves or else it will be very dangerous.

“So let's face the party, the party does not belong to him. And this is by no means personal and he is demonstrating the dictatorial tendencies in him by taking me on, a fellow governor. And that is very shameful.

“You cannot stay in your state and you will be remote-controlling what happens in other states. Unless that changes you will see a lot of governors leaving the party,” Umahi warned Wike.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi are quite chummy (Presidency)
President Muhammadu Buhari and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi are quite chummy (Presidency)

Umahi’s defection to the APC has been hailed by former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari said he’s proud of Umahi for making the switch to the governing party. “I know people might call him names, but that is the price men of principles have to pay for acting according to their conscience and conviction,” the president said.