The Progressive Governors Forum has described the defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State to the All Progressives Congress as a testament to the party’s capacity to mobilise Nigerians.
The PGF Director-General, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Bagudu, while welcoming Umahi to the party, said winning an illustrious and experienced leader as Umahi was a historic accomplishment for the APC.
He said: “We celebrate the decision of Chief Umahi as a testament to our party’s capacity to mobilise Nigerians.
“The vision of the founding fathers of our legacy party is for the APC to serve as a platform to unite all Nigerians under a progressive umbrella.
“With Chief Umahi now in APC, the vision is further reinforced and shall contribute to the process of membership and leadership recruitment at all levels.
“It is heartwarming that notwithstanding all the fabricated campaigns against the APC and especially our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, Umahi is able to make the bold decision to join our party, based on our performance.”
Bagudu added that Umahi’s defection to the APC was a strong acknowledgement of President Buhari’s credentials as a fair leader with balanced and equitable disposition to issues of justice and impartial politics.
He congratulated Buhari, the leader of the APC, and reaffirmed the forum’s commitment to support him to build the party to a strong and democratic political entity in the country.
He also congratulated the party’s Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker Extra-ordinary and Convention Planning Committee for the development.
According to him, winning an illustrious and experienced leader as Umahi, is a historic accomplishment for the party.
He said: “We especially welcome our fellow compatriots for taking the courageous and historic step of leaving the PDP to the progressives’ fold.
“The movement of our compatriot to the APC, in spite of all manners of intimidation, harassment and persecution by his former party is worthy of commendation.”
He added that Umahi’s defection to the APC was indicative of his strong personal principles, commitment and conviction to the progress of the country.
Bagudu further said that considering the nature of achievements recorded in Ebonyi since 2015, Umahi could not had been in any other party but the APC.
He said: “If anything, we are only welcoming Umahi home where he belongs; to the party that will provide him and his people, and indeed all Nigerians the viable platform for political aspirations and negotiations.
“Together with Chief Umahi and all our leaders in the APC, we are confident that our party’s capacity to serve the collective interests of all Nigerians through effective representation will be strengthened.”
According to Bagudu, by coming into the fold of the progressives, Umahi has opted for open, transparent and honest contestation in politics.
He assured that the APC Caretaker Extra-ordinary and Convention Planning Committee was working to ensure the institution of a solid foundation for the democratic development of the party.
He expressed confidence that the committee would soon release a detailed programme of activities that would lead to the party’s planned national convention.
Bagudu said that together with Umahi, “the party shall forge stronger partnership to mobilise patriotic and like-minded progressive Nigerians to join it to enhance its capacity to respond and resolve its democratic challenges.”
He said the party’s message to Nigerians was that politics was all about free, fair and transparent contestation, adding that the APC belonged to every member.
He said: “Everyone, from every part of the country is free to aspire for any position in the party in line with provisions of our party’s Constitution and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“The progressive reinforcement of our party has started, guided by our Caretaker Extra-ordinary and Convention Planning Committee.”
The forum’s D-G said the APC was, however, looking forward to receiving more patriotic and progressive minded Nigerians into its fold.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Umahi formally defected to the APC on November 17, after weeks of speculation that he had taken the decision to dump the opposition PDP for the ruling APC.
One of the reasons given by Umahi for his defection to the APC was that the South East region had suffered what he described as injustice in the PDP over the years.