Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State and the Deputy Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, on Monday reconciled after about six months of political differences that claimed many lives and property.
The reconciliation came barely 24 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the deputy governor winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state.
Elechi and Umahi had been at loggerheads for about six months over who succeeds him (Elechi) come May 29, 2015 and had been avoiding each other.
It will be recalled that their political differences started just before governorship primaries in November 2014, which saw Umahi emerging victorious as the PDP candidate against Elechi’s choice candidate, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu. Elechi subsequently moved his structure to the Labour Party.
However, on Monday, in Abakaliki, the state capital, the two men resolved their differences, hugged each other and urged their supporters to sheathe their swords, remain calm and law abiding.
The state Commissioner of Police, Dikko Maigari, and former governor of Ebonyi State and senator-elect of Ebonyi North zone, Dr. Sam Egwu, led Umahi to the Government House.
They were joined by the Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Elias Mbam; the former deputy governor of the state, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu; Amb. Frank Ogbuewu, Senator Igwe Ajah-Nwachukwu, among other political leaders in the state.
The LP governorship candidate, Edward Nkwegu, was already sitting with Elechi in his office when Umahi and his team arrived.
The Ebonyi State governor urged Umahi not to allow external forces to destroy the existing peace in the state, while acknowledging that he had agreement with him (Umahi) not to succeed him.
He said, “I started the gospel of power shift to Ebonyi South senatorial zone after my tenure, and this was after you served to my own satisfaction as party chairman. I invited you to be my running mate in 2011, promising you that if things worked well, I will support you to succeed me.”
He added, “The truth about the crisis is that there was so much desperation and it was a challenge that we had as a PDP family and a section broke away with each trying to prove a point.”
Elechi, therefore, promised to support the governor-elect to do better than he (Elechi) did in office, saying he will congratulate him when he would have proved his critics wrong.
In his response, Umahi promised an all-inclusive administration, adding that he will always consult stakeholders of the state in anything he does.
Meanwhile, with the reconciliation, there was relief in the state that Umahi may no longer probe all the chairmen of the local government caretaker committees.
Umahi had, during his acceptance speech on Sunday, threatened to probe the 13 chairmen for allegedly squandering public funds during the last governorship election.
The local government caretaker committee chairmen were also present at the reconciliation meeting.