Aftermath Of Good Legacies: Opposition In Ebonyi Tilts To Umahi

By Monday Eze

With less than eight months to the 2019 general elections, political activities aimed at picking candidates for the various elective positions are beginning to gear up in Ebonyi state. These political activities come in the shape of political horse-trading, carpet-crossing, flaunts of political legacies or achievements, outright propaganda and zoning. The recently concluded democracy anniversary which coincided with the third anniversary of the Divine mandate administration of Engr. David Nweze Umahi in Ebonyi state and the proliferated All Progressive Congress local and state congresses equally accentuated the hype in political activities within the camps of both the ruling party and the opposition in Ebonyi state.

In essence, the anniversaries offered Governor David Umahi and his Peoples Democratic Party the opportunity to flaunt Umahi's impressive and intimidating score-card. Various segments of Ebonyi critical stakeholders had the busy schedule of witnessing the commissioning of projects like the stadium house, about 80 roads that make up the Abakaliki urban internal road networks; the Onueke, Uburu and Afikpo internal road networks, the minimum of 15-kilometer road in each of the 13 council areas in Ebonyi state as well as the intervention in three federal roads with a total distance of 54.5 kilometers; the construction of 91 modern classroom blocks and the renovation of 89 classroom blocks in primary and post-primary schools across Ebonyi state. Other projects commissioned included the mega-size mushroom plant, the extensions of electricity and street lights to various communities in Ebonyi state, the water boreholes with overhead tanks in the various General Hospitals et cetera.

Ebonyi stakeholders equally had exciting experiences inspecting on-going projects like the Waste Recycling Plant in Umuoghara; the third 700-meter twin overhead bridge at Margaret Umahi International Market junction; the 15 blocks of 48 standard shops at Margaret Umahi International Market Abakaliki; the new Governor's Lodge, new Presidential Lodge and new Governor's Office all at the New Government House in the Centenary City Abakaliki; the first Glass Tunnel bypass project in Nigeria at Akanu Ibiam roundabout; the 5000-seater capacity Ebonyi Ecumenical Centre; Ebonyi Mall which was modeled after the famous Dubai Mall and the Recreation Centre at the Centenary City Secretariat. Other on-going projects inspected included the Presco - Ebiaji road; the renovation, fencing and up-grading works at the 13 General Hospitals in Ebonyi state; the remodeling of the Colleges of Health Technology Ezzamgbo and Uburu; the new Accident and Emergency Ward of Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki; the new and functional Ebonyi Fertilizer Plant which has supported Umahi's agricultural revolution to enhance food security in Ebonyi state among other inumerable projects.

Ebonyi people on the other hand had the opportunity to celebrate their governor, transformation agent and leader of an inclusive administration who by all standards is rated as the best serving Governor in the present Nigerian federation. In reality, Ebonyi people thoroughly celebrated Umahi in what passed for the first full blown Umahism carnival in Ebonyi state. From Akanu Ibiam, Offia Nwali and Union Bank roundabouts through Udensi roundabout to the main bowl of the all-new Abakaliki Township stadium, seas of heads belonging to Ebonyi men, women and youths dressed in festival colours with portraits of Ebonyi political messiah, David Umahi, and different musical instruments lined up the roads and danced in unpretentious joy for the good governance, beneficial development projects and practical empowerment executed by the Divine Mandate administration of Governor David Nweze Umahi in the three years it has lasted. In particular terms, Ebonyi citizens' Umahism carnival on 29th May, 2018 was predicated upon the completely reconstructed Abakaliki urban road network; the beneficial agricultural revolution programme otherwise known as 'one-man, one-hectare' which has made farming profitable, guaranteed food security in Ebonyi state and attracted presidential commendations; the beautiful Ebonyi environment which can boast of all the trappings of a modern city; the best overhead bridges in the Southeast which beyond aesthetics have continued to serve as life-savers and decongestants of mortuaries and Accident and Emergency wards; the roads on rigid pavement at the hinterlands as well as the meaningful empowerment of all royal fathers with brand new jeeps, over ten thousand Ebonyi youths with either funds ranging from two hundred and fifty thousand to one million naira or brand new tricycles, over ten thousand women/widows with funds ranging from one hundred thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand naira only; the hospital amnesty programme which Umahi runs through the churches; the waste-to-wealth plant through which Ebonyi people shall soon begin to earn income through domestic refuse or waste they generate and the streetlights which equally aid the security of lives and property both in the state capital and in the hinterlands of the 13 council areas. Ebonyi masses rejoiced for the industrial clusters which will run on power generated through the locally-fabricated biomass gasification power plant and on funds made available by the Ebonyi State Government and Bank of Industries partnership; the improvement in Healthcare delivery; the Virology Centre in Abakaliki; the prompt payment of workers' salaries, allowances and annual bonuses known as 13th month salary in Ebonyi labour parlance; the tree of peace in Ezillo which fruits have dispersed to, sprouted and are growing in nearly all the 140 communities in Ebonyi state and the security of lives and property enjoyed in Ebonyi state courtesy of Ebonyi Neighborhood Security Watch's ancillary support to the conventional security agencies in Ebonyi state.

