The Governor of Ebonyi State David Umahi has said the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which removed him from offices for defecting to the All-Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP might hinder his presidential ambition but said the judgment as a blessing in disguise.
Umahi stressed that a counter pronouncement by a Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed that he enjoys immunity as an elected governor and that votes secured during an election legally belong to the candidate and not a political party.
Speaking after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Umahi lauded the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for admitting on national television that he was behind the plot to remove him as a governor.
Umahi likened Wike to biblical Judas Iscariot, adding that as a man who relies on the breath of God like any other mortal, he cannot determine his fate.
On whether he is disturbed by the court judgment, Umahi said: “Do I look worried? You see, God has plans for everything. And I think that God allowed one court to give judgment that I go nowhere, allowed another court to say, because we defected, that the votes belong to the party.
“And I’m very worried because the highest court has said that votes belong to the candidates. And that’s why even though APC won the election in Bayelsa State, but the deputy governor’s credentials were defective.
“And even a day to swearing-in, the Supreme Court ruled disqualifying the candidate of APC that won the election because of his deputy. And so if votes belonged to the party, it would have been that the Supreme Court in its wisdom would have just asked for the man that won election for the party to bring the substitutes to do that.
“So, I’m not worried. Because in the first place, there is no constitutional provision that says that the governor can be sued in the first place, so I’m not sue-able. You know, but a court judgment is a court judgment, I’m not in the position to interpret it but the Constitution, we swore to uphold, I can speak to the Constitution.
“And the Constitution says that, once you’re elected, you enjoy immunity, and Supreme Court says votes cast in an election belong to the candidate. And that’s why you have qualifications of a candidate and not qualifications of a political party. So I’m not worried.
“But you see, God allowed it so that where I couldn’t reach in terms of my consultation, this situation has made it possible for me to reach those places. And to truly see that Nigerians love me and they want me and that is the reason for that.
Asked if Wike had personal grouse aside the politics of decamping to APC, he said: “Probably the difference between us will be our faith. I serve the living God and he probably has a lot of alcohol. I don’t drink. So that is the difference between us otherwise he remains my friend and my brother and I have nothing against him.”
Umahi said: “You should be the one telling me. You heard him on Channels boasting that he is behind. A mere man that depends on the breath of God. I pity illiteracy. It’s a shame. You are boosting to remove another governor.
“What qualifies you just because you’re packing money that is the public fund? Not intellectual material but by just packing money from public funds and you are boasting about it. Otherwise, who were you?
“I became a billionaire at the age of 25. I’ve worked all my life and I have asked him to come for public debates.
“I do not commission 3.4-kilometer road. I commission 35-kilometer roads. I commissioned twin flyovers running to one kilometer. I commission megaprojects with little resources.
“So, if he says he has done well and he is Mr this or that, let him come for a public debate with me. Let’s start with our childhoods. So I’m not disturbed.” Asked whether his presidential ambition has died he said:
“It could be just your own imagination because there is no such thing. You can see us in the various media houses, you know, social media. You can see my supporters everywhere, you can see my consultation”.
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