Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
A group, Ebonyi South Elite Class, has condemned moves by the State Working Committee (SWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to scheme out Minster of Works, David Umahi’s younger brother, Austin Umahi, from contesting the senatorial district’s bye-election scheduled for February 2024.
They were reacting to the party’s SWC meeting on Tuesday which zoned the senatorial zone’s ticket to Onicha Local Government Area (LGA) thereby edging out Ohaozara LGA where Austin hails from.
Austin, younger brother to Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, is vying for the seat vacated by the Former Governor after he was given a ministerial position by President Ahmed Tinubu.
The National Coordinator of the group, Dr James Enyinnaya said in a statement on Wednesday that the reasons given by the party for the decision amounted to “misinforming the public.”
Enyinnaya said that contrary to the reason given by the SWC that Onicha LGA does not occupy any political position of note, indigenes of the council indeed were occupying positions of note in the state.
“Prof. Monday Igwe is the Medical Director of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital while Prof. Chigozie Ogbu is the current Vice Chancellor of the Ebonyi State University.
“Rt. Hon Valentine Okike is a present Commissioner in the state so also Engr. Felix Igboke- the party’s candidate for the area’s House of Representatives seat.”
He noted that Onicha people refused to vote for Igboke during the last general elections and were now crying more than the bereaved.
“Hon Ogbonna Okike (Valentine’s younger brother is an SSA to the governor as the council has two other SSA’s and two SA’s.
“The council has statutory and other appointments in the state while its son was the PDP’s Gubernatorial Candidate whom the people chose to vote for.
The coordinator noted that instead of voting the APC’s Candidate for the House of Representatives seat, Igboke who is their son, they decided to vote for the Labour Party candidate.
“A son of Onicha LGA contested for the Senate under the Labour Party but failed.
“It is very important to note that the Labour Party candidate won the OHANIVO house of representative seat because Onicha people preferred to give their vote to Labour Party and betray APC.”
He noted that inciting the state governor against the good people of Ohaozara is totally unacceptable and such was capable of causing disunity within the party.
“The APC lead slogan during the last general election which Austin was the campaign organisation’s Director General; was and is still ONYE RUA ORIE (He who works will eat).
“Why is it abandoned this early as leaving the people who believed in and voted for you and undeservedly rewarding those who opposed you, is bad.
“It will encourage rebellion and disobedience in the party as the public should kindly ignore these compromised, misinformed persons parading as leaders.
Enyinnaya said such persons are after their personal gain and want to jeopardise the success of the party.
“We call on Governor Francis Nwifuru whom Ohaozara people voted for and Onicha people voted against, to ignore misinformation by these detractors.
“We should recall that in 2023, these people also worked against and tried to alter equity, fairness and justice agreement of making Nwifuru, the 4th Executive Governor of the state.
“The governor should remember that his main opposition came from Onicha LGA and to prove their determination to thwart his destiny, APC lost in Onicha LGA by scoring 5, 140 votes to PDP 15,403 votes.
“Ohaozara who led the campaign proved their commitment by voting 10,903 votes for APC as against PDP’s 5,003 votes.”
He reminded the APC SWC that Onicha alone cannot produce the winning result as the Labour Party candidate is from there.