By Timothy Choji, Abuja
Chairman of Southeast Governors Forum, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, has declared that it would be premature for him or any other person to start talking of succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
He made the remark on Thursday, while addressing Journalists after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Governor said it would amount to insulting the occupier of that seat of the President, who is not even up to a year in his second term of office.
Umahi also stated that South-East Governors owe no apology to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which had demanded apology from them for allegedly proscribing the group in 2017.
He said: “The demand from IPOB is misplaced because we the Governors never proscribed the group but banned its activities which were threatening the lives of Igbos across the country and the unity of the nation. “
The Governor was also flippant of IPOB’s threats to humiliate or physically attack any of the Southeast Governors if they travelled abroad for any function, pointing out that “the group had no constitutional powers to bar governors from foreign trips.”
Governor Umahi also spoke on other issues he discussed with President Buhari during the meeting, revealing that he thanked the President for closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for urgent repairs.
He however demanded that the repair be done with emergency funding intervention, instead of relying on budgetary provisions, to enable faster completion of the project.
The Governor admitted that the alternative airport for the period of repairs, which is the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, assured the public that efforts would be made with Federal Government to secure the adjourning roads to the airport across the region, in the wake of security challenges.
Umahi stressed that South-East Governors had not been sleeping over the security challenges in the region, but had to be mature and cautious in their utterances in other not to exacerbate the situation.
He said all security measures were made public as he recalled the South-East Governors ban on movement of cattle on foot across the region by herdsmen.
The Governor said President Buhari was happy with the meeting, explaining that when he was also asked for his support for the reactivation and eventual passage of the South-East Development Commission bill in the National Assembly.
He also sought for Presidential audience for another enlarged parley that would have in attendance, all Southeast Governors, other Igbo leaders and groups across boards, including religious and traditional rulers, Ohaneze Ndigbo, and others.