Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State on Tuesday in Abuja formally declared his intention to run for the 2023 presidential election.
This is coming barely 48 hours after the All Progressive Congress (APC) national leader, Ahmed Tinubu also publicly declared for the 2023 presidential race.
Speaking to State House journalists after his private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, Umahi said he was at the Presidential Villa, to invite the president to commission some projects in his state.
Umahi said he has completed ground-breaking “projects, adding that the President is coming to lay the foundation stones for some of our ongoing projects, especially the Ebonyi State international airport.
He disclosed that he briefed the president on the ongoing international airport of Ebonyi State for which he requested the president’s assistance.
“I believe that Mr President, if he finds merit in it will definitely assist us to purchase airport equipment to enable us commission the airport about the end of May 2022.
“We discussed politics as the growth of our party, APC, in Nigeria, and South-East. And, of course, you know, the interest of South-East, for the seat of presidency in 2023.
Umahi said: “I’m not in a contest with anybody I’m in a contest with myself.” He revealed that he would not “have done that without first coming to clear it with Mr. President that there is this feeling in the South-East that there has not been a president and that people feel that those of our leaders in the various political parties should indicate interest to contest.
And this is fair, this is important. But at the end of the day, it is God Almighty and the political parties that will also decide”
Umahi warned against dragging Ohaneze leadership into partisan politics, adding that “Yes, they can speak for the interest of the South-East, they can speak for fair treatment of the South-East as a people but as a matter of equity, justice and fairness, and leaving a level playing field for all the political parties and the aspirants.
“They should not dabble into politics or who to support or who not to support. I think that they hear it just like they heard other political parties aspirants. We will also write them to notify them that yes, they have culpable sons and daughters that if God wills, could do this job.
He disclosed that his administration has completed 13 twin flyovers, each one going between 300 meter and 500 length. We are doing the next two flyovers. We have completed a mall that is not like any other mall in West Africa.
He also revealed that the state has completed the best university in this country, which we tagged, University of Medical Sciences, with the best of equipment.
“You have the artificial bed there, the best eye centre, the cancer centre, the liver centre, kidney transplant centre, the heart surgery centre. The centre is the best of its kind in the whole of Africa.
“Mr. President will also be commissioning an uncommon flyover complex, which he laid the foundation stone. And this flyover is quite complex, and it’s called President Buhari’s flyover tunnel.
“Mr. President, will also see the first airport in West Africa whose runway is being constructed with concrete. Mr. President will also be seeing the three industrial clusters, Mr. President will be seeing the biggest international markets in West Africa,” Umahi said.