Written By Monica Ada C. Eze
Few weeks back, we monitored nocturnal meetings in Abuja, Abakaliki and Enugu of major political heavy weights that lost out in the 2015 general elections in Ebonyi State, with those who felt that they are not carried along by the present administration of Governor Dave Umahi and the group that have some political scores to settle with the governor, as well as those who felt that he is going too far in his transformational agenda and must be stopped by any means before he rubbishes their political leanings that Ebonyi is beyond any form of redemption. In all these meetings, the single agenda was strategies to uproot the Umahi from the Government House come 2019.
The argument that Ebonyi South, through Umahi, is entitled to a second term as was the case with Senator Sam Egwu from Ebonyi North zone and Chief Martins Elechi from North-Central zone who all spent eight years in office failed on deaf ears, not considering Umahi’s commitment, based on physical and people-oriented projects scattered all over the state towards the development and emancipation of Ebonyi State and her people. This does not make any meaning to this clique that feels that without them Ebonyi State can’t be governed by any other person, except those anointed and who are ready to bring the state treasury to them, before embarking on any project.
We are not against any group of persons gathering or strategising on their political future, as doing that will be going against the main tenets of democracy, which centres on groups and people gathering to scramble for political powers and positions, but one’s concern is that such gatherings should be centred on the greatness and better future of Ebonyi State, as noting less than that will and will not have my blessing or that of any focussed youth of this state. Theodore Roosevelt, one-time president of the United States of America captured my mind when he stated: “The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.” And I pray that the opposition in Ebonyi State will listen to Roosevelt and let us play this politics with decency and Ebonyi greatness as our main hallmark.
It is in consideration of this fact, as a concerned daughter of Ebonyi State whose future and that of my fellow youths are at stake by this type of unholy machination to jeopardise and scurry the ongoing systematic strategies by Umahi’s administration to wrestle our state from the doldrums and woods that informed my decision to embark on this treatise, aimed at finding out and exposing the grouses of these misguided elements who feel that they have the power to scuttle the obvious current efforts to revamp both the economy of Ebonyi and make the state an Eldorado for the benefit of all and sundry.
I am not afraid of all these nocturnal meetings, because if God was the one that anointed Umahi to be Governor of Ebonyi State, no amount of gatherings will scuttle God’s will for Ebonyi State. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistani State, captured very succinctly the Ebonyi opposition misguided tactics when he stated: “Let those men who still have these misguided ideas, let those men who still have these hallucinations, realise that by anarchism, by dastardly crimes, they cannot bring about good government; let them realise that these methods have not succeeded in any country of the world, and are not likely to succeed in India”; Ebonyi State inclusive.
100 Grouses of the opposition against Umahi
- The first major sin against the opposition by Umahi is allowing himself to be appointed as Acting Chairman of PDP, Ebonyi State chapter, by Dr Sam Egwu in 2007. This was the office he used to fight to ensure that the PDP candidate in the 2007 gubernatorial candidate, Chief Martins Elechi, was duly elected and sworn-in as the second civilian governor of Ebonyi State.
- The opposition will like to know why Umahi allowed his businesses and personal outfits to be burnt and destroyed in his home town, Uburu, because of PDP politics.
- Why did Umahi, as substantive PDP chairman, make the party under his watch a cohesive, vibrant, united family and a political lethal force in the state, ready to pull down any form of opposition, using its grassroots appeal as a strategy and reputed to have built the best State Secretariat of PDP in the country?
- Why on earth did he accept the Office of the Deputy Governor during the second term of Chief Martins Elechi, during the 2011 gubernatorial election in which he contributed so much financially, materially and spiritually, to ensure that Chief Elechi was duly re-elected as governor of Ebonyi State.
- Why should Umahi take his fate in his hands and resort to God – and with the help of the then Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Pius Anyim, Dr Sam Egwu, and others – to reclaim the mandate as the PDP gubernatorial candidate; after then governor Elechi had formally told him that he is not his candidate?
- Why has he decided to expose to the entire world that Abakaliki can look like a state capital, instead of leaving it as a glorified local government headquarters it was used to?
- Who told Umahi that Abakaliki is due for a fly-over, talk less of three at the same time?
- Why did he increase the salaries of civil servants in the state and be paying them regularly, while other states are not paying their civil servants for months: what is he trying to prove?
- For making Ebonyi State the number one Agriculture State in Nigeria, he must be dealt with.
- Who is Umahi to recognise traditional rulers and even give them jeeps as official cars, thereby trying to elevate them to the status of monarchs in other states?
