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GUMEBA:: Umahi's Invincible Army Of Grateful Supporters

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When the almighty God wants to spare and prosper a man, He gives the man wisdom and directs the man's footsteps. The titanic journey of Governor David Nweze Umahi to Ebonyi power house is still fresh in our memory. Beyond the name, Divine mandate, Umahi's numerous positive exploits for the benefit of Ebonyi people in our inclement socio-economic setting clearly indicate the divine anchorage of his political project.

One of such positive exploits is the creative revolution going on in the Ministry of Economic empowerment and Job creation in Ebonyi state. Yes, the ministry was established by Umahi's predecessor, but the ministry existed nominally until Governor Umahi in a minor cabinet reshuffle sent one of his ingenious leutenants, Barr. Uchenna Orji, to man it.

Barr. Orji brought his experience which spanned from students union activism through legal practice, law-making to administration to bear on the ministry. Orji's proper understanding of the vision and burden of his principal to improve the lots of the ordinary Ebonyi people coupled with his commitment to the common good made the young commissioner to dig deep into the vaults of his experiences, energy and ingenuity in order to excel in the practical interpretation of his masters covenant to prosper Ebonyi masses and widows. Through an ingenious template originated by Barr. Orji, economic empowerment beneficiaries are made to generate names of other deserving persons within the targeted status range of the programme for subsequent empowerment. The names so generated are carefully screened by the ministry to ensure that no subterranean or personal considerations influenced the list before it is adopted. The results of Orji's efforts and Governor Umahi's unparalleled investment in this regard are that for the first time in the history of Ebonyi State, recommendations for economic empowerment programmes have been taken away from the political class and so ceased to be subjects of political expediency. This is a depature from the old norm of asking political office-holders to shortlist names of their supporters who usually constituted the beneficiaries. Through the use of ordinary people to generate economic empowerment beneficiaries by the Umahi administration, economic empowerment programmes in Ebonyi State have been taken to those to whom they rightly belong - Ebonyi masses. Thus political affiliation is no longer one of the neccesary qualifications for accessing empowerment benefits in Ebonyi State! This is why upon the unprecedented gargantuan investments of Governor David Umahi's administration in the economic and job creation sector which is the highest in South eastern Nigeria, the usual complaints of nepotism and other forms of corruption that trailed all administration in the economic and job creation sector have been [and will continue to be] unheard of in Umahi's administration! Above all, the problem of reliable statistics for economic planning which has been the bane of African and other developing countries has been solved by Orji's template as he can give offhand the true statistics of the numbers of people so far empowered and the number of people yet to be empowered in Ebonyi state as well as what has been so far invested in economic empowerment and job creation by Umahi's administration and what it will take to empower those on the waiting list!

Goaded by Governor Umahi's passionate commitment to Umahi's covenant with God to lift Ebonyi widows and ordinary people through empowerment and job creation, Barr. Orji developed yet another template to prevent beneficiaries from abusing the empowerment programmes. Through this template, seminars usually preceded the disbursement of the empowerment funds which Orji has designed to come in tranches. After the first tranche is released to beneficiaries, the Honourable Commissioner alongside retinue of volunteer liaisons embarks on unscheduled on-the-spot inspection and assessment tours designed to monitor both the diligence and concomitant progress of the business of the empowerment beneficiaries in line with the pre - empowerment business plans submitted by the respective beneficiaries. It is the diligence and commitment of each beneficiary to the business plan that determines the release of the final tranche of the empowerment funds to him or her. It is necessary to point out that the business progress evaluation visits done by Barr. Orji are usually unscheduled and thorough like Governor Umahi's project supervisions. Furthermore, it is always transparent as cameras and other beneficiaries from within and without the precincts of the area being supervised often accompany Barr. Orji in such visits. Like Governor Umahi the "doer and achiever" principal of Orji, Barr. Orji is an unrelenting trail-blazer. He has designed a realistic and feasible template for Public-Private Participatory Initiative on economic empowerment and job creation in Ebonyi State, nay Nigeria. His ministry is equally set to host the first Empowerment Summit in the history of Nigeria! Governor Umahi was no doubt correct when he told the world on 30th September, 2017 that Barr. Uchenna Orji "has a calling on the Ministry of Economic empowerment on Job creation". Barr. Orji has won several laurels and is being honoured with one by Ebonyi State Government as I write this piece.

Barr. Uchenna Orji
Commissioner for Economic empowerment and Job creation, Ebonyi State

Like the legendary folkloric music maestro - Mike Ejeagha - sang, "ife oma n'akpo ife oma oku" (Good acts attract good responses): Following Barr. Orji's exposition of the beneficiaries of Governor Umahi's dispassionate economic empowerment and job creation programmes for Ebonyi ordinary masses and widows to one another through seminars and business progress supervisions, a viral network called Governor Umahi Empowerment Beneficiaries' Association, GUMEBA, evolved! Beyond business networking, the group has voluntarily resolved and have in fact began networking for the continued retention of David Nweze Umahi as the Governor of Ebonyi State till 2023! According to the Coordinator of this group, Mrs. Martha Nwankwo "Some of us belonged to other political parties in 2015. Yet, Umahi like the sun extended his rays on all of us without considering our political affiliations. This is a unique and rare leadership quality that is hardly found in Africa. Our voluntary resolve to return Chief David Nweze Umahi to the Government House come 2019 is therefore conscientious, equitable and for the ultimate good of Ebonyi State. For us, political affiliation no longer matters. It did not matter for Governor Umahi when he empowered us, so we can boldly say that we have a gubernatorial candidate in Ebonyi in 2019 and he is Chief David Nweze Umahi. We are going to vote for him and defend the votes with all our strength from Abuja politicians whose insufficient reasons for not supporting Umahi are selfishness and reliance on federal might. We want to teach Ebonyi elites and the political class that political support or solidarity is like shadow and, it will naturally follow those who deliver on their campaign manifesto to the people like Governor Umahi has done!"

The things that distinguish this group from any other group in Ebonyi state are there spread to the entire Ebonyi State and even the Diaspora; their intrinsic motivation and; their formidable membership strength which exceeds that of any political party in Ebonyi State and is still growing by the day! The fact that each of their members is armed with a valid voter's card, knows how to use it and has decided how to use it as stated by their leader makes this unconquerable army of grateful volunteers a major determinant of who occupies Ebonyi power house come 2019. Conscious of God's overriding powers in human affairs, the widow constituency of GUMEBA has been constantly beseeching omnipotent God to grant their preferred candidate, Umahi, a seamless and resounding victory in the 2019 polls. My Bible reiterates in Psalm chapter 68 verse 5 that "God, who lives in His sacred Temple, cares for orphans and protects widows"!

It is well with Ebonyi State!






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