… Over Abuja Group Meeting
… NASS Members, APC Speak
By Oginyi Nkechinyere
There is no doubt that in every politicaed group fondly addressed as Abuja group or the Urban gorillas normally emerge to fight the incumbent government.
The genesis was in 1999 between the then Governor of the state, Sam Egwu and the then Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim.
In 2015, the said Abuja cabals also used presidential power to fight Governor Martin Elechi to a standstill.
Just early this week, a social media rumour filtered into the capital city of Ebonyi State, Abakaliki saying that there was a secret meeting to bring a crack into the government of David Umahi by some political stakeholders of the state and National Assembly members.
The social media report has it that the National Assembly members from the state allegedly held a meeting in a hotel along Bisala Road, Abuja last week with Senator Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central); Lazarus Ogbee, Edwin Nwonu; Engr. Elias Mbam (Chairman RMAFC); Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Sylvester Ogbaga, and the current Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Kelechi Igwe in attendance.
However, the rumour generated mixed reactions in the state, leading to the accused members and the All Progressive Congress (APC) coming up with statements to distance themselves from the report.
One of our respondents had quipped: “Although it is mere rumour, one should pray that the rumour will die as a rumour and never come to reality because it would do no good to the development of the state just as was experienced in the past”.
Obinna Ogba – There is No Abuja Group in Ebonyi State
According to the Senator representing Ebonyi Central zone, Senator Obinna Ogba, there is nothing, there was nothing in the likeness of the media report alleging the resurgence of Abuja group in the State.
The report which fingered the Senator as the leader of the new Abuja group alleged efforts by some Abuja politicians, mostly National Assembly members of PDP extraction and some APC stalwarts from the state to “thwart and outsmart Governor Umahi from choosing his prefered successor as governor of Ebonyi State in 2023”.
Ogba described the report as a total blackmail and attempt to cause trouble and disaffection in the state by sowing the seeds of bitterness, anger, distrust, and hatred.
He said, “The so called Abuja group only exists in the writer’s imagination and that of his sponsors. It is pertinent to state that if there is any Abuja group or would be, I am not aware and cannot be a party to such distraction.”
“This is surely the handiwork of the opposition who were recently defeated at the polls. The target is to distract the party and the government in the state by sowing seeds of discord.”
“The Ebonyi PDP as a family has come a long way since 1998 and has worked very hard to maintain the number one position in the politics of the state, and we cannot allow any passenger to come in between us.”
“Our governor, Engr. David Umahi is a team player who has carried major stakeholders along. We are proud of him and we have overwhelming confidence in him as our leader.”
“Let me use this medium to warn such columnists that some of us are very old in this game of politics. This tactic is too elementary that we could have ignored it but for record purposes.”
“I want to assure members of our great party that I am solidly behind the performing governor of the State, Engr. David Umahi and I am determined to give him the necessary support to make his second term another huge success.”
“For emphasis, may I state without equivocation that there is no Abuja group in Ebonyi state and I can never encourage such as it would disrupt the smooth running of the state.”
“Let me put the record straight, there was no meeting of either the so called Abuja group or any such group working against the interest of Governor David Umahi be it in ‘Bisalla road’ Abuja or Enugu as the confused writer claimed”.
“It is a known fact that I am a founding member of the PDP and has remained so, I would not for any reason hold meeting with some persons mentioned in the purported report as they are members of the APC whom I cannot discuss politics with. I have nothing with them and so far they remain in APC, I would not have anything to do with them.”
“It is on record that I have never left the PDP even for one day. I was a founding member of the party and former party chairman; I am too big to play anti party behind the scene”.
He called on the people of the state to disregard the media report and go about their normal businesses.
Laz Ogbee, Edwin Nwonu React
Two members of the House of Representatives from Ebonyi State, Hon. Lazarus Ogbee and Hon. Anayo Nwonu on Monday dismissed the innuendo in the state that federal lawmakers from the state have ganged up to fight Governor David Umahi in 2023 and replace his successor.
In their separate statements issued in Abakaliki, Ogbee and Nwonu condemned the insinuation which they said were concocted to smear their integrities, cause disaffection and heat up the polity in the state.
Ogbee, who is representing Ikwo and Ezza South Federal Constituency, noted that no such meeting took place and he has not been approached by any individual or group to discuss about Umahi’s successor.
The lawmaker described Governor Umahi as a team player, as he noted that it was uncharitable for any individual to be talking about the next governor of the state, as that would distract the giant strides of the Umahi’s administration.
Ogbee said, “No meeting was held anywhere. It’s the figment of their delusion. The allegation was mischievous, unthinkable and cheap propaganda concocted to smear my integrity. It is a lie from pit of hell. The proponents of this malpit of hell. The proponents of this malicious and vicious propaganda merely wanted to cause disaffection between some members of the National Assembly and our leader, Governor David Umahi. It was a ploy to paint me black as fighting the state governor but the mischief makers misfired.”
“Anyone talking about who will be the next governor of our dear state primarily wants to distract the good works of our governor and I have never been consulted by any individual or group to discuss who or how the next governor will emerge.”
“We are proud of the governor for what he is doing in the state and I know him as a team player. When times come for him to choose his successor, I know that he will consult all relevant stakeholders and leaders of our dear state as he has always done in critical matters of such importance.”
“My relationship with the governor is a bond of love, unity and loyalty. When I was the Chairman of Ezza South Local Government, I was the first council chairman to openly and publicly endorse the Governorship ambition of Governor David Umahi in 2015 as against the choice of the then incumbent Governor, Martin Elechi.”
“What is playing out now is that some disgruntled opposition elements knowing the pedigree and outstanding performance of the governor want to whittle it down by concocting these lies just to score some cheap political points and put most of us at loggerhead”, Ogbe hinted.
On his part, Nwonu representing Ishielu and Ezza North Federal Constituency said that no discerning mind would take the allegation serious, as the intention was only to heat up the polity and cause disaffection amongst key stakeholders in the state.
“The few members of the opposition party in the state want to cause infraction amongst us. They want to create an atmosphere where some people will be seen as fighting the state government. I have not even met the people mentioned in a round-table meeting since this year. The allegation is a cheap one and never existed.”
The lawmakers noted that they are pleased with the transformation works of Umahi’s administration and warned mischief makers to desist from acts capable of heating up the polity.
All Progressive Congress (APC) Press Statement
The State Publicity Secretary, Ebonyi APC, Mr. Nwoba C. Nwoba, during the week issued a statement defending his party from the allegation.
He urged Ebonyi people to disregard the rumour which is the handiwork of mischief makers.
The statement reads, “The Ebonyi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) wishes to use this opportunity to state that it knows nothing about the news dangling online which has it that some members of the National Assembly from Ebonyi State and other political stakeholders from the State held a meeting at Abuja recently and planned on the political journey of 2023 as it regards the state.”
“We would not have bothered ourselves with a response to the rumour, but was shocked after reading interviews granted by the members representing Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, Lazarus Ogbee and that of Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Anayo Nwonu alleging that the rumour was the brainchild of the major opposition political party in the state.”
“We therefore warn that the duo should mind their businesses if they have any and stop the unnecessary transfer of their individual political frustration on the major opposition political party in the state, and settle the scores they may have with the Governor of the state with every sense of maturity. We won’t fold our arms and allow propaganda of any kind used on us as a political family.”
“We wish to dissociate ourselves from the purported social media rumour and plead with the public not to swallow it in its poisonous state.”