By Monica Ada Chidinma Eze
The Chinese in its popular proverb must have had Governor David Nwaeze Umahi of Ebonyi State in mind when it postulated that:- ”to get rich, first build a road” affirming the stand that without infrastructure, economic development will be elusive to any community or State.
Chief Austin Umahi the National Vice Chairman of PDP South East Zone in tandem with the Chinese proverb and stand on Governor Umahi stated, ”you ain’t seen something yet until Ebonyi become the second Dubai in the world”. This demonstrates that with the current unprecedented developments being engineered by Engr. Dave Umahi ongoing in Ebonyi State are just starting points as Ebonyi will soon be competing with high profiled cities like Dubai, Lagos and other similar States.
Democracy is defined as the government for the people and by the people and I am happy to note that Governor David umahi in all his actions has lived this truism and demonstrated that he is that man for the people, by the people and for the people. As a proud daughter of Ebonyi and one of the key actors in the transformation going on in Ebonyi State, it behooves on me to give you the reader an insight and clearer perspective of the gains and importance of the infrastructural revolution and development embarked upon by Governor Umahi this past two years. This will go a long way in assisting to educate our opponents who have decided to turn blind eyes to the great feats of this administration to turn around the fortunes of our State around.
What Governor Umahi is doing in Ebonyi State is to lay a strong economic base for a better future of our youths. This innovative leadership can only be likening to the inventive governance exhibited by GOVERNOR DONALD DUKE of Cross Rivers State who governed the State from1999 to 2007. Apart from laying a strong economic base for the State, Duke ensured that Cross Rivers State was the cleanest State in Nigeria during his tenure. Today foreign investors abide and invest in the State because of the solid foundation laid by this man of ideas and vision. And the well known Obudu Ranch is today a tourist centre that everyone would want to experience which Donald Duke is accredited for leaving a great legacy behind that still serve the purpose for its creation.
To me, I make bold to state that I see the revolution achieved both in Lagos and Cross State by Senator Tinubu and Donald Duke respectively happening in our own dear Ebonyi State if we all can cooperate and assist Engr Umahi in his drive to make the changes that will take us to the level where God wants to use this David of our time to drive this State to. In this regard, it is my wish and prayer that we should not allow this opportunity to make our State great slip through our fingers. For it is only this reality that can enable us compete favorably with other States and attract foreign investors to invest in our state which will generate income and revenue for the state’s growth and development.
It is this drive to make Ebonyi State rich based on the Chinese proverb that motivates Engr. Dave Umahi in such a way that since the creation of the State in the past twenty years the State has not witnessed the level of infrastructural development that it has witnessed within the two years of his exemplary reign as the Governor of Ebonyi State. The number of roads constructed and reconstructed, both within the urban and rural roads seem to be unquantifiable, as excavators make new routes on daily basis. Governor Umahi has vowed to develop Ebonyi – despite limitations and scarce resources – with diligence, sincerity of purpose and prudent management of funds. It is, indeed, marvelous in our eyes and we give God all the glory for making all things new in his own time..
Today, Ebonyi State is rated as one of the most outstanding growing states in Nigeria, as Umahi embarks on total rehabilitation of the dilapidated roads in Abakaliki and construction of roads in all the zones of the state.
For avoidance of doubt, the following roads have been rehabilitated and asphalted under the administration of Governor Umahi within his two years of magical feats in Ebonyi State: Water Works Road, Ogoja–Onuebonyi–Rice Mill Road, Gunning Road, New Market Road, Nkaliki–EBBC–EBHA–Abakaliki LGA Road, Hosanna Park, Hosanna Street, Ezika Street (Yam market), Old Park, Jos Street, Obiri Street, Nwodo Street, Mberi Street, Awolowo Street, Nsugbe Street, Uga Street, Ezza Road, Udensi Round-about–Mile 50, Adiq Suite Road, Gulf Round-about–Quarry–Fide Mbam Road, Hausa Quarters, Onwe Road, Vanco Junction to Government House, Convent Road, Meat Market, New Market Road, Udemezue Street, Arondizuogu Street, Nkwogu Street and Zik Avenue.
