It is widely said and generally agreed that people cannot argue about who is stronger or better in the art of wrestling where there’s ground to prove. This can be applied in assessing to determine who is leading in a race that many are involved, competitors are clearly seen by spectators (the people) and a time keeper (the press) at alert.
That exactly describes the situation of development at the states, regional and federal levels in today’s Nigeria. While some elected leaders achieved nothing with the mandates or opportunities given to them by the electorate until they left, some others are today sitting, doing nothing that their people can benefit from and watching while their states’ economy, infrastructure and other public sectors, detertoriate and decay. These ones fall into the 2015 class of Governors who are not paying salaries and pensions, they are not fixing any public infrastructures that had gone bad, they refer to some roads, so important to trade, commerce and the economy of their states, “federal roads” to justify not fixing them while their people suffer. It is the case across the country.
Over the years, this country has withnessed the highest level of under development and major decay of a lot infrastructure and standards beqeated unto us by both the colonial masters and former regional leaders, who came immediately after our independence in 1960.
As it stands today, by any yardstick, indice, data or standard applied or used in determining development declassification, Nigeria, generally, is no longer classified or counted among the “developing countries” of the world by all global authorities, in that regard.
Whether in the literary term or by elementary definition, develoment means getting better, improvement or to advance in current status in a positive form. Nigeria can not be said, by any of those standards, to be developing. It is both evil and unpatronic for anyone, living in or visiting this country, to make any contrary claim or want Nigeria to be referred to as developing.
The sustained situation of under development is a Nigerian pandemic. Period.
How can any Nigerian, whether in a position of power or not, from the south or northern part of this country, living in Nigeria or abroad, claim or wish that Nigeria is progressing instead of retrogressing? That will be lying to one’s self and encouraging evil.
On what facts will such an assesment or claim be based? Nigeria had better roads, including inter-state highways in the ’60s ’70s and the early to the later part of the ’80s. We had public running pipe born water with treatment plants across this country, there was constant public power supply, there were only public schools, good enough to produce our leaders & other great professionals. There was in place, good health care delivery system that did not require people to go abroad for better medical attention, we had strong economy & currency that competed with other major currencies of the world. We had in our major cities, across this country, the presence of foreign companies/investors who we did’nt have to go, shamelessly, begging to come and invest here. When we really had a country.
One can go on and on, down memory lane with so much nostalgic feelings, but that was a different time in our history when corruption, stealing of public funds, heigthened insecurity, ethnic cleansing, kidnapping, robbery, reckless and high handed leadership, were not parts of what we had.
The only way we can help this country get out of its current quagmire or hopeless situation today, is by the people to first tell themselves and accept the truth that we Nigerians, are responsible for the problem.
We must learn to recognise, uphold and cellebrate excellenge as an incentive and to encourage more people in positions of power, to be accountable and do more for the people who elected them.
We must all agree to remove those obstacles which are placed on the way of the bests we have in this country, who had proven themselves in their various fields of endevour with both the capacity and capability, get to power at the centre and help to turn the country around for the better.
Most other countries across Africa who had their own independence about the same time we had or later and had their own turbulent times, discovered and adopted the practice to elect good leaders who moved them forward, but we are here as the “giants of Africa’, lost everthing as a country.
We must agree that as a people who have seen the best and worst of this country, who have no other country we can call our own, who desire a better developed country, where every sector of the economy will be working for everyone and for our future generations, to look inwards critically, take stock and decide to overcome those things that have always divided us to allow real sustainable change.
The only way to achieve peace and overcome hatred, biggotory, religious and ethnic tendencies, which have cost us our developiing status in global rankings, leaving us a devastated country, is by being fair in- recognising and respecting the rights of every citizen, irrespecting of their state, tribe or religion. We must give people who have distinguished themselves in positions of authority & can move Nigeria forward, the opportunity to do so.
Merit over mediocrity is it.
In Nigeria today, we are withnessing development in Ebonyi state at a level or rate, never seen in our history, since independence. Governor Dave Umahi who has completely changed the narrative in leadership, is offering, selfless servive to the people by developing every part of the state.
The video clips attached to this story are in reality, the Ebonyi state of today. The state capital is like no other city in Nigeria, in terms of infrastructure development and beauty. All the public services like water, power, quality education, effective healthcare delivery, security etc, most of which have become history in many other states of this country, are working in Ebonyi state. Agriculture is not left out as the state has surpassed the UN food security standard.
Gov Umahi, has truely brocken all available records of develoment. His new form of concrete and asphaltic paved roads network, running into thousands of kilometres, bridges, flyovers across the entire state, landmark (first of its kind) buildings and awe stricking monuments— shopping malls, multi purpose ecumenical/conference centre, new gorvernment house with a Presidential lodge, the largest and most mordern market in this country or even Africa almost completed in Ebonyi state capital, Abakaliki etc. For all these to be achieved in a record time of 5 years, is most amazing. Infact, the Governor has exceeded all expectations and is still working.
One cannot forget to mention here and give Nigerians the needed hope, that among numerous projects in Ebonyi, the largest and most mordern referall/specialist hospital, the first of it’s kind anywhere in Africa, is nearing completion in Ebonyi state. When completed and commissioned for use, medical tourism will be history in this country. Also
an internatiional cargo airport and a new mordern stadium are both coming up.
One can go on and on listing what has been achieved or work in progress in the poor Ebonyi state, of all places, but the question asked by most cynics of “how can this be possible in Nigeria” or by overwhelmned, shocked, but informed Nigerians of ” so this is possible and where does he get the money” are all valid. The answer to these qiestions by the history making Gov Umahi, can be found in his having a defined mission, vission, thorough planning, financial prudency or very effective management of available resources, selflessness in service to humanity, being personaly involved in prpoects’ execution, fighting wastes/corruption in the system and above all, the fear of God.
Ebonyi is everything that Nigeria is not, but needs to be, in terms of develoment, self sufficiency, food security and provision of the civic nececities that make life meaninful and worth living.
Givng the people the opportunity to be all they can be. Creating an enabling environment for private sector businesses to thrive, are keys to prosperity or near ideal state in Ebonyi.
The last time we checked, Ebonyi is 33rd on the list and order of receipts from the federal monthly allocation. Its IGR is nothing to talk about. It does not have oil deposits so does’nt benefit from the 13% derivation fund.
But Ebonyi pays salaries and pensions when they are due. The state is leading in al development indices in the country. Public servants are paid their basic salaries as bonus or 13 month each December etc.
Only Lagos and Abuja have more flyovers than Ebonyi does, but unlike these two cities whose development spanned over so many years to build, all the ones in Ebonyi were built in the last 5 years of Governor Umahi in the saddle.
We leave skeptics, enemies of progress, the drisgruntled few who are angry that the Gov does not have money to share, people in the unjustified opposition to weigh their conscience.
Nigerians who for long, been so worried by the situation of everthing in this country, wonder what can salvage it, those who believe that, with the right tools in place, it can be better. History has it that, most times, good leaders don’t willingly come to power, but they are identified, recognised and brought by the people.
May God do for Nigeria what He has done and is doing for the people and residents of Ebonyi state, under the watchful eyes of their talented, selfless Governor Dave Nweze Umahi.
Elder Dan Ikenna.
On behalf of IMPACT,
a SE Voters’ Right Advocacy Group