Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has denied reports that he has declared support for Senate President Ahmad Lawan’s presidential ambition and has thus withdrawn from the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary.
The governor stated this in two separate statements from his media aides, Uchenna Orji and Francis Nwaze.
He was reacting to reports that he stepped down for Lawan, a fellow presidential aspirant, who visited him on Saturday in the governor’s Abuja residence.
Umahi had also posted pictures of the visit on his verified social media handles.
“It was a pleasure to welcome my brother, friend and the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan with his entourage made of six senators to my Abuja residence a while ago,’ the Ebonyi governor wrote on his Facebook page.
“We had brotherly discussions on national unity and our aspirations,” Umahi wrote.
After the meeting, a report was allegedly aired on Arise TV suggesting the Ebonyi governor had stepped down for Lawan.
The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Orji, in a statement on behalf of the David Umahi Campaign Organisation, described the report as fake news.
“We are surprised that Arise TV could descend so low as to take such a dirty job of running Aspirants down for needless gratifications”.
‘We urge Arise TV to immediately purge itself of this wanting behaviour by stating the obvious that Governor David Nweze Umahi, APC Presidential Aspirant never stepped down,” Orji wrote.
Orji explained that Lawan only returned a consultation visit previously accorded to him by Umahi and that both of them pledged to support each other in event of any of them emerging as the presidential candidate of the APC.
Nwaze, who is Governor Umahi’s special assistant on media, also said the report is false.
“This raises a question mark about the credibility of the source of such fallacy, what never took place which is capable of putting Governor Umahi’s aspiration in jeopardy.”
He said the Senate President’s visit was a last-ditch effort to ramp up partnership ahead of the APC Presidential Primary.
“The Senate President even took out time to eulogise Engineer Umahi for making the party proud through his purposeful governance in Ebonyi State.
“There was no time during the visit that the issue of stepping down by either Governor Umahi or the Senate President was discussed or even suggested,” he said.
“The teeming supporters of Engineer Umahi across Nigeria and beyond are encouraged to disregard the ill-fated news item which is by all standards fake, and go about their solidarity on the assurance that His Excellency the Governor is still very much in the race to develop Nigeria. God willing, he will emerge in the Presidential Primary of our great Party, the All Progressives Congress”, he said.
Umahi won his election and re-election (for his second term) on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A known ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Umahi defected to the APC in 2021.
He is one of the 23 presidential aspirants of the APC and was at a meeting the aspirants had with Buhari Saturday night in Abuja.
Although the APC has made its presidential contest open to all, newsmen report that the majority of its state governors want the candidate to come from the southern part of the country.
Lawan, the current senate president, is from Yobe in Northern Nigeria.
At yesterday’s meeting, President Buhari urged the APC presidential aspirants to consult among themselves and present a consensus candidate.
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