Three flyovers the first in the State are almost completed – Akanu Ibiam fly-over, Presco Junction flyover, International Market flyover. The EBSU Campus-gate Pedestrian crossing, Udensi Bridge, Haraca–Oshim Igbele Street, Obi Street, Watchman Street, Ibe/Obodoukwu Street, Osborn La-Palm–Ogbaga Road, Eze & Bros–Oroke Onuoha Road, Erkanka Street, Agbado-Ozo Street from FRSC, Aguogboriga layout, Police Quarters internal road, Mbam-Agbo Extension (a virgin road), Mbam-Agbo Street, from G Hostel, Off Hatchery Road, Ezeadikwa Street, Ugo Dan Street, Emefor Street, Agbaja Road (from Chosen church, IDU Hall), Omougo Street, Itapa Azobu, opposite Grace Court, Amike Aba Road, Edema Close, Ezekeikwo Street, Mgbabor Street, Oroke Onuoha Road, St Patrick’s Church–Ogbaga Road (swamp), Diamond Point Road, road behind Staff Development Centre, Anulo Junction–Nwogodo Road are all completed and put into use.
Ndiagu Layout, Abakaliki, Onoogolu Street, Isuofia Street, Okeke Street, Ugwuoba Street, Nsukka Street, Nawfia Street, Akaeze Street, Mbadugha Street, Neni Street, Ukpo Street, Uke Street, Anekwe Street, Igbokwe Street, Iwolo Street, Adazi Street, Atuenyi Street, Mbanefo Street, Ezejiofor Street, Nnewi Street, Abagana Street all completed.
All parts and zones in the State are almost linked by roads constructed by this administration = Ezzamgbo–Effium Road, Hill Top–Nwofe road, Ishieke–Odomoke road (Nwiboko Obodo Road), Amike–Abegu-Ozibo bridge, Amachara–Oferekpe–Ovuduechi Road in the Ebonyi North Senatorial zone are 90 percent completed.
while in the Ebonyi Central Enyibichiri Ikwo Road, Ndufu–Alike–FUNAI Road, Nkalagu–Ehamufu Road are put into use while in the Ebonyi South the administration embarked upon the following key roads – Amasiri–Okposi–Uburu road, Ezzama–Oshiri-Onicha-Isu-Uburu Road, Amasiri–Nguzu–Owutu Edda Road, Amangwu–Owutu Edda Bridge, Ihenu channelisation/culverts, Ntezi–Agba–Isu Road.
Engr. Dave Umahi is truly an enigma and Engineer par excellence and has put his profession into proper use for the benefit and greatness of Ebonyi State. Today, because of this drive, Ebonyi State is referred to as one huge construction site, and a reference case in terms of revolution in agriculture, and number one state in the area of health delivery to her people. This is particularly in the area of elimination of malaria epidemic. With three solid flyovers almost completed and to be commissioned very soon, these feats within two years in office by this enigma of a leader aptly put him as a revolutionist of our time.
It is only a resolute revolutionist leader in the mould of Governor Umahi that could envision at this period of recession, scarcity and hardship to initiate a total new city of 5,000-unit mega city housing project in Ebonyi State though to be bankrolled by the Africa Nations Development Programme (ANDP) is another milestone that put Governor Dave Nweze Umahi as a concerned and committed lover of his people. Described as one of the best things that have ever happened to Ebonyi State as I am convinced that this housing project that will comprise of 5,000 detached two bedroom bungalows and other facilities such as schools, water, electricity, police station, barracks, hospitals among others is not only a milestone but also a strategic move to put Ebonyi in the league of the most developed states in Nigeria. This project that will be executed by this international body will cost the Ebonyi State Government little or nothing apart from the donation of the land and construction of a two-kilometre road to the site
Apart from all these milestones, Governor Umahi has arranged with the Bank of Industry to deposit N2 billion to fund small scale industries in the State, which will be made available to groups of people in the state with viable projects. Ebonyi under the watch of Governor Umahi will assist investors interested in the development of limestone and salt in the State, while the administration is cooperating with a multi-national cement company, Larfage, which is at the final stage of establishing the biggest cement factory in the country in Ebonyi, even as efforts are in progress to see that Nigercem in Nkalagu resume production soon.
