The events which took place on 11th December in the Ladi Kwali hall, Sheraton Hotel and Towers Abuja remind me of one of my most prized possessions as a little boy which was a book I found in the library of my uncle and our sage, Chief Peter Igwe Eze, of blessed memory. The book, “MONEY HARD TO GET BUT EASY TO SPEND” which was published by Providence Press, Awo-Idemili, Orlu (now in Imo State) belonged to the stable of the pace-setting Onitsha Market Literature. A particular proverb in the book which has stood the test of time and ages is the one which holds that “An empty vessel makes the greatest noise”! Conversely, filled vessels make little or no noise.
This is very true about the third civilian Governor of Ebonyi state, Chief David Nweze Umahi and his Divine mandate administration in Ebonyi state. David Nweze Umahi, a man of creative vision, iron will and few words took over the reigns of power in Ebonyi state on 29th May, 2015 amidst optimism and great expectations on the part of well-meaning Ebonyians and his teeming supporters; and forecasts of stagnation and outright doom for the young state by political rivals and self-centered pessimists who out of self-conceit and lack of patriotism promoted their personal ambitions above the collective will of the people of Ebonyi state. Political watchers waited for Umahi’s reply to no avail. Rather than descend low to exchange verbal diatribes, Umahi launched his “Light up Ebonyi” project which involved mounting street and ornamental lights in all the streets, roads, avenues and boulevards in Abakaliki Capital Territory as well as at the headquarters and major settlements of all the local government areas in Ebonyi state. This was followed by the flag off of the reconstruction of Nkaliki road on rigid concrete pavement. It was through this project that Governor Umahi introduced the global best practice of concrete roads in Ebonyi state. When beneficiaries of the old order tried to make the introduction of concrete-based roads in Ebonyi state a subject of propaganda, Umahi did not spare a word for them. Instead of replying their mischievous propaganda, Umahi commenced concrete-based rehabilitation of the entire capital city road network which measured a total distance of 500 kilometers. Umahi did not stop at that. He flagged off the overhead bridge project at Akanu Ibiam roundabout and, later, the other overhead bridges at Offia Nwali roundabout and International market junction as well as the pedestrian overhead crossing at Ebonyi State University, EBSU, permanent site gate. Governor Umahi whose achievements in the road sector has earned the sobriquet ofThe Road master equally embarked on the reconstruction of Onueke and Afikpo internal road networks, the Hilltop – Nwofe Agbaja virgin road project, a minimum of 15 – kilometer road project in each of the 13 Local Government Areas in Ebonyi state, the Nkwegu – Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI) road and Ezzamgbo – Effium road. Others are new town roads in Agu Ogboriga, Mgbabor area and in Oroke Onuoha. A man who believes in result-oriented actions rather than in passing blames, Umahi equally intervened in the reconstruction of federal roads in Ebonyi state like Nkalagu – Nigercem road, the failed section of Abakaliki – Afikpo highway and the Amasiri – Okposi – Uburu road.
When propagandists accused the Divine mandate administration of turning Ebonyi state into a huge construction yard simply because the Governor was a civil engineer, Umahi, the positively unusual Governor of Ebonyi state, had no words to trade with anybody. He rolled out an unprecedented stomach infrastructure programme as well as the first economic empowerment programme which did (and still does) not reckon with political or tribal affiliations. These programmes gave rise to formidable armies of beneficiaries whose conscientious supports for Project Umahi 2019 have become ideological, thereby pushing back the tongues of Umahi’s critics and sealing the hope of the opposition.
Recently, both the opposition and the blackmail industry in Ebonyi state taunted ‘federal might’ and not the people’s will as the sole determinant of electoral victory come 2019. Added to this unwholesome taunt was a plethora of over-hyped epistles to both the presidency and other federal agencies accusing Umahi of non-performance and corruption. Again, Umahi did not trade words with anybody. He focused on his development programmes especially the agricultural revolution aimed at food security and food export; the waste recycling plant with capacity to generate 3000 jobs for Ebonyi people; the exploration of alternative routes to energy or power through the Biomass Gasification Power project and the Green House project; the encouragement of industrialization and self-reliance through the Ebonyi State Government – Bank of Industry single digit loan for industrialists and Ebonyi workers; as well as his anti-corruption crusade and transparent conduct of government affairs. Umahi capped his actions up with invitations to Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related offences Commission, ICPC, which attended and continued to follow Umahi’s anti-corruption programmes; envoys of other countries for them to see the light of uncommon transformation stoked to full dazzle in Ebonyi state; the Zero – hunger Team to assess the agricultural and economic empowerment revolutions going on in Ebonyi state; and finally President Muhammadu Buhari to see and commission various life-enhancing projects which was built within the record time of thirty months by low income – profile Ebonyi State under the most inclement economic weather!
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Awkbright testified that roads built by Umahi in Ebonyi state are the best. The ICPC appointed Umahi an “Anti-corruption commander”. The Zero – hunger team led by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo after a historical “dance for development” done by Obasanjo at the site of the waste recycling plant in Umuoghara on 7th November also declared Umahi “a good manager of resources”. President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR after commissioning prime projects built by Governor Umahi in his monumental two-day working visit to Ebonyi state on 13th and 14th December, 2017 commended Governor Umahi in unreserved terms for his [Umahi’s] “vision and commitment to the development of his [Ebonyi] State”. By that token, our President confirmed the various testimonies of Ebonyi people, foreign envoys, pro-democracy groups and Former President Obasanjo that Governor Umahi is an achiever and a good manager of resources!
In another vein, the Foundation for Transparency and Accountability in its 2017 Transparency, Accountability, Good Governance and Integrity Heroes Awards held in the Ladi Kwali hall of Sheraton Hotel and Towers on Monday, 11th November 2017, rated Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi state as the “Most Transparent Governor in South East of Nigeria”. This rating and subsequent appointment of Governor David Nweze Umahi as “Anti-corruption Ambassador” by this credible foundation further corroborated ICPC and Ebonyi people’s earlier assessment of Governor Umahi. It is equally trite that without zero-tolerance for corruption, the types and quantum of Umahi’s projects are impossible in a low income – profile state like Ebonyi in the current economic weather. This is enough to say that Ebonyi people are the ultimate beneficiaries of Governor Umahi’s anti-corruption crusade. Hence, the overwhelming support for the second term project of Umahi.
I hereby congratulate Governor David Nweze Umahi – a divine donation for the Greater Ebonyi Project; a visionary and courageous leader who chose transparency and probity as his vocation; a certified and confirmed silent achiever and anti-corruption czar.
It is well with Ebonyi State!
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)