The opposition Peoples Democratic Party has said it would not be blackmailed by the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said this on Thursday at the party’s 90th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was attended by a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; former state governors, and the 15 state governors of the party, including some members of the National Working Committee of the party.
Mr Secondus’ remarks come days after Mr Umahi formally announced his defection to the APC.
Mr Umahi on Tuesday declared he was joining the APC alongside his deputy, Eric Igwe.
He accused the PDP of not considering the South-east in assigning presidential tickets over the years.
But a chieftain of the party, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, faulted the reason given by Mr Umahi for his exit from the party.
He attributed the Ebonyi State governor’s movement to his quest to vie for the presidency in 2023.
In a reaction to Mr Wike’s statement, Mr Umahi described Mr Wike as a dictator, whose actions he said were ‘destroying’ the party.
Meanwhile, members from the Ebonyi State POP caucus of the National Assembly consisting five House of Representatives members and three senators had said they would not be joining the governor in the APC.
Meanwhile, the PDP has dissolved its Ebonyi State and South-east zonal committees.
PDP takes on Umahi
Mr Secondus, on Thursday, said the party and members of the National Working Committee “would not bow to any form of blackmail or be taken as weak”.“A lot of statements have been made concerning governor Umahi’s defection issue. You must have heard of the defection of Umahi to the ruling APC on Thursday and his provocative reason and the allegations of injustice against the South-east by the party.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State
“We have refused to join issues with him in any way, but we cannot bow to any form of blackmail by the grace of God.
“The members of the National Working Committee cannot be taken as weak, we will never bow down to any form of blackmail,” he added.
He assured the NEC members that the party’s affairs in the South-east region remain strong.
He said the state NWC “has taken crucial steps to protect and safeguard the party’s affairs in the region”.
“Just this morning, former Senate President, Pius Ayim, informed me that a lot of party loyalists who has served in Ebonyi government house are throwing in the towel, that they cannot go with the governor in that voyage.”
In his remarks, Mr Abaribe thanked members of the state caucus at the National Assembly for their “proactive action at remaining in the PDP.”