The Christian Association of Nigeria in Ebonyi State Branch has waded into the recent faceoff between Governor David Umahi and some prominent stakeholders in the state, following the governor’s defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The body particularly expressed worry that the disagreement could distract the governor from giving attention to his ongoing developmental projects across the state.
The governor and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, along with some National Assembly members have recently engaged one another in a war of words over issues relating to Mr Umahi’s defection.
The CAN leadership led by its chairperson, Abraham Nwali, during a visit to the governor on Tuesday, sued for peace, maintaining that everyone has the right to move or remain in any political party of their choice.
They noted that it was too early to begin extreme politicking at this point when the people were desirous to see the completion of the international airport, the Olympic size stadium, among other ongoing projects across the state.
Mr Nwali, a reverend father, and Monday Nkwoagu, the Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese of the Anglican Communion, who spoke for the group during the visit, enjoined the governor to employ all wisdom and tact at his disposal to quell the brewing crises as there could be no development without peace.
Mr Nwali said, “Finally, we want to make a passionate appeal, and that passionate appeal is this; CAN is religiously minded and constitutionally minded.
“But we can’t leave the centre because of what is awaiting us. We need the peace, that peace is all that we are looking for.
“We are also going to seek your blessing to interface with the other group, also to plead for that peace.
“As a father, you are the vanguard of peace, but continue to remind us, let us continue to live in peace. Let us live in peace.
“Ebonyi State is a young growing state, and our case is not different. In Washington DC, which I know, there is always a sweep between Democrats and Republicans.”
“There is always a movement depending on the signal of your political ideology. In Europe, there is a move from the left to the right. There is nothing wrong with movement.
“Our worry is the focus to finish especially these three serious projects: the ring road, the airport and the stadium. We need the centre to finish them.”
Mr Nwali further extolled the infrastructural strides of the governor which they maintained, has brought fame and prestige to the state, saying, “Ebonyi State can never write the history of this generation forever without your name.”
Governor Umahi, while responding, assured CAN that there was no crisis in the state.
He maintained that the fight against the state and its government by about 10 persons can not override the solidarity of the majority of the stakeholders.
According to him, the fight was not unusual, but a confirmation that he is a genuine governor.
Mr Umahi further maintained that he still has no regrets joining the APC, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari has favoured Ebonyi more than APC states before now.
President Buhari, according to him, has in addition to other favours, approved the sum of N3.4 billion for the construction of a cancer treatment centre at the state’s new College of Medicine in Uburu.
Mr Umahi appreciated the CAN for their solidarity, counsels and prayers for the state, assuring that he would ultimately conquer in the battle.
Mr Umahi said: “I can assure you that there can be no crisis in the state. If it happened before, it cannot happen again under my administration.”
The delegation comprised the leaders of all the five blocs of CAN, bishops and other CAN executives in the state.
APC: Anyim’s letter ‘petty’
Meanwhile, the acting chairperson of the APC in Ebonyi State, Stanley Okoroemegha, has described the letter written by Mr Anyim as “mere pettiness,” that is undeserving of an elder statesman of the state.
He said: “There is no reason for such outburst. It shows pettiness on his side. Just a few weeks ago, I sent a Hilux van to him and he didn’t reject the offer. What kind of pettiness is this? I was the one that suggested at Exco that we should set a table at Udensi roundabout because of how beautiful the environment is. It was for the end of the year party.
“When the Hilux van was given to him, he couldn’t afford N190,000 for a revolving light. This is just pettiness. This is not how a leader should end or retire. I will not join issues with him and I’m still finding it hard to believe whether he was in the right frame of mind while writing such a letter. This is pettiness.
“Few months ago, it was him and Arthur Eze. The land of Ebonyi has blessed him, so he needs to live in peace. You could imagine that common community development leadership, he will bring his list, that I should publish. The governor said I should oblige it. I refused because it will cause a crisis. So, the governor said I should handle it. What he was saying in his letter are all lies
“I am not going to join issues with him. Governor Umahi has told us to be careful because they are leaders. However, we cannot fold our arms and be watching them, it is no longer acceptable. How many of them have attracted things to Ebonyi? He cannot do it because he lives a self-centered life. Ebonyi are wiser now.
“Why can’t he come out and contest for President? Is he now not qualified? He wants us to be sending money to him. I advise him to reverse from his moves or else Ebonyians will react in a way they may not believe,” he said.
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