Like many before him, Governor Dave Umahi’s presidential ambition is heavily influenced by the divine hand of God, according to the man himself.
The governor told President Muhammadu Buhari this week that he’d like to take over from him when his tenure ends in 2023.
It was a decision that didn’t come as a surprise to many observers, especially since he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
Despite his expected move for the top seat, Umahi said in a televised interview this week he made the announcement only when God instructed him to do it.
“You talk to God, God talks to you, and you listen to God. I’m at peace with this decision,” he said.
Quizzed on if God assured him of victory, the governor said his divine communication has not produced such a guarantee.
He did, however, mention that he trusts his good intentions will help God to help him.
He said, “Don’t forget that God owns this life. It’s part of life and there’s nothing I believe that you’ve genuinely made up your mind for the interest of the nation and God sees your heart that he’ll not be with you.”
The governor said President Buhari told him to consult widely after he informed him about his ambition days ago.
The president appears to have a preferred candidate to hand over to next year, preferably someone in his APC like Umahi but is keeping his cards close to his chest.
The 79-year-old said in a televised interview last week he’d prefer to not publicly name his favorite so that they are not ‘eliminated’.
When asked if he’s the president’s preferred candidate, Umahi, once again, looked towards God.
“If it pleases God, he will input me in the heart of Mr. President and I could become that favored candidate, but for now he’s not told me and I can’t read his mind,” he said.
Explaining why he thinks he’s fit to succeed Buhari, without invoking God, Umahi said he’d like to replicate the miracles God helped him achieve in Ebonyi at the federal level.
The governor further said he knows Buhari well enough to build on the achievements of his administration, one that has struggled to contain Nigeria’s security crisis, overseen two historic recessions, and record unemployment and inflation rates.