By Jide Orintunsin, Abuja
Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), a platform of elected governors in the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday described the defection of Chief David Nweze Umahi, the Ebonyi State Governor to the ruling party as a testament of the party’s capacity to mobilise and unite all Nigerians.
The forum in a statement signed by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State also said the development was a reflection that the progressive reinforcement of the governing party has started.
Welcoming the Ebonyi State Governor to the fold of the progressives, Bagudu said, “the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) heartily welcome His Excellency, Chief David Nweze Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State to the All Progressives Congress (APC). We celebrate the decision of Chief Umahi as a testament to our party’s capacity to mobilise all Nigerians.
“The vision of the founding fathers of our legacy parties is for the APC to serve as a platform to unite all Nigerians under a progressive umbrella. With Chief Umahi now in APC, the vision is further reinforced and shall contribute to the process of membership and leadership recruitment at all levels.”
Gov. Bagudu further said, “it is heartwarming that notwithstanding all the fabricated campaigns against the APC and especially our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Umahi is able to make the bold decision to join our party, based on our performance. This is a strong acknowledgement of Mr. President’s credentials as a fair leader with balanced and equitable disposition to issues of justice and impartial politics.
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“We specially congratulate our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari and reaffirm our commitment to support him to build our party, APC, as a strong and democratic political party in the country.
“We also congratulate our leaders in APC National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee under the able leadership of HE Mai Mala Buni for yet another historic accomplishment of winning an illustrious and experienced leader in the person of H.E David Umahi. We especially welcome our fellow compatriots for taking the courageous and historic step of leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the progressives’ fold.
“The movement of our compatriot to the APC, despite all manners of intimidation, harassment and persecution by his former party is worthy of commendation and is indicative of his strong personal principles, commitment and conviction to the progress of Nigeria.”
Acknowledging the achievements of Gov. Umahi, the Progressive Governors said that the new entrant “couldn’t have been in any other party but the APC. If anything, we are only welcoming Chief Umahi home where he belongs; to the party that will provide him and his people, and indeed all Nigerians the viable platform for political aspirations and negotiations. Together with Chief Umahi and all our leaders in the APC, we are confident that our party’s capacity to serve the collective interests of all Nigerians through effective representation will be strengthened.
“By coming into the fold of the progressives, Chief Umahi has opted for open, transparent and honest contestation in politics, which is the overarching commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and all our founding leaders.
“Our National Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee is working to ensure the institution of a solid foundation for our democratic development as a party. We are confident that the National Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee will soon release detailed programme of activities leading to the National Convention. Together with Chief Umahi, we shall forge stronger partnership to mobilise all patriotic and other like-minded progressive Nigerians to join us in APC to enhance our capacity as a party to respond and resolve all our democratic challenges.
“The Progressive reinforcement of our party has started. Guided by our Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, we look forward to receiving more patriotic and progressive minded Nigerians into our party, APC,” Bugudu predicted.