- Why must he always dedicate the state to God, even refusing to enter the Government House immediately he was sworn in, until he embarked on a five-day fasting and prayer, against the norm?
- Why must Umahi restore peace to the land of the Ezza-Ezillo crisis that has claimed more than 200 lives, and property worth millions of naira destroyed when the state needs blood for sacrifices?
- In whose authority did he send buses to convey our people from Kano, Ibadan, Lagos, Jos, Port Harcourt, Onistha and other major towns in Nigeria, to convey our people to and fro to spend their Christmas and New Year festivities in Ebonyi? (Something that was never done by past administrations.)
- Today, Ebonyi State is termed as one huge construction site: why must he embark on too many people-oriented projects at the same time?
- Why must Ebonyi State be rated as number one in the revolution of agriculture and was declared as the best state in the elimination of malaria and healthcare delivery under Umahi?
16.Not minding the current recession ravaging the country which made most states unable to pay their staff salaries for many months, yet the administration of Umahi in Ebonyi State has not only increased the salaries of its workers by 5 per cent, but pays regularly on 15th of every month?
- Who taught Umahi that there is something like 13-month salary, since the departure of the British from Nigeria, when Ebonyi workers were paid extra one month after their December, 2016 salary? This is a fallacy and must be stopped henceforth.
18 On what premises is Umahi’s administration ensuring that there is no family or community in Ebonyi State that is not feeling the impact of governance in Ebonyi?
- Governor Umahi had the audacity to have invited Engr Babachir Lawal, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to the state and permitted him to state: “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 meagre 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.” Why and why should this happen?
- Why should Ebonyi State be 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 senatorial zones of the state? This is not fair and, therefore, unacceptable to us in the opposition.
- On what premises should the Chairman, Senate committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba said that, “the developmental strides of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State are unprecedented in the annals of governance in Ebonyi State.Umahi has returned the twenty years old state to the path of progress. His aggressive infrastructural pursuit and actualizing the dream of the founding fathers of Ebonyi state is commendable. With the rate the governor is tackling rural and urban development; the state has entered into the record books as one of the fastest developing states in Africa”. To the opposition this assertion is not acceptable to us and must be withdrawn
- The statement credited to Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice Chairman of PDP, South East Zone about the administration of Gov. Umahi that, “You ain’t see something yet until Ebonyi become the second Dubai. The fact remains that the current developments ongoing in Ebonyi is just a starting point as Ebonyi will soon be competing with high profiled cities like Dubai” is not acceptable to us and must be withdrawn
- For the Governor to be addressed as Akubaraoha which he uses to touch the lives of many Ebonyians is not acceptable and must change such a title if he wants us in the opposition to give him any respite.
- The plot to develop and build a model of school in each of the 13 local government areas of the state to serve as a benchmark for what all public schools should be in a no distant future is not acceptable to the opposition as the current state of schools in the State is okay by them.
- The Governor must bury the thought of engaging the German Environmental Sanitation Development Company on establishment of a new city to be known as Salt Lake City and the development of a land belonging to the state government in Abuja. Those in the opposition are contented with lack of ideas and initiatives to develop the State in any form.
- The idea to use expatriates to train our farmers on the use of the mechanized agricultural equipment procured by the government thereby revolutionizing agriculture in the State by the use of modern mechanized agricultural equipment is a top dream so far we concerned and should be discarded.
- For Umahi’s administration to approve N100m to enable the State Ministry of Power to continue with the ongoing urban street light project coupled to be systematically handled with the ongoing rehabilitation of 200 kilometres of urban street roads by the state Ministry of Works to ensure that each road reconstructed will be accompanied with street light, water and environmental sanitation facilities must be discountenanced.
- The Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, is not fair to the opposition by expressing the readiness of his administration to key into the programmes of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to enhance the well-being of women and children in the state and stressing his resolve “to ensure that no woman dies during child birth under his watch.
- For Umahi to spend a whopping of N8.1 million to defray medical bills of some indigent patients in the hospital thus demonstrating the fact that politics in Nigeria, could possibly be harnessed to wipe the tears off the eyes of suffering masses and assuage the pains of sufferer to the opposition is a taboo.
