As young students of Literature in English language, we wereexposed to an array of interesting books including Giants of the Cemetery written by one of Nigeria's finest imaginative authors and social engineer, Jimmy Essien. The book was a satirical exposé onthe poor leadership of the country of Reginia (a fictional coinagefrom our Nigeria) by her corrupt and unpatriotic leaders whopromoted their personal interests and minor passions far and above the common good of the hapless citizenry. This resulted to hunger,frustration, anguish, diseases, desolation and deaths in the country such that all that Reginia's failed leaders (the giants) could really point at as their achievements were the many graves of innocent citizens which had reduced the country of Reginia to a glorified cemetery! As it was in Essien's Reginia, so it is in the present Nigeria, but like the title of this piece suggests, Ebonyi state, and notNigeria, is the subject-matter of this essay.
The on-coming general elections, especially the 2019 Ebonyi gubernatorial election, have been generating a lot of interests. Like in all previous elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in its 2019 General Elections time-table made provisions for electioneering campaigns. By this token, candidates and their supporters in the 2019 Ebonyi gubernatorial race are expected to show themselves round to the voters; say who they are, what they were, how they impacted on the society with the opportunities they have so far had; and promote their manifestos forthe people to assess. The interesting thing about Ebonyi state is that majority of the political actors are not strangers: They are mostly previous and present superintendents of the public trust whose characters are like picture books to the people.
Ebonyi political actors can safely be classified into two – the conservative overloads who want to preserve the old order; and the progressive servants of the people who break all barriers to create a new order for Ebonyi and her people. In both divides, the actors are giants in their own rights and their antecedents will continue to follow them like tall shadows as they promote their respective preferences or offers to Ebonyi people in the forthcoming 2019Ebonyi gubernatorial election. From all indications, the men of the old order are against the second-term project of the present governor of Ebonyi state, Engr. David Nweze Umahi. Having taken thisdifficult position, they prevaricate between another Ebonyi southerner and an Ebonyi notherner as governor of Ebonyi state in 2019. This group of conservatives in Ebonyi state is led by a former governor of Ebonyi state who presided over Ebonyi common wealth as the custodian of public trust for eight years (2007 – 2015) duringwhich he pursued his separatist agenda through selective construction of his so-called unity bridges which left the Eguhuo bridge [through which Ezza Ezekuna people in Ezza Egu could avoid the battlefield of Ezzilo] undone for the sole purpose of fast-tracking his Ezza-Ezekuna annihilation agenda. This was a group who mortgaged the future of Ebonyi people in unprecedented bondswhich funds were routed through unviable projects like the Ochudo Power plant to private pockets. This was a group under whosewatch, Ebonyi state became one big graveyard wherein babies diedon their birthdays, the old buried their young and consequently diedlike Eli of the Bible while mass killings reminiscent of the Rwandamassacre took place over an issue as inconsequential as the locationof a pay-phone booth in Ezillo. These men, like I earlier said, are giants, but their roles so far in the historical matrix of young Ebonyistate as the undisputed masterminds of the unwarranted mass killings and destruction of humongous properties in Ezillo and other Ebonyi communities in Ebonyi state between 2008 and 2015 qualifythem only as the undisputed Ebonyi version of the Giants of theCemetery!
The questions which these men of the old order need to answer are:Why are you pretending not to be witnessing and enjoying the surfeits of transformation in the form of infrastructural projects likeroads on rigid pavement in Abakaliki municipality and in the hinterlands; the upgrading of our general hospitals and the virology centre in Abakaliki; the meaningful empowerment of widows, youths, workers and our traditional rulers; the security of lives and property through logistic support to security agencies as well as the establishment of Ebonyi Neighborhood Watch security outfit; and the stomach infrastructural programme through which over 600 women, youths and men were gainfully involved in governance?What are the aims of governance? In the history of Ebonyi state, hasthere been any time the aims of governance were achieved more than they are being achieved now under the present administrationof Engr. David Nweze Umahi? Does good conscience permitantagonizing an administration like David Umahi's which has generated happiness in quantum leaps for the masses of Ebonyi stateas evinced by both the testimonies and countenances of Ebonyi people and their unbiased neighbours?
