Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State on Tuesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari to apprise him of his decision to vie for the office of the Senate President, saying that not having enough votes from the Southeast is not enough reason for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to deny the region the post.
Speaking to correspondents after the meeting with the President at the Villa, he said allowing the Southeast the chance to produce the next senate president will inspire buy-in from the opposition in the National Assembly.
His visit to the President followed similar ones by former Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) both of whom are also seeking the coveted job in the 10th Senate.
Umahi said: ”I think that every region clamouring for the presidency of the Senate to be zoned to it is the right of such people. If you look at the true reflection of our society, you will agree with me that the right thing to be done by our leaders without prejudice to their rights and thinking is that the South-East deserves the number three position.
“This is very important and I have always said that you can deliver somebody by the reason of the majority votes of particular regions but you also need the cooperation of the minority people to have a holistic nation to govern.
“So, for inclusiveness, unity of the country and for everybody to be carried along, the Southeast deserves the position and so far, nobody has been able to say this is the reason why the South-East should not be given that position and I am pleading for that.”
The Senators-elect said that the southeast made considerable contributions to the President-elect Bola Tinubu’s victory, as he advised the party not to base its choice solely on vote contributions alone.
According to him, the candidate to emerge must be one who gives the APC a fighting chance in the June election.
Umahi stated: “I know what effort we made as a people for the unity of the country. I know the way we were regarded and we understand that we are stronger while we are together and we made vows to our people while we were campaigning for APC, we assured them that we belong to an equitable and fair Nigeria.
“Now, it has come to a point where that position we took should be put to practice and that is what we are begging for because the chain is as strong as the weakest link and it is time for healing, inclusiveness as well as the time to move this country forward.”
On his pressure to have the Senate rules changed so that a fresh member can emerge as the president, he said despite being a freshman, he has enough experience in the public sector as a two-term governor and from the private sector as a businessman, to lead the 10th senate.
He argued: “If you check my pedigree, you’ll find out that I am a man who has handled his businesses from scratch to multi-billions. I was dealing with people. I was not dealing with sticks. That is experience.
“I was a party chairman twice for up to five years. I have managed a state successfully for almost eight years. I have all the experience, humility, honesty and integrity.
On his purpose visit to Buhari, Umahi said he updated on the state of the Muhammadu Buhari International Airport in Ebonyi State, which he said is ready for operation.
“Our Airport is not a Cargo airport. It is an international airport that handles domestic and international flights, as well as cargo. It is named after President Muhammadu Buhari. So I came to inform him that the airport was ready. We’ve carried out test flights. And it’s ready for him to come and commission,” he said.
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