The two main political parties in Nigeria happen to be the two major destinations for defectors when they plan to leave their current political parties.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP seem to exchange members through defections at different times as some PDP members leave the party and join the APC or the other way round. As it stands now, indication suggests that the PDP may lose another state to the APC as a sitting Governor has concluded plans to join the ruling party.
It first started like a mere rumour that Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has a soft spot for the APC and was friendly with the party. It was officially dismissed then as politicians usually do. In fact, Umahi received President Muhammadu Buhari in Ebonyi where he was honoured at one point when he visited. The Governor usually praises the President and does not criticize him and his policies as expected of him as an opposition figure. All these made some discerning minds to start believing that there were elements of truth in the ”rumour” that Umahi had plans to join the APC by leaving the PDP anytime ahead of 2023.
Now, Umahi has told the PDP leadership that he will be leaving the party to join the APC. According to a report by The Punch, the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus led some other executive members of the party to meet Umahi in Ebonyi. It was an opportunity to convince the Governor to stick with the PDP and shelve the plan of defecting to the APC. However, all the efforts to convince Governor Umahi to remain in the PDP failed. He was reminded that it was PDP that made him hold many prestigious positions including the current post of a Governor. Yet, he told them that would leave the party for APC except on one condition.
From all indications, Umahi’s planned defection has every link with his future ambition ahead of the politics of 2023 presidential election. According to the report cited earlier, Umahi had told the PDP leadership that he is planning to join the APC because the party would protect the interest of his zone by zoning the 2023 presidency to the South East. Umahi is from Ebony State and the state is in the South East zone. If the APC zones the 2023 presidency to the South East, then it means that Umahi can contest.
In view of the above, one of the sources at the meeting told the press that Umahi wants the PDP to zone the 2023 presidency to his zone. According to the source, Umahi said that he would stay back in the PDP if the party does that. It means that Umahi must have had a privileged information that the PDP might have concluded plans to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the North. So, he then concluded that the party would not give him the platform to contest for President as he may be planning to do. Then, he decided to join the APC where he hopes to get the opportunity to contest.
Who knows if the APC will actually zone its 2023 presidential ticket o the South East as Umahi had hinted? Although, in politics, politicians believe that is better to belong to the ruling party so that even if they fail to get the number one post they want, the party can still give them other federal appointments instead of losing it all by contesting under an opposition party. That could be part of the calculations in this regard. Time will tell if Umahi will join the APC eventually and whether the APC will zone the presidency to the South East. Even if the APC does so, will Umahi win the ticket?