Presidential hopeful and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, says politicians in Nigeria should have retirement age and not “pursue money” till the end of their stay on earth.
The 58-year-old governor spoke on Monday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
Umahi said, “In this country, I find it very funny for people at certain age in this country that are still fighting so hard for money. I thought that at certain age, we should be making efforts to reconcile with God and be grateful to him for the opportunity given to us.
“So, it is important that we begin to engage and say, look, even if you are successful and your children are not successful, then you are not successful. We must let people know the true meaning of life; nobody goes to the grave with this money but it is your legacy that will speak for you, speak for your children and for your generation.
“This is the kind of engagement that we need to do so that people will understand that everything is not about money and that every position given to us by God as leaders, God will ask us for accountability for what we did with such positions.”
When asked to throw light on those he said were concerned about money, Umahi said, “What I mean is that in this country, there is no age limit by which we can say we have retired, we tend to be pursuing money till the end of our stay on earth in Nigeria.”
“I’m not just talking about political leadership, generally, at certain age in your life, you should be able to say I need to retire and give opportunities to your children. It cuts across all areas of life.”
Asked further if there was anyone running for president alongside himself who should retire and allow the “children” to take over, the governor said, “Not in my mind at all.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Umahi visited the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on January 11, 2022 in Aso Rock and informed the 79-year-old former military leader of his decision to run for President in 2023.
His declaration came a day after 69-year-old All Progressives Congress National Leader, Bola Tinubu, also visited the President in Aso Villa and announced his “lifelong” presidential dream.
Speaking on the television programme on Monday, Umahi said announcing his presidential ambition at Aso Villa some 24 hours after Tinubu’s was only coincidental and not planned.
Umahi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling APC in November 2020 amid rising clamour for the South-East zone to produce the next President of Nigeria.
Aside from Tinubu and Umahi, several presidential hopefuls have emerged in the last few days including media personality, Dele Momodu; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; former Governor of Abia State and Majority Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu; former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, among others.
A few northern politicians have also been rumoured to nurse presidential ambition. The politicians include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who had contested for presidency on three occasions, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and an ex-governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso. While neither of them had yet to officially declare their presidential bid, there are strong indications they are eyeing the exalted position.
Though party primaries that would lead to the emergence of candidates are expected to hold later in the year, permutations, political bickering and serial defections continue as the race for who succeeds Buhari gets intense, while Nigerians wait with bated breath to see who would occupy the exalted office in Aso Rock in 2023.