Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
After many weeks of tension and speculations over the governorship election in Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi and his predecessor, Chief Martin Elechi, monday met for the first time since after the 2015 general election.
The peace meeting between governor and his predecessor whom he served as deputy, was organised by the state chapter Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), chapter at the Thomas McGethrick Pastoral Centre, Mile 50, Abakaliki.
Elechi had vehemently opposed the emergence of his former deputy, Umahi as his preferred candidate but the later persisted against all odds to vie for the election, which triggered off the supremacy battle that saw Elechi’s defeat.
Before the PDP governorship primaries, Elechi adopted the former
Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu as his preferred candidate based on the former governor’s charter of equity. As Elechi’s mission failed, he conscripted a businessman from the North zone, Edward Nkwegu, from the North zone, on the platform of the Labour Party as his preferred successor, which sparked off mix feelings from the people that led to the defeat of all Elechi’s nominators.
Elechi who arrived the venue of the meeting in his black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), was spotted discussing with the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki, Most Rev Michael Okoro, at the veranda of the edifice before the arrival of Governor Umahi at 1.59p.m.
Accompanied by stakeholders among whom were Speaker of the state House of Assembly, members of the state executive council, elders of Divine Mandate and members of CAN, Umahi and Elechi did not exchange pleasantries but proceeded for the meeting which was held under closed-door.
Though the meeting was held under closed door, it was gathered that the meeting was to reconcile the duo who had been at dagger drawn with each other arising from the outcome of the election.
The meeting was the third time a peace talk would be organised for the duo without success as the former governor has always been accused of being averse to peace and reconciliation.
It was believed that Elechi’s meeting with Bishop Okoro before the main meeting was to appeal to his conscience to allow peace to reign especially when Umahi was said to be open for peace and reconciliation.
Elechi was the governor of the state from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015. He nominated Umahi who was then the state PDP Chairman as his running mate in the build up to the 2011 general election which they won. They fell out when the former wanted to hand over to the former Minister for Health, Chukwu as against the alleged agreement between Elechi and Umahi that Umahi would succeed him.