By Nwaze Francis
No gain saying that Ebonyi state is now what the Igbo idiom described as “achia aja”, which translates to a rejected stone that has become the chief corner stone. Ebonyi of today has transformed beyond what was ever expected with the speed which is faster than that of Usain Bolt.
The coming of this experienced, exposed and widely travelled governor, Engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE as the governor of Ebonyi state in the year 2015 was with mixed feelings. Many thought he is too intelligent and smart that would make him sale off Ebonyi before JACK is completely pronounce, others has it that he will apply the divide and rule principle on Ebonyians while another set of people are of the opinion that Ebonyi is too meager for him. However, another quantum percentage of the people believe that he is going to be the messiah Ebonyians has been waiting for.
Like a joke, he came in with divine mandate team and principles. I could remember that several days of fasting and prayers were organized in the state in preparation of his resumption of office as against the previous administration that banned Christian activities in the state even to the extent of banning all Christian jingles in the state owned radio station.
When he finally resumed office as the Governor, the many negative thoughts of Ebonyians was visited by the opposite. Massive transformations began, new technology in construction started springing up in Ebonyi. 8 inches concrete roads started springing up on daily basis. Parks, markets, streets started wearing new look. Pedestrian crossing, flyovers, street lights, water fountains started coming like a wild fire. Ebonyi was transformed from dust of the nation to one of the fastest growing cities in Nigeria.
Like that was not enough, Youth empowerment of different types followed. Widows empowered joined the queue. Elders care and aged celebration followed immediately.
Ebonyi became the talk of the country. People started journeying to Ebonyi to confirm the authenticity of what they are being told. As that was ongoing, more projects were birthed. The Ebonyi shopping mall, the Muhammadu Buhari tunnel, the conversion of the former matchbox market into St. Margaret International Market and the new government house immediately followed.
On that, the industrialization of Ebonyi became another call of duty. He immediately started the building of 3 industrial clusters across the three senatorial zones in the state. The revival of the comatose Nigercem was not left out as he promised Ebonyians of more 2 Cement factories which Ebonyi State House of Assembly just approved the establishment of Ebonyi Cement manufacturing plant. As he is not deterred, he commenced his moves to build an international Airport into Ebonyi State which has also been approved by the state House of Assembly.
As people were talking about the new face of Ebonyi, the governor was always seen making more promises that may look impossible to fulfill but surprisingly, none of his promises are ever left unfulfilled even as we speak. No uncompleted project is attached to his name.
Let me not waste much time by going into the so many other numerous projects like the water reservoirs, the Abakaliki water reticulation, the building of green power plants, the gifting of all traditional rulers in Ebonyi state with a brand new jeeps, the empowerment of over 1000 youths with tricycles, the empowerment of several youths with Sienna Buses, the empowerment of civil servants with minimum of 500,000 Naira, the prompt payment of Ebonyi workers, the building of Ebonyi State School of Nursing and Midwifery, the building and installation of waste to wealth recycling plant at Umuoghara just to mention but a few I can remember now.
In summary, Nigerians are shocked that the state which receives about the least federal allocation in the country is the one that has risen to the top 5 most beautiful states in the country according to google and gradually becoming one of the industrial hubs in Nigeria. Ebonyians are shocked to know that Ebonyi can be this great in just a period of 4 years of governor Umahi on the wheel. People are wondering what governors with much higher allocation does with the money they get without any tangible project they can be proud of.
People are beginning to ask questions as to what the past administrations did with Ebonyi money that stagnated the state till the coming of Gov. David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE.
Indeed, if this much can be done within four years in Ebonyi with almost the least allocation in the country, then, it clear that 85% of governors are simply defrauding their states as the governor without doing the core job. Umahi deserves to serve Nigeria.
Nwaze Francis writes from Uburu.