The Chairman, South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, has strenghtened the resolve of the entire South East to support only the presidential aspirant who would guarantee equity, fairnes and justice for the zone, come 2019.
Umahi passed the verdict on Sunday when he received a Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Rabiu Kwankwaso, at the Government House, Abakaliki.
He described the South East as a free, truthful, loving and enterprising people desirous of the unity and oneness of Nigeria but warned that the zone would no longer be treated with ignominy in the general affairs of the country, adding that it would as a matter of importance, discuss and agree on the candidate to follow based on the wishes and aspirations of the people.
He decried the high level of inter and intra party acrimony raging in the country and maintained that it was time for the leaders to come to a negotiation table in order to profer solutions to the divisive sentiments tending to distabilize the country.
Umahi stressed: “The Nigeria people are getting more experienced.
“As people come to speak, they guage the aspirants and if any body tells you that he can influence the choice of any aspirant in this State, the person is not telling you the truth.
“We bond together as one people and we take decision as one people.
“At the end of the day, the decision of the best aspirant to follow will be that of the people…and we will definitely let the aspirants know who our choice is and the reason behind the choice.
“We may not be that rich but we are rich in truth.
“Ebonyi State, your excellency and indeed the South East is very desirous of the unity of this country; the oneness of this country,
“We desire equity, justice and fairness.
“We are very free people and very loving people, and that’s why we can come to your backyard in Kano, buy lands and buld houses and get ourselves at rest with the people and we and the people will do business.
“All that we need to thrive as a people is for fairness, Justice and equity to be enthroned
“And if any body says that South-east will not negotiate with the person that they shall cast their votes for, it is not true.
“We have reached a stage in this country where we should sit down as leaders and discuss: what are the things that bind us together, what are the things that tear us apart?
“This is because whether you are APC or PDP, whatever position you are having, if there is no more Nigeria, you will not hold those positions
“So this is very important for us and we will definitely insist that there is need to discuss.”
Umahi, however, acknowledged Kwankwaso’s laudable achievements both as former Governor of Kano State and former Minister of Defence, especially in the areas of transparency and human development.
He noted that with the large crowd of followers and the love expressed for Kwankwaso in the State he is “evidently qualified” for the job he was seeking. Umahi wished him luck and divine guidance.
Delivering his mission statement, the presidential aspirant said he was in the State to officially introduce and hand over the representatives of his Campaign organisation, known as Kwankwasiyya Movement, to the Governor and the party leadership in the State.
He described Kwankwasiyya as a movement started between 1991 and 1992 in Kano and which over the years has gained tremendous membership, especially from the lowly but very important segment of society across the country, adding that it membership in Ebonyi State cutting across all segments of society was about 50,000 at present.
Describing himself as a privileged and experienced politician, having started from the grassroots, he noted that out of the total of 15 different elections he had contested, he had only lost two.
He pledged to tackle the issues of power, education, health, as well as redeem the infrastructural deficiencies in the country while improving the resources of the State in particular and the South-east zone in general.
Kwankwaso further pledged to carry all and sundries along if he succeeds in his ambition.
He said: “The point I am trying to make, your excellency is to say that I started from the grassroots, from the scratch.
“Your Excellency, to me anybody who is in politics and never contested any election, if you are looking for field politician, it shouldn’t be him.
“You need to contest and win and contest and lose to fill all the gaps because you have to learn how to manage success in politics. You have to also learn how to manage failure in politics.
“I want to assure you that if we succeed, God willing, everybody, from the grassroot, right from the lowest level of our Party, the PDP, every body will be carried along to offer his or her maximum contribution for the success of the Government and ofcourse, that of the party.”
Meanwhile, Kwankwaso congratulated Ebonyi State for having Umahi as Governor and expressed ovewhelming pride over his bountiful achievements as a PDP Governor.
He added: “He is a Governor who I can comfortably recommend to this State for second term and also anybody like him should have an opportunity to spend eight years so that not only he will complete the projects and programmes that he has started but also, I’m sure he will start many more and complete them in the future.
“So I congratulate the people of Ebony State and I am so happy that we have such Governors in in the PDP (Peolples Democratic party) today).”
Kwankwaso has scheduled to officially declare for his presidential ambition and lauch his campaign at the Eagle Square, Abuja on August, 29.