The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umai, has been told to perish his dreams of becoming President of Nigeria but resign as governor to enable his deputy complete his remaining one year in office
In a media statement on Wednesday, the National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA),Emmanuel Onwubiko and the media Director Zainab Yusuf, dismissed the public notice by Umahi to run for office of president of Nigeria as a pipe dream which must never be allowed to materialize into “the worst nightmares for Nigerians because Mr. Umahi is a tyrant who is known not to accept dissenting voices.”
HURIWA in the statement obtained by PlatinumPost said : “If the bedrocks of democracy are the free exercise of fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution such as the freedom of expression, then unrepentant dictators like David Umahi should not go near the office of president or else the tyrannical regime of Uganda’s dictator Yoweiri Museveni would be a child’s play and Nigeria would return to a primitive era whereby might becomes right.
“David Umahi’s legendary intolerance of press freedom and the freedom of political opponents to go about their legitimate businesses would mean that the oppressive regime of late General Sani Abacha would just be inconsequential compared to what Dave Umahi will do with the presidential powers just as he would collapse Nigeria into a one party state.
“As President, Umahi will capture or jail his political opponents and will rule as he likes with no accountability or transparency. Nigeria must never be ruled by persons who are worse than the bad President we have had since 2015 for that would lead to disintegration.”
HURIWA recalled that Mr Umahi, in an interview with State House correspondents, said he has told the president about his ambition to contest for the seat if the party zones the ticket to the Southern region.
HURIWA quoted Umahi as saying: “We discussed politics as the growth of our party, APC, in Nigeria, and the South East. And, of course, you know, the interest of the South East, for the seat of presidency in 2023.
HURIWA further quoted Umahi as saying: “And, of course, I told Mr President, that without prejudice to whatever will be the decision of the party, which we shall abide by, that if the party throws the ticket open or zones to Southern part of Nigeria that I believe that with what I have put in place in the past six years plus, that I will be running for presidency on the platform of the APC.
HURIWA which cited media reports, quoted Governor Umahi as affirming that: “So, I told him and of course, he believes that whoever wants to run for president of this country must have to consult widely, go to all the leaders and that we must do everything to remove ethnicity and religion in our politics so that this country can grow,” he said.
The rights group recalled that like the APC national leader Bola AhmedTinubu, Mr Umahi promised to replicate his feats as a governor at the national level if he eventually gets to fly the party ticket and win the presidential election.
HURIWA then asked Nigerians to reject Umahi who as governor of the tiny Ebonyi State threatened to deal ruthlessly with two journalists covering the state if they continued to write reports that create ‘panic’ among the people.
HURIWA recalled that Umahi while handing down the warning not long ago also announced that the two journalists were banned from entering Government House or any government facility in the state. The two journalists are Chijioke Agwu, correspondent of Sun Newspaper in the state and Peter Okutu of Vanguard newspaper.
HURIWA recalled similarly that a few months back, the same Dave Umahi ordered the arrest of Agwu over a report he did on the Lassa Fever outbreak in the state. Three days later, Okutu was arrested on the orders of Ohaukwu Local Government Area Chairman, Clement Odah, over a report he did on the alleged military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in the council area.
The governor said the safety of journalists in the state could no longer be guaranteed by him as the people were angry with them and might begin to unleash mayhem on them if they continued to cause ‘panic’ in the state.
HURIWA quoted Umahi as saying then that: “Ebonyi State is no longer a dumping ground. The other day, Chijioke Agwu wrote that Lassa Fever was killing Ebonyi people in droves and a few days back, Mr Peter Okutu of Vanguard did his own. “Okutu is fond of degrading Ebonyi State, and I don’t know why my officials have allowed him to continue to do that because he is not from Ebonyi State. “I want to ban him for life with Chijioke Agwu. I don’t want to see them anywhere in any government facility.
“We are not begging you to give us a good report because the only person that gives a goodg or bad report is God. We are all accountable to him. If you think that Ebonyi State is a dumping ground, try it again. If you think you have the pen, we have the ‘koboko’. Let’s leave the court alone. Ebonyi people are very angry with the press and let me warn that I won’t be able to control them or know when they unleash mayhem on you if you continue to write to create panic in the state.”
HURIWA also said that Mr. Charles Otu, an Ebonyi-based reporter was allegedly assaulted inside government house, Abakaliki, capital of the state, over a controversial Facebook post. Otu is said to be publisher of Conscience, a local newspaper, and also a correspondent of Guardian Newspaper. According to a statement on the attack, which happened recently, Otu has used his newspaper and Facebook as avenues to “expose the failures of the Ebonyi state government in many sectors and update activities of the government and to critically analyze and x-ray its programmes and projects”.