Ebonyi State Governor Chief David Umahi yesterday debunked comments credited to a former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, that he contributed to his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and advised him to immediately retract the statement.
Umahi who spoke on television programme monitored by Leadership Weekend in Abakiliki said the comment was an insult to his person and the other governors that recently left the PDP for the APC.
The South East Governors Forum chairman said; “The man does not know when I moved, he visited me and we discussed and he said he was coming to join me with other governors. How would someone in PDP be instrumental to my move to APC?
“He has to withdraw the statement. He was never part of any discussion on my movement. For someone to say that he was instrumental to the movement of the chairman of the South East Governors Forum is a big insult to my person,” he said.
Governor Umahi noted that he moved the South East to the center of administration to close the gap between the zone and the center.
On the stand of the forum on states collecting Value Added Tax (VAT), Governor Umahi disassociated himself from the position, saying his deputy, Barr. Kelechi Igwe, made the position of the state known at the forum’s meeting in Enugu but majority stood against it.
He maintained that Ebonyi State would continue to support the federal government on collecting VAT and sharing same to states and appealed to other governors to ‘sheath their swords’ on the lingering issue.
“When you allow every state to collect their VAT, I am going to loss over 40% of my resources and that will lead to a very serious matter.
“We are running a mono economy, everything is government. The federal government is the major contributor to VAT in sharing, but states and local governments have 85% and FG has 15%. Now the federal government and super states will be the major beneficiaries but a number of states will simply collapse.
“The agitation of states to collect VAT is coming at a very bad time and I plead with my colleagues to sheath their swords, let us pass through this challenging moment before looking for who is right and who is wrong,” he said.
Governor Umahi also said the agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had been hijacked by cultists, criminals and kidnappers.
He said the sit at home order by IPOB works in an average of 70% in the zone because of fear, adding that IPOB had severally come out to say that the order had been suspended.