Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice-Chairman (South East) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says newly formed splinter group under the banner of “Fresh PDP” could be a distraction from opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, to destabilise PDP
Umahi stated that aggrieved members of Fresh PDP just want to be noticed as they don’t have anything, stressing that voting was not influenced by unity list as nobody was forced to vote.
He told newsmen that the party was repositioned to regain power, thereby will not be distracted by mere propaganda from nonentities who possibly could be from opposition party, APC.
“The election was the most transparent, freest convention since the inception of the PDP in 1998 and I must commend the electoral panel. I must commend Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; the 11 governors of the PDP, and everyone that participated in that election.
“My dear brother, the truth of the matter is that the PDP is repositioned. And what is repositioning? It is about re-engineering, it is about rebranding, and it is about getting it right where we have missed it. And I can assure you that the successful convention is a big plus and it has jumpstarted us because as we are talking today we have hit the ground running.
“Well, those are the people that want to be noticed. First and foremost, those of them that answer Igbo names; whether they are Hausa and they are bearing Igbo names I do not know, but I had to contact each and every one of them. I wanted to know the reasons for this kind of attitude. And I saw that everything was geared towards ‘notice me.’ They just wanted recognition. They don’t have anything.
“In a contest, you must have victor and of course, people that will lose. When you are going into a contest, it is options of you win, or you lose. So having lost an election that was the best election ever; people were satisfied with the conduct. Come to think of the Unity List, at the age of 18 nobody forced me to vote where I wanted to vote. It was something very clear. Yes! It is possible that I could be given a name but is an option. When I enter inside that polling booth I vote the person I want to vote because I am an adult.
“So, the way and manner I voted should not trouble anybody. That’s the way my conscience has directed me. And the people voted. What is democracy? It is all about the people. What is the splinter? I see the splinter as charlatans; I see them as people that want to be noticed. And I feel so sad because I saw some South Eastern persons involved. We are not known for that kind of hooliganism. But it is unfortunate that they are Abuja gorilla politicians. They are not politicians from South East. We don’t know them and they don’t know their wards. Ask them the names of their wards and their chairmen, they won’t know. They just stay at Wadata and make noise.
“Yes! There is a possibility that All Progressives Congress (APC) might be using these individuals to destabilise the newly reformed PDP but the most important thing is that if you know that you are, for example, going to Abakaliki and you know the road to it, you must focus on your mission and avoid distractions. The most important thing is that PDP is repositioned; it is repositioned to regain power.
“Those things, we see them as distractions. We are not going to be perturbed because the class of these people that are making this noise, I see them as nonentities. They are the people that when you go to their wards you won’t see their names. Yes! It could be hijacked by the ruling party but the most important thing is that we are not giving them recognition. We are forging ahead because we know our destination and we are focused. We cannot be distracted.
“I have to tell you the truth. First and foremost, as a zone, all the people that contested the election, before the election, we as a zone invited them. We said ‘come let us reason together as brothers because we, from the East, are wise and reasonable people.’ We said ‘let us agree and discuss as brothers’ and then know what belongs to who so that we don’t go to Abuja as house that is not united. That was exactly what we did.
“We just finished our convention and all of a sudden they want to start seeking unnecessary notice. We have provision to see each and every one of them. We want to accommodate them. The umbrella is too big and large to accommodate them. If they decide to come back today, we will welcome them but if they continue to display this level of rascality, we will not hesitate to sack them if they are at all members of our party.
“I have called the chairmen of the PDP in Imo and Abia States and asked them to find out if these people are real. If they don’t retract that the statement they made in Abuja within 48 hours, we will not hesitate to sack them from the party and we will forge ahead as a stronger party. We want to strengthen this PDP. We want high level of discipline. There is no room for rascals again.
“In politics, what matters most is interest. You get your interests negotiated. What is the South East negotiating for? Are we ready for the presidency?
I continue to tell people that the united we are, the better for us. Power is not given but taken. You go and take power. You negotiate right but you must have to see a united front. You must have to see people that are dogged and determined. We must have to see people that are focused. When we get to the bridge, we cross it. The issue remains that we are very much interested in repositioning the party. When the time to share offices come, we will discuss it. And I assure you that the south east under my leadership will not be relegated in Jesus name”, he said.