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The Minister of Works, David Umahi, faced severe backlash from the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State’s South Zone for his audacious statement that he will single-handedly handpick his Senate successor.
It was deemed preposterous that the ex-governor of the state would make a comeback to insist on handpicking his Senate successor at the Red Chamber, especially after having unilaterally vacated the seat to assume a ministerial role, without consulting the electorate in Ebonyi South Zone.
Augustine Nwazunku, the Chairman of the state PDP chapter, released a statement on Wednesday, urging Umahi to make amends and apologize for his concerning remarks.
Umahi held the position of a senator, representing the Ebonyi South District, until he stepped down from office upon receiving a ministerial appointment from President Bola Tinubu.
During a courtesy call to Ebonyi State Governor Francis Nwifuru, on September 9, Umahi publicly said, ‘I have the right to choose who will succeed me.’
However, the PDP stated that ‘The attention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State, has been drawn to the sinister statement credited to the Minister of Works, Engr David Umahi, that he (Umahi) has the right to choose his replacement in the Senate.’
‘We hereby aver that such a statement from the Minister was utterly unbecoming of a man of his status. Granted that Chief Umahi, who was Governor of Ebonyi State from 2015-2023, was controversially elected into the Senate, which he unilaterally abandoned without consultation with his constituents in Ebonyi South Senatorial District, in pursuit of a ministerial position.’
‘It is extremely preposterous of him to come back now to offer such a ludicrous and anti-democratic assertion that he should be allowed to choose his successor in the Senate.’
‘First and foremost, we expected an educated man like Umahi to know that the judgment of the Election Petitions Tribunal on the petitions brought against him by his opponents in the Senatorial elections of February 2023, was not the final decision on his controversial election into the Senate.’
‘His opponents, Sen. Mike Nnechi (PDP) and Hon. Linus Okorie have signalled their interest to appeal the Tribunal’s judgment. It is only when the legal matters are concluded that the issue of re-run elections or bye-elections would be thrown up, depending on the final outcome of the legal matter.’
The party alleged that the minister had abused his authority, and that such actions are evidence of his disregard for the law.