Stating this more aptly captured what makes Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi the leader of our time was no other person than Engr Babachir Lawal, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF): “Well, I cannot in all honesty understand how these works have been achieved within this short time and, indeed, in the climate of dire economic shortages of government. I am impressed that you (Dave Umahi) were able to do these works within the cost you mentioned. I can, in all honesty, tell you that the work is far beyond the cost. Now, this is a standard for other states and the Federal Government to emulate. To me, Governor Umahi is one of the few persons who believe that meager resources could be used to achieve much, if we remove greed, which breeds corruption. Without mincing words, Umahi, is better than some governors in my own party, the APC.”
While the current recession ravaging most states in Nigeria has made them unable to pay their staff salaries for many months, the administration of Umahi in Ebonyi State has not only increased the salaries of its workers by 5 per cent, but also pays regularly on 15th of every month. What is more, we are now hearing about the 13th month salary in Ebonyi State, Governor Umahi having decided to pay the state’s civil servants 13th month salary during the 2016 Christmas!
Today, there is no family or community in Ebonyi State that is not feeling the impact of governance in Ebonyi, and are all singing the praises of the governor: pleading with him to go for a second term, come 2019.
Umahi has not only redefined governance, but has achieved within less than two years in office what past administrators couldn’t achieve in the 20 years of the creation of the state. This is why it looks as if John Maxwell had Umahi in mind, when he stated: “Knowing how to do a job is the accomplishment of labour – showing others is the accomplishment of the teacher – making sure the work is done by others is the accomplishment of the manager – inspiring others to do better work is the accomplishment of the leader.”
“I am glad to note that all these challenges and uncomfortable scenarios were just incentives for Umahi to do the impossible in Ebonyi State as he demonstrates his ingenuity in the arts of governance that forced the amiable Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, to describe him as the “wisest governor” in Nigeria. It is also a fact not minding the position of the opposition political parties and people that are awed by the great feats of the Umahi’s administration in such a short period of time that under the administration of this enigma, Ebonyi State can boast of the best Laboratory Diagnostic Centre and equipped Virology Centre. Recently, the Inspector-General of Police stated that Umahi is the most-friendly governor in Nigeria, while the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington described the Ebonyi Rice as the best in the entire world; while the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright stated that, “Ebonyi roads are the best in the South-East”. With all these postulations, one cannot make any mistake to declare that Umahi has delivered”
My postulations: Not minding the brouhaha syndrome injected by the detractors of the state who in one way or the other never relent in spreading false propaganda when it comes to the transformations of the state which can even be felt by a blind man.
My question is if Governor Umahi can achieve these much for us all in a short time, what is hindering us all from giving him our total support to be able to do more for our State?
-Is it that the people of Ebonyi state prefer to live in darkness? -or do we prefer to stay the analogue way when technology has taken over the world? Do we prefer to be subjected to shame because of our inability to compete with other states? Do we prefer our widows to be molested by wicked traditions? Do we prefer illiteracy to quality education? Do we prefer sickness to quality medical care? Do we prefer bad roads to good quality road networks that would make the transportation of our goods and farm products easier? Do we prefer our youths indulging in crimes when there is empowerment for the youths by his Excellency?
It is time to embrace that which we never had, the time to stop listening to detractors, the time to build a new Ebonyi, with Gov David umahi Nwaeze that time is now
There are no substitutes for infrastructural development and there are no shortcuts for faster economic growth. Therefore unless developing countries invest in all elements of the infrastructure component, their development would be slow and retarded and they would miss the bus and loose out in the race for economic competitiveness. This is the hard truth and the bitter reality which should hopefully spur Ebonyi state and her people to invest in their own future by trusting Dave Umahi with their mandate to take the State to the next level by supporting his drive and vision for the State.
I urge all Ebonyians to pledge their complete support and key into this great opportunity that is been given to us on a plate of gold by our God-given leader Governor David Nwaeze Umahi whose complete concern is to make EbonyI state a better, digital and standardized global city. While I highly commend Governor Dve Nweze Umahi for not giving up not minding all the distractions and efforts of the detractors to make Ebonyi state one of the fastest growing State in Nigeria through infrastructural development using a digital standardized approach for her economic growth.
Kudos to my uncle and boss for making the difference in governance in Nigeria; God will keep you and establish you in all your endeavors to make our State the best in Nigeria.
…Eze is the DUNAETA President & Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi