Ebonyi South Senatorial Bye-Election: Austin Umahi Deserved A Right Of First Refusal – Eze

…Says it is Unjust to Scheme Him out of the Contest after Relinquishing Ticket in 2022
…This notwithstanding, Eze congratulates Prof Ani for emerging as APC Candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial District ahead of the Feb 3rd By-election.
…. Thanks Gov. Nwifuru, and Minister Dave Umahi, for the Intervention

Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party nPDP and APC chieftain, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze says the decision of the State Working Committee of the Ebonyi State APC to micro-zone the Ebonyi South Senatorial by-election ticket to Onicha Local Government Area, is laced with a perceptible tincture of bias against Chief Austin Umahi, who undisputedly merits a right of first refusal, for his very loyal disposition in 2022.

Recall that Chief Austin Umahi had in May 2022, clinched the party’s Senatorial ticket for Ebonyi South, which ticket was later relinquished to former Governor of the state, HE., Engr. Dave Umahi, on the instruction of the party, later stood for election and won the senatorial seat on the progressives’ platform in 2023. The seat was however declared vacant after Sen. Dave Umahi resigned from the Red Chambers to take up an appointment as a cabinet member under the Tinubu administration where he serves currently as Works Minister.

In a statement made available to the media houses, Eze described the action as a raw deal targeted against the towering political influence of the former henchman of the umbrella party who left PDP as National Vice Chairman in 2020, to pitch tent with the APC and advanced the cause of the party in the whole of the southeast.

Austin Umahi, according to Chief Eze, aside from other sacrifices, served in 2023, as Director-General of the APC Governorship Campaign in the State, navigating the party on the path of victory in virtually all elective positions in the just concluded elections. Despite his feats, Umahi has never held any government appointment.

Chief Eze noted that as the winner of the senatorial primary election in 2022, he obeyed party directives and handed the ticket to HE., Engr. Dave Umahi, Chief Austin merits a right of first refusal and the denial of same by the party is inequity.

The APC Chief however commended the Umahi family of Uburu in Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi State, for their timely intervention into what appeared to be a brewing political crisis which had the potential of throwing the entire state into anarchy.

Thanking Chief Umahi for always making sacrifices for the party, the state and the overall interest of democracy, Chief Eze said the intervention by the Umahi family saw the voluntary withdrawal of Chief Austin Umahi from the race, which withdrawal, he said was a necessary recipe for peace in the already troubled political atmosphere.

Eze described Deacon Austin Umahi as a great Philanthropist who singlehandedly built a Parish of RCCG together with the Pastor’s residence in his hometown and demonstrated that he is a very principled leader when he refused Federal Government appointment as RMAFC secretary describing the appointment as meant for job seekers.

The present situation notwithstanding, Eze assured Deacon Austin Umahi of his due at the appropriate time and called on those hellbent on polluting the political space with vindictive falsehood to look elsewhere, as Chief Umahi will continue to carpet their smear campaigns and calumnious engagements in the interest of development in Ebonyi State.

The above notwithstanding, Eze congratulates Prof Ani for emerging as APC Candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial District ahead of the Feb 3rd By-election.

With the emergence of Prof Ani as the APC candidate, it is good to conclude that he will win the February 3rd By-election convincingly if we are to consider the weak candidates being fielded by other political parties for the election.

Eze highlighted that Prof. Ani scored a total of 281 votes out of 285 votes with 4 voided ballots at the just-concluded party primaries held at Afikpo North local government Secretariat.

Announcing the result, the chairman of the electoral panel, Akin Akinsehinwa disclosed that the primary was conducted by the Electoral Act and the constitution of the APC.

He stated that Prof. Ani went unopposed as Mrs Ann Agom Eze, one of the aspirants who indicated interest after purchasing a form to run for the seat, failed to return it and never appeared for screening.

Ani was the consensus candidate of APC and all other stakeholders who during one of the meetings zones it to Onicha, where Ani hails from.

Recall that there was a declaration of vacancy of Ebonyi South seat in the Senate sequel to the resignation of Sen. David Umahi from the Senate after he was appointed a minister.

Anthony Okorie Ani is a professor of agricultural extension at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Imo State.

The APC Chief commended the former Governor of the state and Minister of Works, HE., Engr. Dave Umahi, for his pragmatic approaches towards problem management, especially his fatherly guide in the Ebonyi state political playground which quickly contained every ensue-able crisis from the senatorial ticket tussle.

Eze similarly called for support for the Governor, Rt. Hon. Nwifuru, for standing committed to the consolidation of the gains and achievements of his predecessor, Dave Umahi, in striving to make Ebonyi the pride of the southeast and Nigeria in general.