By Tunde Opalana
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has told Governor Dave Umahi to drop any plan of coercing members of the state House of Assembly into his plan of defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daily Times gathered.
The Daily Times recalled that the governor has been linked in recent times with defection plan from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), on which platform he won the state governorship election in 2015 and was reelected in 2019.
The Association said though the governor has fundamental right of association to decamp from the PDP to any party of his choice, he should not disrupt the political landscape of Ebonyi state by using his office as the governor to lure the lawmakers into leaving the PDP.
AESID in a statement signed and made available to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja by its President Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, called on Umahi to leave the state legislators to their choice of association.
The Association said: “while acknowledging his rights to freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, we wish to sue for peace in our dear state. Therefore, we request him not to coerce, intimidate or pressure politicians and stakeholders in his party- the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to join in his APC defection plans.
“This is because our dear Ebonyi State remains a traditional PDP State for now and any attempt to muscle people into where they feel they do not properly fit into just to help one man out of hundreds of thousands of party faithfuls fulfil his lust for political power could spell serious doom for the peace and unity of our dear state.”
Also, AESID expressed displeasure over the decision of Governor Umahi-led administration to proscribe the affiliate unions in the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
The unions recently proscribed include the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and other affiliate unions excepting only the Students Union Government.
According to the statement, “by bumping the heads of the various affiliate unions and pitching the students against their tutors, Governor Umahi has played the worst divisive politics in the history of the institution which would haunt him forever and continue to decimate the legacies left by his predecessors in the once-revered institution that has produced very outstanding scholars and professionals in various fields including Law and Medicine.
“AESID condemns in its entirety, the actions and threats meted out to the lecturers of Ebonyi State University by the Umahi-led administration and cautions that the government should stop forthwith and take their welfares most seriously especially considering the fact that illiteracy level is still very high in Ebonyi which is yet captured as an Educationally- Less-Developed State, ELDS.
“We commend and stand with the description of the Governor’s action by the ASUU National Chairman, Prof. Ogunyemi as ‘an aberration’ because even past military dictators never denied ASUU its right to freedom of association and consequent agitations for better welfares for its members.
“Our platform hereby issues a 48-hour ultimatum to Governor Umahi to consider genuinely going back to the round-table to renegotiate with the affiliate unions to broker peace with them and restore the good industrial harmony and peaceful co-existence between Staff and students of the institution. He shouldn’t play further petty-politics with the lives and welfare of our only State-owned Tertiary University.”