- The Governor was taken too much by hosting the Octogenarians who had spent their years serving the society in various public and private capabilities during their hay days to a banquet organized in their honour. These elderly men drawn from the thirteen local Government Areas of the State were visibly exhilarated as they danced old school tunes with the governor at the glorious Banquet hall of the Governor’s lodge reminiscent of their youthful years. They were showered with Executive gifts of materials and cash and advised on tips to safeguarding their health by the Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezurike. Why should these abandoned individuals be brought to a place like the Government House of the State
- Why on earth should Barrister Anselem Enigwe, the Caretaker Chairman of Ebonyi Local Government state that: “I thank God for the choice of His Excellency, the workaholic Governor of Ebonyi State…He is simply too much. He has done more than good to the people of the State. He has demonstrated the fulfillment of the Biblical injunction to celebrate the elders alive…” He described Governor Umahi as a selfless an altruistic leader who put other first.
- Governor Umahi should as a matter of urgency call for a stakeholders meeting to disannul the various communities in Ebonyi State resolution to endorse him as the sole candidate for the 2019 general elections as a demonstration of appreciation of gratitude to his unprecedented feats.
- it is not acceptable that a barely a year after assuming office, Umahi should exhibit and impact his vision so visibly that Nigerians now boast and celebrate that truly a new visionary, focused, determined, patriotic, revolutionary, egalitarian leader. Indeed that makes everyone to agree that Umahi is one leader cast in the mould of Dr Akanu Ibiam, the first Governor of the defunct Eastern Nigeria, who happens to come from the same section of the state like Umahi.
- Umahi must change his mission statement which seems to centre on the welfare of the Ebonyi State people in order to accommodate the unprogressive position of the opposition, “Our mission in Ebonyi State is to enhance the welfare of our people, and empower all Ebonyians to be self-reliant, through the compassionate delivery of transparent and God-fearing governance, based on integrity and dignity.”
- To the opposition Hon Linus Okorie, representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives must be recalled for observing after due consultation with various communities that came in thousands during the Christmas and New Year homage to the Governor, moved the motion that Umahi must not only stand for the second term in the 2019 general elections, but must be the sole candidate of PDP and other progressives parties desirous of the greatness and future of Ebonyi State.
- Hon Odefa Obasi Odefa the Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly must be a joker for seconding the motion, stating that if the feats of Governor Umahi less than two years in office are anything to go by he should stand as the sole candidate of all the functional political parties in Ebonyi State during the 2019 gubernatorial elections. ‘The fact remains that we in Ebonyi State are not only blessed through Umahi who has exposed our state to unprecedented revolution and transformation of our dear state, but we can proudly stand before any state in the federation in terms of having a visionary leader whose impact is very visible, even to the blind.’
- Why must the Senior Technical Advisers and Technical Advisers to the Governor through their leader, Mark Onu state that: “We are happy with you. Your second tenure is assured. We can only disagree with you if you refuse to present yourself. But I know the good Lord will guide you in all your dealings.”
- The people of Ezza North according to the opposition erred by pleading with Governor Umahi not to go to Abuja until he completes the “good works” he is doing in the state, by contesting the 2019 polls. Through their spokesman, Mr. Hygienus Nwokwu,: “Your Excellency, we are highly pleased with the good works you are doing in this our state. We are particularly pleased that our LGA has been well favoured in the area of infrastructural development. You have ensured equity in the spread of projects and appointments. We are happy with you, sir. But, your Excellency, we want to plead with you not to go to Abuja yet. We say this because very soon, people in Abuja will soon ask you to come to the centre. But we say don’t go yet, until you have completed the good works you have started. That they did not want a situation where the governor’s “massive projects would not be completed.”
- For Umahi to state that, “As a government, we are thankful to God that Ebonyi is among the few states of the federation where civil servants went home with their salaries from January to December, and are paid by 15th of every month. We have even done more than that by paying 13thmonth salary to all civil servants. This we have done for two years running. That Ebonyi is counted among the few states that do not owe salaries is not only remarkable, it is a testimony of rare ingenuity on the part of my administration”, to the opposition this is suffocating to them.
- Umahi is suffocating the opposition by maintaining that “As we begin 2017, the story will not change. It is equally worthy to note our achievements in the area of agriculture, the health sector, and road construction in the year just ended. The opening up of our rural villages through massive road construction and street light projects across the three senatorial districts is eloquent testimonial of our successes within our 18 months in office. In the capital city Abakaliki, urban renewal and beautification were given priority through streetlights and road rehabilitation/construction.”
