Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state Tuesday formally informed President Muhammadu Buhari of 2023 presidential ambition on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is coming barely 24 hours after a chieftain of the party Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu told the President of his ambition to contest for the APC presidential ticket.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with Buhari in his office in Abuja, the governor said the President advised him to consult widely.
The governor said he was not perturbed by Tinubu’s entry into the race as he believes that the contest is not about might.
He said if he gets the opportunity, his presidency would replicate the current effort in Ebonyi state at the national level, stressing that he has a lot to show in running governance as business.
“I told Mr. President, that without prejudice to whatever will be the decision of the party, which we shall abide by, that if the party throws the ticket open or zoned to southern part of Nigeria that I believe that with what I have put in place in the past six years plus, that I’ll be running for presidency, on the platform of APC.
“So, I told him and, of course, he believes that whoever wants to run for president of this country must have to consult widely, go to all the leaders and that we must do everything to remove ethnicity and religion in our politics so that this country can grow,” he said.
The governor also spoke on the APC convention, saying: “I’m not Mr. President who must have the final say on the date for convention. And I don’t believe that the governor you mentioned should have spoken for the party because if it is APC governors forum, we have a leader, the chairman who is the His Excellency, the governor of Kebbi State.
“He wasn’t even aware of the meeting when I called him. And if it is the party administration, we have His Excellency, the governor of Yobe state. And I think these two would have been able to speak to the press, if we’re going to have such a meeting on Sunday. So I was not aware but I had to inquire from the chairman of APC Governors Forum who wasn’t also aware. So I’m not sure the meeting held.
“But I read on a newspaper sometimes when the party leadership came to brief Mr. President, and they told him February convention. Mr. President said yes. He is not a man that says yes and says no, at the same time, he is a man of integrity, he is a man of his words. So I believe that if he ever said February that is going to stick to that February. I am very sure of that but it is for him to speak or for the party leadership to speak. I speak for my state.”