President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to visit Ebonyi State next month to commission some of the over 2,000 projects that have been executed by the state government.
The governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who met with the president separately before the meeting of All Progressive Governors, told State House Correspondents, that Buhari directed the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), to conclude on the date of the visit.
According to Umahi, some of the projects to be commissioned include King David Medical University, some of the over 2000 completed roads built with concrete, the biggest mall in West Africa, the President Buhari large tunnel flyover bridge, with a fountain on top, the international markets as well as the industrial cluster.
Meanwhile, Umahi has denied that he has abandoned his ambition to secure the presidential ticket of the ruling party in next year’s election.
This is even as he maintained that he is not entertaining fear over the judgement by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who ordered him and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, to vacate their offices for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Governor who described the judgement as a blessing in disguise, said a counter pronouncement by a federal high court in Abuja, has affirmed that he enjoys immunity as an elected governor and that votes secured during an election legally belong to the candidate and not a political party.
The Ebonyi governor, who thanked his unnamed colleague (Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike), for admitting on national television that he was behind the hatchet job, likened him to biblical Judas Iscariot, stressing, however, that as a man who relies on the breath of God like any other mortal, he cannot determine his fate.
According to him, he serves only the living God while that of his unnamed counterpart (whose name he refused to outrightly mention), might be based on alcohol.
Asked if he was worried by any chance about the court sacking, Umahi said: “Do I look worried? You see, God has plans for everything. And I think that God allowed one court to give judgment that I go nowhere, allowed another court to say, because we defected, that the votes belong to the party.
‘And I’m very worried because the highest court has said that votes belong to the candidates. And that’s why even though APC won the election in Bayelsa State, the deputy governor’s credentials were defective. And even a day to swearing-in, the Supreme Court ruled disqualifying the candidate of APC that won the election because of his deputy. And so if votes belonged to the party, it would have been that the Supreme Court in its wisdom would have just asked for the man that won the election for the party to bring the substitutes to do that.
‘So I’m not worried. Because in the first place, there is no constitutional provision that says that the governor can be sued in the first place, so I’m not sue-able. You know, but a court judgment is a court judgment, I’m not in the position to interpret it but the Constitution, we swore to uphold, I can speak to the Constitution.
‘And the Constitution says that, once you’re elected, you enjoy immunity, and Supreme Court says votes cast in an election belong to the candidate. And that’s why you have qualifications of a candidate and not qualifications of a political party. So I’m not worried.
‘But you see, God allowed it so that where I couldn’t reach in terms of my consultation, this situation has made it possible for me to reach those places. And to truly see that Nigerians love me and they want me and that is the reason for that.
‘And I want to thank the PDP and even the man that boasted that he did that hatchet job. If the people that crucify Christ knew that it will bring salvation to the whole world, they wouldn’t have done that. So the hatchet man that boasted is likened to Judas Iscariot. And so I have no worry because the Constitution is clear. I have confidence in the judiciary and so you can see I have added some weight in these few days and looking more handsome.’
Asked if he and his unnamed counterpart had personal grouse aside the politics of decamping to APC, he said: ‘Probably the difference between us will be our faith. I serve the living God and he probably drinks a lot of alcohol. I don’t drink. So that is the difference between us otherwise he remains my friend and my brother and I have nothing against him.’
When asked to name the governor he referenced, Umahi added: “You should be the one telling me. You heard him on Channels boasting that he is behind. A mere man that depends on the breath of God. I pity illiteracy. It’s a shame. You are boosting to remove another governor.
‘What qualifies you just because you’re packing money that is the public fund? Not intellectual material but by just packing money from public funds and you are boasting about it. Otherwise, who were you?
‘I became a billionaire at the age of 25. I’ve worked all my life and I have asked him to come for public debates.
‘I do not commission 3.4-kilometres of road. I commission 35-kilometre roads. I commissioned twin flyovers running to one kilometre. I commission megaprojects with little resources.
‘So, if he says he has done well and he is Mr this or that, let him come for a public debate with me. Let’s start with our childhoods. So I’m not disturbed.’
Asked whether his presidential ambition has died he said: ‘It could be just your own imagination because there is no such thing. You can see us in the various media houses, you know, social media. You can see my supporters everywhere, you can see my consultation.
‘I even consult those who are also aspiring. And that shows you how committed I am to this course and I think it’s God’s project. So, there is no such thing. Whatever is God’s project, no such consideration will come to such project.’