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News Commentary: TOAST TO A POLITICAL COLOSSUS AT 58

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By Uhuo Ken Jegede

Baring any significant historical event that can stand out July 25 in our national calendar of events, it would have passed as an ordinary day in other climes but Ebonyi State, it’s a memorable date. Indeed, it’s for many in  the State, and beyond, who annually, look up to it with great expectations, it’s a day to celebrate one of their icons, mentor, role model, leader, and the mercurial Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi, *FNSE, FNATE*, whose natal day, it’s.
Governor Umahi, a great son of Uburu Adunshiegbe, an ancient salt Kingdom in Ohaozara LGA of the State, has over the years proved himself,  a colossus and wonderful gift to humanity, and whose political audacity has turned into a celebrity.
Born of a humble background and brought up under the noble parentage of  Elder Joseph and Deaconess Margaret Umuahi, both of blessed memories, the young lad  gradually rose to his potentials and stardom, as a leader to behold. At different levels of his development, Governor Umahi, showed signs of brilliance and greatness. From the Umunaga Community Primary School, Uburu, where he began his search for the golden fleece, to the famous Government College, Afikpo, where he had his Secondary education formation, he distinguished himself among his contemporaries, and left in his trails records of academic distinctions.
To prove that his records of intelligence  were not  coincidences, His Excellency, in the glorious years of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology ( ESUT) made great exploits in his studies and graduated in flying colours in Civil Engineering.
Post graduation from the University, His Excellency went for his National Youths Service in the present day Edo State, and served with a Company, known SAIPEM SPA, in Benin City. Even as a Youth Corps Engineer, Governor Umahi, was part of the Project Team that supervised the Escravos-Egbin Gas Pipeline Project, which stretched from Warri to Lagos, and headed it’s Cathodic Protection Engineering Unit. At the end of the Service year, His Excellency’s core values, both as a patriotic citizen and a Professional Engineer, earned him a National Youths Service Corps State Award for distinguished Services to the fatherland.
At the conclusion of his National Youths Service, Governor Umahi worked briefly for some Engineering Companies, and within a decade, he had worked so hard to become the CEO of some business Conglomerates that he established, prominent among which are the Brass Engineering and Construction Company, Nig. Ltd,  and Osborne La Palm Royal Resort Ltd.
As a person still in search of his destiny, the budding star joined active politics in 2006, and for the purpose of emphasis, it should be clearly stated that he joined politics with a dignifying clout of a big boy and an infectious and magnetic aura. Thus, from being the State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007, to a Deputy Governor in 2011, His Excellency, against many challenges,  became the third Executive Governor of Ebonyi State in 2015. The details of the epic and heroic battles to the seat, is a story for another day. What’s more important now, is the sense responsibility and accountability he deployed to the discharge of his duties as Governor.
It’s not a news, any more, that His Excellency became a Governor during a period of global economic meltdown, when Nigeria, on two occasions, went into recession. What is rather a news, is how Governor Umahi, through strategic management of financial and material resources,  creative, imaginative, and innovative  leadership, transformed the young State and people, from the status of a Cinderella, to an enviable position of a model state, that’s one of the most discussed today in Nigeria, in terms of rapid socioeconomic growth and development.
He, indeed, has a midas touch, that turns whatever he touches into a golden object. Without necessarily itemising his amazing accomplishments in office, suffice it to say that his administration has positively turned around the socioeconomic fortunes of the state, to the extent that basic social amenities are no longer exclusive luxuries of the rich. On the other hand, the people now have confidence in themselves, and have removed the toga of inferiority complex, due to the phenomenal transformation of the State’s infrastructure and superstructural portfolio .
Similarly, Governor Umahi’s magic hands have revolutionized the State’s investment potentials, that in the next few years, Ebonyi State shall not only be an investment destination, but surely become Nigeria’s version of the “Silicon Valley”.
By the passion he employs to serve God and humanity, Governor Umahi is more of statesman than a typical Nigerian politician, who thinks of the next election instead of the next generation. His legacy projects such as the King David College of Medical Sciences, the Ebonyi International Airport, the Shopping Mall, the Ecumenical Center, the Ebonyi International Market, the infrastructural revolution, as well as his numerous empowerment programs, clearly justifies this assertion.
Yet, His Excellency, is one of Nigeria’s finest politicians, visionary, caculative and  unassuming. The field of politics, is perhaps, where he has shown his greatest potentials and capacities as a leader. His ingenuity in the management of scarce financial and human resources to achieve high development targets are legendary. In politics, he is a fine gentleman with irresistible charisms. His political opponents acknowledge his developmental strides but only oppose him because they cannot maintain his political pace or withstand his courage, or deftness in navigating, safely, the murky waters of politics without stains.
Today, as this great man twinkles into a new age, there are, indeed, good causes for celebrations and thanksgivings to God, for his impactful life at 58.
His life has not only transformed Ebonyi State, and changed the narratives about her people, but turned around the fortunes of many families and Communities. Little  wonder he holds the title, Akubaruoha… wealth that benefits the public.
The character,  competences and capacities, that define his personality and philosophy, show that in  no long time, Ebonyi State, which used to be the source of diligent and honest house helps, shall turn out to be the source of the leader, who God will reinvent and reposition Nigeria, to be a true giant of Africa.
Happy birthday Your Excellency. I join your family, the Government and the good people of Ebonyi State, your friends and associates, to pray God to remain gracious in your life and family, and continue to strengthen you with excellent health of mind and body for greater services to Him and Humanity, Amen.
At 58 the only birthday gift well meaning Nigerians expect from you is to accept the clarion call, to offer yourself for election into the Office of President of Nigeria, come 2023.
Congratulations and happy birthday celebrations, and many happy returns in good health and happiness.

Uhuo Ken Jegede.
Perm Secretary.

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