- Umahi the enigma compounding the position of the opposition the more stated, “Agriculture is one area we have regained national prominence and accolades, even from President, Muhammadu Buhari. It is a thing of joy that Ebonyi is now a reference point in terms of agriculture. I am highly glad that Ebonyians keyed into our vision to make agriculture our principal income earner. We will not lose our focus and vision in this area in 2017. We cannot be talking about achieving self-sufficiency in agriculture without opening up our local roads, for effective and efficient evacuation of farm produce to our urban markets. Thus, this year 2017, we shall strive assiduously to ensure commencement of work on the Abakaliki Ring Road, which cuts across most of the local government areas in the state.
- “In 2017, we shall take our rural electrification project to all the three senatorial districts. Health and Education sectors will not be left out. They will witness quantum leap in terms of improvement in facilities, manpower and, of course, performance. Our intention is to make life in our villages comfortable. By this, we will be able to keep the youths at home where they can engage in noble ventures, especially agriculture.
- “To fight poverty in 2017 and effectively too, we shall continue with our empowerment programmes. More of our youths must be engaged through deliberate empowerment policies of my government. Women will not be left out. We shall empower the women in several ways, to ensure they are engaged in productive ventures. Tell me with these innovations, what are the opposition in Ebonyi State talking about
- “In the area of security, my government is awake to the challenges of securing lives and property in the state, and will remain so ever. Ebonyi is no longer a safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers. I am glad to tell Ebonyians that throughout the Yuletide, there was no news of kidnapping or armed robbery in any part of the state.
- the opposition will like to know why Umahi must embark upon all these roads considered unworthy of government attention by the previous administration- These are: 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 Roundabout–Mile 50, Adiq Suite Road, Gulf Roundabout–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.
- Why must Umahi embark upon the following projects in the Ebonyi North District – Ezzamgbo–Effium road, Hill Top–Nwofe road, Ishieke–Odomoke road (Nwiboko Obodo road), Amike–Abegu-Ozibo bridge, Amachara–Oferekpe–Ovuduechi road.
- What is Umahi trying to prove by remembering the Ebonyi Central through Enyibichiri Ikwo Road, Ndufu–Alike–FUNAI Road, Nkalagu–Ehamufu Road.
- For Umahi to remember the forgotten Ebonyi South Sentorial Zone through the following projects – 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 is an abomination to the opposition
- In which other State in Nigeria are Ex-lawmakers, Chairmen to Earn Monthly Pay except in Ebonyi State therefore the Governor must discard such an idea if for nothing for the interest of the opposition in Ebonyi State. According to the Governor. “My aim is to carry everybody along, especially the political class. That’s why I will be approaching the House of Assembly to ask them for approval so that those legislators that are not on seat now, we start paying them some stipends. Former local government chairmen will also be included. I believe this is how we can get them to help in developing and creating wealth in our state, and will assist to douse tension and allow me some concentration with them so that we can complete the work we have started.”
- it is totally unacceptable to the opposition that Umahi should within one month construct and equip a multi-million naira modern virology centre in FETHA II, Abakaliki where suspected cases of Lassa Fever and other acute hemorrhagic fevers will be diagnosed and managed This is the first of its kind in the South-east. This project started because of the governor’s love for his people, who before this period has lost so many lives due delays in sending and receiving sample results from Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
I have about 100 grouses of the opposition against Umahi but space can’t allow me to mention them all in this piece but don’t be dismayed as I have put all in a booklet once I have a sponsor for its printing, the public will be privileged to know more of what this enigma call Engr Dave Nwaze Umahi has done for his State less than two years in office.
This notwithstanding, if all these feats by Umahi in less than two years in office are the sins he has committed to warrant being persecuted and kicked out by 2019, we, Ebonyians, will urge him to commit more of these sins in order to reposition our state to a better and greater height.
Watching the opposition politics in Ebonyi State, I can now understand why Donald Trump, a world political leader and current President of the United States, in showing his repugnance for most of the political actors expressly stated: “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace; good people don’t go into government.” But, fortunately for us in Ebonyi State, we have one good man spearheading the affairs of governance and delivering dividends of democracy to our people. His name is Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi, the Akuaboraha, he whose wealth touches all and sundry.
Umahi has not only redefined governance but has achieved within less than two years, what past administrations of the state could not achieve in the 20 years of the creation of the state.
To my friends and leaders in the opposition, I think we can listen to the following counsel of Bayard Rustin: “If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end”
In conclusion, let me counsel my principal and my leader that he should not have any fear, as all the good people of Ebonyi State are behind him but most importantly, God has the final say in his case. And he has already ruled in the book of Isaiah Chapter 54 verse 15: “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” (King James Version).