By Agwu Francis
The present administration under Engr David Nweze Umahi has through its plethora of landmark projects etched it’s name in the sands of time. As a German Physicist George Lichtenberg puts it “only that which brings something quite new is really worthy of a name of a book”. His Excellency Engr David Nweze Umahi within the last five years of emergence as Governor of Ebonyi State has proved that he “is really worthy of the name of a book”.
Engr Umahi believes in leaving legacies thus, has been committed to removing Ebonyi from the map of under-developed states and actualizing the dreams of the founding fathers. This explains why he wasted no time in taking the bull by the horn, setting up his Divine Mandate administration premised on the acronym “PIE” ie People, Infrastructure and Economy.
In realization that physical infrastructure is the bedrock of socio-economic development of any nation, Governor Umahi embarked on total transformation of Ebonyi State beginning with the state capital. To kick start major development processes, he took off with the works and transport sector with the vision to open up all parts of the state with durable and high quality concrete roads. This innovation which cynics and critics thought was unrealizable has been actualized with many roads wearing a facelift that will remain for more than five decades. The urban renewal program of the government has changed the face of all roads with over 500 kilometers of them reconstructed and new ones constructed. A look at the state of roads in Abakaliki city before 2015 in comparison to what is on ground now will convince any doubting Thomas that the Governor has performed creditably. Away from township roads, major roads in the state have received serious attention. The 23.8-kilometre Hilltop-Agbaja-Nwofe road, the 21-kilometre Amasiri-Amangwu Edda road and the 23-kilometre Amasiri-Okposi-Uburu road, the 20.4-kilometre Ugwuachi-Ebiaji-Onueke road, all built on 8inches concrete pavement to mention but a few.
Another daunting challenge surmounted by the government of Engr Umahi is the then bad state of the Abakaliki- Afikpo Express road which though a federal road like the ones aforementioned, left commuters to groan on daily basis. The bad state of the road left much to be desired making movement to parts of the state daunting but today the road has been reconstructed. The 25-kilometre Nkalagu-Umuhuali-NIGERCEM road which was abandoned for decades made the road impassable. Today, the story of the road is different as Engr David Nweze Umahi has also reconstructed the road to the chargrin of all. NIGERCEM road is now the toast of all.
The government of Engr Umahi also muted the idea of the construction of Flyover Bridges at some major junctions in the state to ease traffic, reduce road accidents and improve esthetics of the state. So far, four have been completed and beautified while another four are nearing completion. This is complemented by the introduction of constant street and ornamental lights which is better appreciated at night. A walk at night would attest to the veracity on the beauty of Abakaliki capital city. Moreso, the presence of street lights have drastically reduced crimes and insecurity in the state.
Another area Governor Umahi has performed exceedingly well is in the environmental sector. Ebonyi State that hitherto was known for dirts has become a cynosure in environmental cleanliness. Heaps of refuse generated by residents are routinely cleared at different dump sites.
This measure, however was as a result the division of Abakaliki into 14 districts manned by EAs, STAs and TAs. Another gaint achievement in the ministry of Environment is the birth of a waste recycling plant at Umuoghara. The project which has been completed would recycle wastes generated in the state and beyond into wealth, create employment and clear all biodegradable and non degradable wastes out of public glare. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between Ebonyi State government and the foreign firm with local content enshrined and expectedly, the project would soon start operation.
Away from Environment, the Ministry of Lands has executed a number of foundation projects. The Ebonyi shopping mall is another milestone. The project which is designed to be the largest in Africa has been completed and only under going finishing. The Ecumenical Centre is a project which fulfilled the campaign promise of the Governor; ” to build a befitting place of worship for God”. It is indeed a promise-kept as it is the best in the country, better than the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja. Other projects in this sector include the reconstruction of Old Government House, Old Government House Gate and the Police Headquarters, Abakaliki.
The innovative Governor has embarked another landmark project called the New Government House Project. Some of the important blocks have been completed to the Governor’s brand of taste(high standard). They include the Presidential lodge, Governor’s lodge, Governor’s office, Executive Council Chembers and Security blocks.
In the health sector, the Umah’d Divine Mandate Mantra has confronted the outbreak of Lassa fever. On assumption of office, Governor Umahi swiftly responded by constructing an ultra-moderm Virology Centre to handle the public health challenge posed by Lassa fever to the state. The centre is equiped to square up to the epidemic. The government also reconstructed and equiped the 13 General hospitals and upgraded some health centres across the state. Just recently, with scourge of Corona virus, Governor Umahi has built a Corona virus Treatment Centre second to none in the entire country. The Government also established school of Nursing and Midwifery, Uburu while work is at advanced stage at the permanent campus of Ebonyi State University College of Medical Sciences, Uburu.
Governor Umahi in area of human empowerment has given Grant to over 3,000 Ebonyians of two hundred and fifty thousand naira each. This is in addition to several loans and subsidies. Umahi has distributed over 500 tricycles to Ebonyians.
A robust achievement has also been recorded by this administration in sports secor. It started with the reconstruction of Abakaliki Township stadium today known as Pa Ngele Oruta Township stadium. The stadium has been modernized and brought to international standard to the surprise of many. It is today a beauty to behold. The government also went a step further to put up a five-star Guest house by the side of the stadium to provide the necessary accommodation for guests there. Work has also commenced on site for the birth of Ebonyi State International Stadium, Abakaliki.
In the area of Agriculture, the government has introduced several programmes and policies to encourage greater yields, ensure food security and zero oil dependency. Such programmes as one-man, one-hectre, Home-grown school feeding, the Anchor borrowers to mention and so on. To also enhance yields and revenue to the state, Governor Umahi revived and expanded the Ebonyi State Fertilizer and Chemical Company. This feat has made the fertilizer blending company the toast of farmers in the south East and thousands of metric tons of fertilizer are given to farmers annually at subsidized rates along with improved seedlings and other inputs.
In the area of Commerce, traders have a cause to smile as the Governor has ensured that regional markets across the state received the needed attention with modern stalls and lock-up shops. This is complemented with the provision of modern conveniece and water supply. The government also reconstructed the Margret Umahi International Market to emerge the best in the Country.
The Ebonyi State International Airport, Onueke is still ongoing. It is another initiative of the Ebonyi State Governor and work has reached advanced stage.
In view of the above numerous strides, one would be tempted to ask “how were these made possible for a government that recieves second to the lowest in radar of revenue allocation?. The answer to the above is leadership sagasity, prudent and efficient use of scarce resources on the side of the Governor, His Excellency Engr David Nweze Umahi. The government blocked wastages and ensured that looting of public treasury was stopped.
The blockage of the linkages was part of the deep commitment of the Umahi’s administration to fight corruption. Gilbert Seldes best described this when he opined “All great ideas are controversial or have been at one time”. This great idea of prudent management of Ebonyi resources is paying off.
On the whole, if nature truly admits no lie (which I know does not), then we must say without equivocation that a government that accomplished all these things and more that I didn’t mention because of space has performed and the people are happy with the government.
Ebonyi has risen thanks to Engr David Nweze Umahi.
Ebonyi Unity Forum.