In their soulful songs in praise of the man who has in three years transformed Ebonyi state and her people in degrees that hitherto belonged to the realm of human imagination, chants of "Umahi 3/8" sprang up and like a spiritual volcano remniscent of Savigny's concept of volkgeist. The Umahi 3/8 slogan spread like wild fire to every nook and cranny, penetrating every political circle including the camps of the opposition parties in Ebonyi state. Investigations revealed that by "Umahi 3/8", Ebonyi people in different locations, professions, occupations, strata, religions, tribes and political parties are unanimously insisting that Governor Umahi has done three years of his two tenures of eight years: In appreciation of Governor Umahi's unequaled love for Ebonyi people which he has demonstrated in clear terms through his meaningful projects, the masses of Ebonyi state want Umahi to be rewarded with an unopposed second term in the 2019 gubernatorial election. Ebonyi electorate through this unbiased resolution want all political parties including All Progressive Congress, APC, to adopt Umahi as the general gubernatorial candidate in Ebonyi state in the on-coming 2019 general election!

The impact of this all-pervading mass movement for Governor David Umahi's second term project has overwhelmed the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Ebonyi state. For some time now, the quest for Umahi's adoption as the party's candidate has pitched the patriotic members of the party who promote the collective good of Ebonyi state above minor party sentiments against the few political speculators who joined the party in the aftermath of Ebonyi 2015 elections in which Ebonyi electorate rejected them in preference for Engr. David Nweze Umahi. These beneficiaries of the old order represented by some members of the kitchen cabinet of the previous administration insist on having a gubernatorial candidate against the popular wish of Ebonyi people and the members of the opposition party. So far, the popular wish of patriotic members of the All Progressive Congress in Ebonyi state to allow super-performing David Nweze Umahi an unopposed second term in 2019 seems to be insurmountable as the APC in Ebonyi state has allegedly zoned its gubernatorial position to Uburu community where Governor David Nweze Umahi hails from!

Another formidable group within the APC in Ebonyi state known as "The Good Governance Group" or G3 want the state chapter of the APC to quietly fuse into the Peoples Democratic Party for the purpose of allowing Umahi continue his wonderful works in the state. The G3 group in Ebonyi APC do not want APC to go into the futile effort of fielding a candidate in the 2019 Ebonyi Gubernatorial election. The G3 group of Ebonyi APC claim membership of both the PDP and APC at the same time; and they were led in their numbers by the senator representin Ebonyi south district to the APC National Convention held in Eagle square Abuja on 23rd June, 2018. One may recall that the senator and was in the 9th Dec, 2017 PDP National Convention held in the same Eagle square, Abuja with his G3 group. In a dramatic volte face from his plaintive denial of the overwhelming influence of Governor Umahi on his faction of APC, Nwoba Chika Nwoba who is the Publicity Secretary of one of the factions of the APC in Ebonyi state admitted the pressure of Ebonyi APC fathful to keep the 2019 Ebonyi APC gubernatorial ticket vacant in a post on his Facebook handle at 08:04 hours on 23rd June 2018 that "Indubitably, there's a splinter group in the (sic) Ebonyi APC suspected to be working for Ebonyi state governor, Mr. David Umahi"! The truth remains that Governor David Nweze Umahi is a personification of good governance: He is the first and only Nigerian certified by ICPC as the "Anti-Corruption Commander"; one of the few Governors in Nigeria whose phenomenal achievements the APC-led Federal Government has, without regard to political differences, continued to flaunt as reference points for unfolding new and excellent Nigeria; and a man whose projects in three years have roused Ebonyi people to whom power belongs into volunteering the move for not just two unbroken tenures, but an unopposed second term! Loved by Ebonyi people across tribal, religious, generational and political divides, envied by the opposition and celebrated as the pride of his party - PDP, praised by the Federal Government in high decibels and admired by the International community, David Nweze Umahi remains both the generalissimo in Ebonyi power game and the Collosus of Ebonyi politics. Being so, Umahi bestrides the entire political landscape of Ebonyi, nay Nigeria, with his ubiquitous and effervescent political charisma. Because the 2019 election, according to Agwu Nwogo, "... is about the future of Ebonyi state and her children ..." Umahi is bound to ride effortlessly on the humongous goodwill of Ebonyi people to win his second term election come 2019. This is true because from all indications, Ebonyi people are irrevocably bent on consolidating Umahism - the autochthonous or homegrown version of volkgeist which began in 2015.

It is well with Ebonyi state!