Why I suspended my Senate president race, by Umahi
• Suggests three tenures, 70 years age limit for legislators
The outgoing governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, yesterday, said it was out of respect for his party, All Progressives Congress (APC), and the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, that he suspended his ambition to become the next Senate President.
Umahi, who would be a greenhorn in the 10th Assembly, said these, as well as the interest of the South East to play at the centre informed his decision to back out of the race.
According to him, he had always wanted the South East to be at the centre, and that informed his brand of politics to keep the region at the centre of discussion. He assured other regions that Nigeria would be better as a united entity than divided.
Umahi, who featured on the breakfast show of Channels TV, Sunrise Daily, said: “The president-elect, Bola Tinubu, called me and said, ‘look, I am committed to zoning the Senate presidency to the South South,’ and I said, ‘sir, I will not disobey you, and I have never disobeyed any sitting president, even when I was in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
‘I was always defending the president, not because he was doing everything right. But the ones he was doing wrong is for me to advise him like this. Not necessarily to bring it to the public.
“I am the Chairman of the Akpabio-Barau Campaign. I do not need to be Senate president to bring my people to the centre. By obeying the leadership of the party, by obeying the president-elect, I am already endearing the people of the South East to the hearts of leaders.”
Umahi noted that as the Chairman of South East Governors Forum, he is one of the figures representing people of the region. He stressed that he needed to pave way for the South East people.
To do this, the Ebonyi governor said he needed to be appealing to other regions of the country.
“Look, we can work together; we deserve the unity of the country, and that is the reason I will not disobey the party and its leaders,” he added.
The governor noted that the outgoing administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, provoked disaffection among people, and it fuelled agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He noted that he decided to suspend his race for the Senate president the moment his party zoned the postion to the South South with Godswill Akpabio as the preferred candidate.
“Akpabio is my brother and friend. I have every reason to support him.” He, however, suggested maximum of three terms and 70 years age limit for legislators.