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COMMENTARY: CELEBRATING THE UNPRCEDENTED ACHIEVEMENTS OF INFRASTRUCTUAL AND CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT MASTER, HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR DAVID UMAHI FNSE, FNATE. @58.

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Written by Ebere Ania Adaolaedo

The 25th day of July every year remains a special and significant day in the annals of our history.

It is the day our great leader and dear Governor, Apostle Engr. David Nweze Umahi, FNSE,FNATE, made a triumphant entry into the world. On this day, 56 years ago, a rare breed was welcomed into the family of Elder (Chief) Joseph Umahi Nweze and St. Magret Umahi of Umunaga, Uburu autonomous community in Uburu Kingdom, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The man, David Umahi, was not born with a silver spoon; but due to his belief that life is a journey and only men of purpose arrive, he was able to overcome hard times to achieve greatness through dint of hard work. Right from childhood, he proved to be a wonder child who is not only specially gifted but God’s annointed.

These features were never hidden in him, both in his academic and social life. His primary to university education were all success stories; just as he blazed trail as a private business man before joining politics.

However, no need dwelling much on His Excellency’s early life since his present life is a complete and true reflection of his past. He is a firebrand with a unique charismatic character that has stood him out from the crowd, right from infanthood.

His entry into politics has further exploded his potentials and has brought about positive era in our political history. As a former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), His Excellency instilled the spirit of discipline, transparency and accountability into party politics in the state. As an erstwhile Deputy governor, he showcased his ability in governance, which brought about the calls for him to take a shot in the Governorship seat of the State. The calls materialized as he contested and overwhelmingly won the 2015 Governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

As an incumbent Governor, he has shown that leadership means sacrifice of time, resources, energy and everything given to one by God for the services of his people. These, he has demonstrated by religiously fulfilling all his campaign promises to the people and even surpassed it, despite our economic adversity plaguing the young State.

His Excellency’s reign as Governor of Ebonyi State without mincing words, has positively changed the narratives in all ramifications. The State has witnessed tremendous and unprecedented transformation under him. The legacy projects he dotted and still dotting across the length and breadth of the entire State have engraved his name in the minds of the people.These projects have greatly given the State a facelift and improved the wellbeing and economic rating of the people, hitherto regarded as backward.

The 9 flyover bridges, five of which have been fully completed, embarked upon by His Excellency to decongest traffic and reduce loss of lives of Ebonyians through inscesant road crashes formerly witnessed in those spots is a signature project that will stand the test of time and posterity. He also constructed a glass tunnel, one of the best in Africa and named it after president Muhammadu Buhari.This is even as more flyovers are springing up at different locations courtesy of His Excellency.

The aggressiveness with which His Excellency’s administration has constructed the internal roads in Abakaliki capital city and subcities across the 13 council areas, as well as federal roads remains unprecedented. He has also secured loan from the African Development Bank (ADB) for the reconstruction of ring road that cuts accross 8 Local Government Areas of the State. Even before the approval of the loan,His Excellency had commenced work on the ring road knowing its importance to the people. His Excellency is also dualizing the Afikpo/Abakaliki road, Amasiri/Afikpo road, Uburu/Ivo road and Enugu/Abakaliki road. The fact is that His Excellency’s commitment to road construction has erased the “dust of the nation” nickname which Ebonyi State was formerly known with.

The level of beautification that His Excellency’s administration has given to the capital city in the last four years underscores his promise to make Abakaliki one of the best capital cities in the country. Also, the installation of street light in the entire capital city and sub cities across the 13 council areas has not only enhanced night life and businesses but also reduced the rate of crimes. His Excellency also ardorned the capital city with beautiful water fountains that has added to the beautification.

As God’s Apostle, His Excellency’s promise to prosper Ebonyi State through the words of God by building a befitting edifice to serve as a place of worship whereby any Ebonyian who face its direction and prays to God, his or her burden would be lifted has been fulfilled. He has completed the 5000 capacity ecumenical centre with the best state of art facilities and is now put to use.

His numerous and immeasurable supports for churches and God’s work within and outside Ebonyi State as well as the school evangelism programme introduced to redirect Ebonyi children to embrace Christ can simply be described as divine.

On security, His Excellency the Governor has also done unprecendentally well. The establishment of the State Vigilance group known as Neighborhood Watch which is currently being rejigged for a better service has assisted in ensuring a watertight security of lives and property of residents of the State.

Our hardworking Governor is one of the few Governors who have religiously assisted and supported the security agencies to perform optimally, not minding that it is the sole responsibility of federal government to do so. He ensures that the smooth and optimal operations of all security agencies in the State are not hindered in anyway. He also accommodated the wives of the security agents in the state’s empowerment programmes, just as he embarked on rehabilitation of infrastructures in their various Commands.

His Excellency’s ingenuity and disposition to peace and conflict resolution has gone a long way to ending a lot of age-long disputes, communal and boundary conflicts that hitherto bedeviled the State before he took over as Governor. Ebonyi people sre now united and at peace more than ever courtesy of our God’s sent Governor.

The administration of our dear Governor has equally embarked on several mouth watering empowerment programmes worth billions of naira that have positively touched directly on the lives of both Ebonyians and non Ebonyians in a manner that has never been done by any administration in Nigeria.

These empowerment programmes which include cash grants, scholarships, distribution of tricycles and cars cover unemployed graduates and non graduate youths, men, women, widows and indigent Ebonyians including those who before the empowerment were hawkers in major cities in the country. What makes His Excellency’s empowerment programmes usually unique and divine are not unconnected to its transparency. And there are no discrimination in choosing the beneficiaries.