Certainly, these questions will remain unanswered for a long time because with factual and verifiable indices on ground, no one can safely say that Governor Umahi's administration is not developing Ebonyi into a modern city state. However, it is instructive that while these giants of the cemetery are brainstorming in their dilapidated conclave on how to win the next election, enigmatic Governor Umahi is busy in the People's Republic of China and elsewhererummaging the very entrails of civilization in search of the latestdevelopment techniques and technologies to import to Ebonyi state; promoting to the world the irresistible endowments of the new investment-destination which Ebonyi state has become; andpersuading foreign investors to invest in the fertile and friendly Ebonyi investment environment where 50% of the factors of production as well as other ancillary necessities like security of lives, property and investments have been provided by the government. This gives David Umahi out as a first-class patriot anda true Ebonyi leader committed to connecting Ebonyi state to the global grid of development, industrialization and economic power.If it is true that “politicians think about the next election while statesmen think about the next generation”, then Governor David Nweze Umahi is truly a statesman. Obviously, Ebonyi needs a statesman like David Nweze Umahi more than ever at this perilous time.
The obsession of Ebonyi Giants of the Cemetery over the 2019 gubernatorial election in Ebonyi state prove that they are mere politicians who need power at all costs not to serve the ends of Ebonyi people, but for selfish reasons. This explains their unsettledand unwholesome options which run contrary to established political culture in Ebonyi state, equity and good conscience. In myearlier piece, “Ebonyi 2019: A prophecy of what Ebonyi people will do in fact”, I had prophesied that Ebonyi Giants of the Cemetery will opt for either another gubernatorial candidate from Ebonyi south with a promise that he will run for one term; or a gubernatorial candidate from either Ebonyi north or Ebonyi central (Abakaliki bloc). Now that my prophecy has come to pass, I want to call on Ebonyi people to beware of these giants of the cemetery who have not forgiven Ebonyi masses for preferring Engr. David Umahi to their fringe stooges in 2015. Miffed by the 2015 landmark rejectionthese infamous giants intend to maliciously exploit the unfoldingpolitical emotions in the hope of returning Ebonyi state to theprecipice? The offers they are making to Ebonyi people in this 2019 are reinventions of the same odious and obnoxious offer of 2015.Like darkness, they have remained stagnant in one colour!
Beside the fact that Ebonyi people have no reason to change a working and winning team like Team Umahi, I have two problems with what these giants of the cemetery are offering Ebonyi people in2019: A candidate from Abakaliki will institutionalize inequity andsow seeds of discord among the districts that make up the young state. Ebonyi state is a product of protests against injustice; and it was not the intention of Ebonyi founding fathers to have a statewhere one senatorial district will be marginalized. One will agree that it is unjust for Ebonyi north and central to take two unbrokentenures at Government House and leave Ebonyi south with one tenure. Another candidate from Ebonyi south other than Apostle David Nweze Umahi is a recipé for anarchy because it amounts to a back-door enthronement of the rotation of Ebonyi governorship between Abia (Ebonyi south) and Enugu (Ebonyi North and South)political dichotomy which is designed to inhibit and marginalizeUnwekumenyi or Abakaliki bloc. Woe betide the Ekumenyi son or daughter who lends support to such an obnoxious idea! My friend, Osita Kalu Ugorji was correct when he harshly submitted that; “there are two types of political idiots in Ebonyi state: those whosupport a governorship candidate from Abakaliki bloc; and those who support a governorship candidate from Ebonyi south other than Apostle David Nweze Umahi”.
As we approach the 2019 general elections, we must not fail to appreciate the achievements of Governor David Nweze Umahi – a man who has re-defined the art of statecraft; broken all positive records of development and empowerment; and surpassed all possible expectations for the near future even in the realm of Ebonyi people's imagination. From all indication, this apostle of good governance is a divine donation for the demonstration of God's graces upon Ebonyi state. Umahi's second term project come 2019is therefore a divine imperative.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)