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David Umahi: The Greatest Need Of Ebonyi State In 2019

By Monday Eze, Senior Correspondent, The Nigerian Voice, Abakaliki
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The approach of the 2019 Ebonyi gubernatorial elections has no doubt foisted on Ebonyi land bands of wolves masquerading as latter-day saints who ogle for the mandate of the people which they see merely as the pass to loot the treasury of Ebonyi State. In the usually long train of these wolves in sheep's clothing are hired praise-singers and mischief makers who lack basic knowledge of the history and culture of Ebonyi State and her Ebonyi people. This explains Ikenna Emewu's infantile diatribe in the dailies against the present people-centred administration in Ebonyi State led by Governor David Nweze Umahi. Ordinarily, such cheap and stillborn propaganda would have best been ignored, but the need to straighten the records for the benefit of the good people of Ebonyi State whom the fabrications were designed to mislead makes this effort imperative. Engr. David Umahi is one man who fully prepared himself for governance before assuming office on 29th May, 2015. Being so prepared, he knew that a day of reckoning would come and so hit the ground running and within three and half years, has recorded great achievements on all fronts of good governance which stand as his defence from failed public officers who opt for criticism in order to cover up their ineptitude. However, I have chosen to pitch extant facts against every bit of lie told against the collective integrity of the people of Ebonyi State and their leader by this media hireling of those who seek the abrupt reversal of the progressive match of Ebonyi State to greatness under Engr. David Umahi.

When Ikenna Emewu visited Ebonyi State in November, 2018, he drove through the beautiful Offiah Nwali overhead bridge at Presco junction, good and durable roads on rigid pavement which make up the nework of roads in Abakaliki municipality, under the second overhead bridge at Akanu Ibiam roundabout and through Abakaliki - Afikpo highway to the internal road network in Edda land which were all built by David Umahi on rigid pavement. It is instructive that Mr. Emewu did not mention those achievements because they have no place in his job of negative advocacy. As a private citizen, Umahi's investments in the society through his foundation far outweigh the exaggerated life-time scorecard of Senator Ogbuoji as recently brandished in the press. Umahi took this tradition of lifting the people into office, projecting it into the realm of divinity by making it one of the five covenants of his administration with God. This explains the explosive classical empowerment programmes which has continued to be the trademark of his administration. Umahi reconciled the war between Ezillo and Ezza-Ezillo communities on permanent terms and took his peace moves to other warring communities in Ebonyi State. The success of Umahi's peace programmes convinced President Buhari to appoint Umahi as the chairman of the National Peace Committee on the heardsmen and farmers clashes which almost tore Nigeria to shreds. Umahi visited all the IDP camps in Nigeria, the heardsmen and other parties to the snarl, preaching peace and restraint to them. The relative peace the country enjoys today is largely due to the efforts of Umahi's committee. In his efforts to diversify the economic base of Ebonyi State, Umahi is stream-lining the mining industry and, in the process, attracted a foreign direct investment through which a Chinese investor is building a smelting plant in Ebonyi south. Umahi's Agricultural revolution in Ebonyi State guaranteed food security and has continued to serve as reference points to the hierarchy of the All Progressive Congress which Sen. Ogbuoji belongs to today and to President Muhammadu Buhari at both local and intertional fora. There is no doubt that the report of the president and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is by all standards credible and preferred by Ebonyi people to the report of a hired praise-singer!

The allegation of a "privatized government" falls flat in the face of the fact of Umahi's involvement of over 800 youths, men, women drawn from all parts of the state in his administration as Senior Technical Assistants, Technical Assistants and Liaison Officers. These young men and women have become a leadership resource pool for the state. They are part of Umahi's successes in the security, environment, power, road and other sectors. A transparent administration like Umahi's which has continued to publish all its projects, project locations and project costs for the public to see cannot be described by any sincere person as a "privatized government". When it comes to labour relations, Governor Umahi is one of the nine saints among the 36 Nigerian Governor's who does not owe workers' salaries. At the height of the economic recession in 2016, Umahi increased Ebonyi workers' salaries by 5%. While scores of workers die daily in Kogi, Imo, Edo and Osun States due to non-payment of monthly salaries, Ebonyi is the only state which pays workers annual mega bonuses known as "13th month salary" in Ebonyi labour parlance. For all these and more, Ebonyi workers honoured Governor Umahi with the title of "Enyi Ndi Oru Ebonyi" which translates to friend of Ebonyi workers.

At this juncture, I want to say that Engr. David Nweze Umahi's election winning streak is superior to Ogbuoji's: Umahi has never lost election. Umahi has won election into great offices like Ebonyi State chairman of PDP; Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State and Governor of Ebonyi State. Umahi's achievements in those offices are too many to be accommodated in this piece. I have done a book, "Umahism: Essays on Good Governance" on Umahi's trail-blazing achievements in good governance! The training of Umahi as a civil engineer and his prowess which he has demonstrated through his infrastructural revolution in Ebonyi State stands Umahi out as the fundamental need of Ebonyi State in 2019 among the many who jostle for the gubernatorial position of Ebonyi State. Ebonyi State needs experienced and politically courageous Umahi in 2019 to enable him wrap up the infrastrucrural and agricultural revolutions as well as the all-round positive developmental narrative of Ebonyi State which commenced on 29th May, 2015. So, if it is true that Senator Ogbuoji has never lost in an election and wants to continue in that fair-weather political career, he should withraw from the 2019 Ebonyi gubernatorial election because Ebonyi people are unyielding in their desire for David Nweze Umahi!