The number of appointments His Excellency has made into his administration both in first and second tenure have never been witnessed in the history of Ebonyi State, and by extension, Nigeria; with youths forming the major beneficiaries. According to him, these appointments is a source of social security, empowerment as well as bringing young men and women to learn the act of governance.

His Excellency has drastically reduced the high mortality rate of Ebonyians who hitherto died due to lack of available functional health facilities. We can’t forget in a hurry how he fought the dreaded Lassa fever disease to a stand still through the construction of a Virology Center, which is currently the only centre that tests for the disease in the Southeast region.

His Excellency’s efforts in the health sector came to a limelight following the outbreak of COVID-19. This is because, even before the Coronavirus pandemic, His Excellency had adequately equipped the State’s health sector. As a man who saw tomorrow, the virology centre he built and equipped has become a saving Grace in this period of COVID-19 pandemic, as the centre is now one of the sixth COVID-19 testing Centres in Nigeria. He has also built best COVID-19 isolation centres in the country. Simply put that the zeal and strategies deployed in the containment of COVID-19 by His Excellency in Ebonyi State so far puts him ahead of other States Governors in the fight against the disease.

His Excellency has also ensured that our general hospitals and primary health centres are overhauled to attend to health needs of the people. He is also giving free medical care and hospital amnesty costing his administration millions to indigent Ebonyians through the Welfare and Religion office headed by Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali.

Other health interventions of His Excellency’s administration include:-the ongoing construction of a State’s
owned teaching hospital as well as Nursing and Midwifery School at Uburu LGA and establishment of Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the first time this is happening in the history of our state.

Her Excellency, wife of the Governor, Chief Mrs Rachel Ogonna Umahi, is also making immense contribution in the reduction of mother and child death in the State. Thanks goes to her also for her efforts in the fight against female genital mutilation which was a common practice in the State.

His Excellency’s agricultural policies and programmes have no doubt put Ebonyi on the path of food sufficiency. The “one man, one hectare” agricultural policy launched by the Governor in his first tenure raised the consciousness of the people towards Agriculture and has helped to revolutionize agriculture in the state. Abakaliki rice has become an international brand through His Excellency’s luadable policies and agricultural ingenuity.

His Excellency’s administration has frequently encouraged and assisted the people to venture into farming through provision of grants, agricultural inputs, high breed grains, mechanized farming equipment and soft loans among other sundry assistance.

Alot has also been achieved in education. For instance, he has ensured that all Universal Basic Education funds meant for Ebonyi State are accessed as at when due; and this, has complemented the huge fund his administration is injecting in the sector. The administration has rehabilitated hundred of primary and secondary schools; just as he has continued to give subventions to the State’s owned tertiary institutions. His Excellency has also founded David Academy where gifted children are being given special training to harness their potentials. Our amiable Governor has also established vocational school where entrepreneurship skills of our people are also being harnessed.

Our dear Governor has also rebranded Ebonyi State by lifting the image of Ebonyi people. His administration has drawn the State into the main stream of Nigeria politics because of his level of brilliance and sagacity in governance. The qaulity of infrastructures he has put on ground have also made Ebonyi a reference point and destination for all. His election as Chairman South East Governors’ Forum and Co-chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum, stemmed from his charismatic leadership that always stands him out of the crowd. Since he assumed the chairmanship of the forum, he has made the difference that has put the South-East region on the path of growth, unity and development.

His desire to make Ebonyi the business hub of South East nay Nigeria is coming to fruition having built world class shopping mall, international market, industrial clusters, and pulverization plants, as well as the ongoing International Airport and Stadium, among other business driven projects.

As the saying goes, behind every successful man there is good a woman. Her Excellency’s complementary role has been immense. She has used her pet project, Succor and Upliftment Foundation” in reaching out to widows and less privileged persons across the State and so many lives have been touched through it.

Her unrelenting fight against female genital mutilation and other unwholesome practices against women and girl child has been yielding huge results as Ebonyi no longer rank first in the ugly act. The state through Her Excellency’s efforts now has a law prohibiting all barbaric practices known as Voilence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law. She has also protected women interest in political appointment which is why the women now enjoy more than 35% affirmative action in Ebonyi state. As the deputy Chairman of Governors’ Wives Forum, she has projected the image of Ebonyi people, especially the women in no small measure. In fact, the entire members of the first family have been of tremendous support to His Excellency in ensuring that his dreams of making Ebonyi State the envy of all is fully realized.

There is no gain saying the fact that the victory of His Excellency for a second term in office in the last Governorship election was not surprising, because, he worked for it and his reelection undoubtedly, opened a new vista in the socio-economic and infrastructure revolution in the state. The first one year into his second attests to these facts, and a visit to the Governor’s Office, Lodge and Presidential Lodge located at Ochoudo City alone will convince you.

With the landmark achievements of our amiable Governor so far, Analysts and Observers are of the view that by the end of his eight years in office, he would have left legacies that no other Governor in the future would be able to surpass.

His Excellency’s birthday reminds us of Robert Bryne who once said that “the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose”. Indeed, our workaholic Governor lives a life of purpose and Ebonyians are the direct beneficiaries.

As His Excellency, the Akubaroha 1 of Africa marks his 56 birthday, the entire people of Ebonyi State join her amiable and supportive wife, Her Excellency, Chief Mrs Rachel Ogonna Umahi, her children, the entire first family, and the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe and his family, as well as the State Executive Council, in wishing him a happy birthday.

Our ernest prayers is for the Almighty God to continually give His Excellency good health and swift recovery from the COVID-19 disease, give him more strength and wisdom with which to keep-up the good work in our dear state.

Happy birthday the David of our time. Happy birthday Professor of Infrastructure. Happy birthday the benefactor of widows, youths and the less privileged. Happy birthday our great achiever.

Written by Ebere Ania Adaolaedo

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