Just Before We Forget Where We Are Coming From ( A 2016 Article ).
By Ojukwu Innocent Ene
Man’s propensity to live in denial is humanity’s greatest undoing.
Man, for reasons that border on expediency, vain glory and or self-conceit often embrace living in denial, a phenomenon referred to in psychiatry as defense mechanism, thus their resort to inverse performance rating, rationalization, half truths, misinformation and outright-lies. A classical example can be found in the bible book of John 9:1-41, where the Jews in their bid to deny the divinity of Christ tried to blow beat the blind man who received his sight into denying the reality of his miracle. But the man defiantly maintained, “One thing I know is this: I was blind, and now I can see”.
This also is the confession of residents of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, who are beneficiaries of the Governor David Nweze Umahi’s uncommon transformation. I can hear those in the mechanic village, Rice mill to Onuebonyi , saying “ our business was comatose and near dead due to the abandonment of our road, but today it has been revived through the Dave Umahi transformational touch. I can hear the praise of members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, past and present, and other residents of Nkaliki road whose vehicles were subjected to avoidable wears and tears due to the criminal neglect of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly road, not minding that it leads to the office complex of the second most important arm of Government.
I can hear members of the St. John’s Catholic church and their clergy constantly asking for special novena for the administration of Engr. David Nweze Umahi for ending the misery that is Udemezue road within five months of being sworn-in. The same thing is happening in other churches as roads leading to their places of worship were constructed as first line charge by the Governor Umahi administration. Such churches includes; Living faith church (Winners Chapel), Dominion city, Assemblies of God church, Christ Embassy, St Mulumba Catholic Church, Anglican etc.
I can equally hear the daily eulogy that issues from the Hossana Park from commuters and passengers alike, in praise of Governor Umahi for resuscitating their businesses and making them travel in comfort by asphalting their motor park. Indeed, the story is the same all through Abakaliki. The Abakaliki that Governor Umahi inherited was derelict with the whole place wearing an air of dilapidation and an overall visage that was slipshod with illegal and unauthorized structures, blocked and unexistent drainages, predisposing the town to flooding, unmaintained roads, and heaps of refuse everywhere you looked. The absence of street lights completed the picture of a drab and cheerless place. But all of these have changed in just 365 days of Governor Umahi’s administration.
Even the most obdurate enemies of Governor Umahi cannot in sincerity claim that he has not transformed Abakaliki in 365days, hence their use of adjectives like “cosmetics” “reconstruction” and other laughable accusations in their fruitless bid to water down what the great and mighty refer to as uncommon transformation.
I understand the sense of frustration of these fringe opposition members- where they predicted failure, they are faced with superlative performance. Where they expected crises, they see inviolable peace and unity. Where they prayed for inactivity due to prevailing economic downturn, they are confronted with uncommon creativity in leadership. I sympathize with them for feeling intimidated by the grandness of the transformation that percolates Ebonyi State, but I have no apology, as the promise of Governor Umahi to make Ebonyi State a modern and model state is a solemn and sacred pledge which he is leaving no stone unturned to achieve.
It is not surprising therefore that in the face of such superlative performance starring them in their face within so short a time that they should resort to contrived and unfounded allegation to discredit the administration but they have fallen flat on their face. Like a phoenix Ebonyi State is fast resurrecting from the ashes of the gross neglect and anomie that it experienced for almost two decades.
The worst thing any man can do to himself is to play politics with reality. It is an accepted axiom world over that you do not need the services of a mirror to see what you are holding in your hands.
Indeed, one does not need the aid of a mirror to see that bush paths have given way to asphalted roads nor does one need the services of a fortune teller to know that the entrance to his residence which is usually water logged is now paved and that the puddles are no more as there are now drainages everywhere to collect the water. We should be bold and courageous to give Umahi his due. This past 365 days have seen him busily attending to items that were supposed to have been handled long ago. The roads that are mint today, are some of the roads that have not been touched since creation and other’s which were allowed to go to ruin due to lack of maintenance.
Opposition politics should not be reduced to lying or living in denial. The opposition should be able to applaud a leader where he has done well but go ahead to say how they would have done it, which they consider better. One of the beauty of democracy is freedom of speech. But we must be circumspect in our exercise of the freedom of speech and criticism not to fall fowl of defamation of character. It rankles when people hide under the doctrine of freedom of expression and or criticism to abuse their leaders.
Street lights are not meant to serve ornamental purposes, which would have been the position if the Umahi administration were to depend on the highly epileptic and unreliable EEDC, hence the decision to use generators. It bears recall that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Ex-Governor of Delta state used the aid of generators to power Delta State street lights. As to its functionality, I leave the owners of businesses and not arm chair critics to answer that. But the truth remains that the advent of street lights in almost all the streets in Abakaliki have not only improved security but impacted positively on businesses and night life.
I equally make bold to assert that Governor Umahi is an accountability paragon. He still remains the only Chief Executive in the history of this country that personally invited the anti-corruption agents of the government to take a look at the activities of his administration. Fear of shady deals not only in powering the street lights but in other businesses of the state is misplaced and unfounded.