Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Ebonyi state Commissioner for Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Chief Oluchukwu Ukie Ezeali, has said that the state governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, will bring his experience to bear in the development of different parts of the country if elected president, “following his record of infrastructural development, uniting dissenting voices in Ebonyi state”.
In an interview with Blueprint, Ezeali said that, since assumption of office, Umahi has been able to bring out the best in the state civil service by ensuring that workers earn their salaries, as against civil servants idling in offices, adding that his record of uniting disagreeing parties will go a long way in curbing insecurity in Nigeria.
He said: “All over the world, politicians engage in fierce contest to occupy leadership and representative positions; driven by two motives: to get rich from the public coffers and/or to contribute to societal development and improve the well-being of the people. Today, as we approach yet another national election in 2023, Nigerians are once again faced with the challenge of choosing right.
“Some of the biggest problems faced by Nigerians today, just like it was in the run up to the 2019 elections, are: economic decline, poverty, insecurity and corruption. These are the same problems most governors grapple with at the state level and in most cases get overwhelmed and become complicit. But one man has proved to be exceptional: that man is Engr David Umahi– the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State.
“Umahi has insisted that all payments in Ebonyi State must be earned and not frittered away for political patronage. This has earned him the admiration of well-meaning Nigerians. Umahi’s prudence in handling Government resources is absolutely responsible for the unbelievable feat he has achieved in transforming Ebonyi State from a relative unknown destination and obscure landscape into a destination of choice and an epitome of rapid development.
“The Ebonyi Civil Service is the most productive public service in Nigeria today as the usual sitting around and waiting for salaries has been completely eradicated. This is what Nigeria needs now; a productive workforce. Umahi turned the almost comatose state civil service into a beehive of activities with; work ethics and professionalism completely restored in the ministries and parastatals.
“The Ministry of Works and other MDAs that used to watch while external contractors fleece the state and render shoddy jobs have been productively engaged in the reconstruction of the state. The Dave Umahi Direct Labour approach has not only optimized the human resources in that ministry but has also improved the skills and competence of the entire work force. The Ministry of Agriculture that was reduced to fertilizer racketeering is now showing proof of large-scale food production through their direct engagement by the Umahi’s own a farm and subsidy initiative. Today, most Ebonyi Civil servants are proud owners and supporters of successful agro allied businesses increasing the food sufficiency of the State.”
He added: “A visit to the Rice Mills and food markets across the State will bring you to a new level of awareness. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry was not spared as the modern economy created by the Umahi Administration has not only increased their hands on engagement in Governance affairs, but has also exposed the workforce to contemporary knowledge and skills. The modern markets and industrial hubs across the state have created economic and commercial hubs making it easy to measure and regulate. These are exactly the kind of interventions that Nigeria needs at the national level.
“While the state was still an unknown destination, Engr David Umahi invested enormously in the local economy, knowing that his confidence will have a multiplier effect on the entire investment community, home and abroad. Umahi was one of the first indigenous investors to build world class hospitality facilities in Abakaliki. His engineering and construction company also expanded to Abakaliki with the complements of gas stations. He is also one of the foremost investors in the Ebonyi state real estate business paving the way for others to open up that sector. While most would rather invest abroad and in safe havens, Umahi risked it all with Ebonyi State and that is exactly the kind of President Nigeria needs at a time such as this; to curtail the capital flight and reinvest in the local economy.
“While Umahi is no saint, it is clear to see his disposition towards corruption and corrupt practices. Ebonyi State has signed and runs the Open Government policy, where all expenses and revenue are in the public domain. This practice is felt across all levels of government in the state. That Umahi has been able to achieve so much with so little is proof of his prudence and honesty. The question on the lips of everyone that has visited Ebonyi State in the past few years has been: “How is Umahi able to achieve these amazing results?”
“It is what it is: the man is an excellent manager of human and material resources. Nigeria, at this time in our history, begs for such a leader. One that understands that resources are limited and needs are limitless. To continue to prioritize and allocate scarce resources is what economists boast of, but this civil engineer has made even Adam Smith green with envy.
“Today, Nigeria is plagued with mutual distrust across ethnic lines and religious divides but Umahi has been a symbol of unity. Ebonyi State is home to all nationalities living and coexisting peacefully. The speed with which the Governor intervenes and settles all disputes and restores peace among conflict groups is proof of his patriotism and nationalism. Umahi is the most detribalized politician in Nigeria today. While most question his ethnic consciousness, his preference for a united and progressive Nigeria is not in doubt.
“Recently, economic indices have shown a steady growth in the economy of Ebonyi State, with the increased IGR and recently released VAT figures. It is a result of the deliberate planning and execution of deft economic policies of the Engr Dave Umahi Administration that Ebonyi is today the fastest growing local economy in Nigeria. This success is worthy of replication at the national scale and the man for the job is none other than Engr. Dave Umahi.”
Continuing, he said: “While more Nigerians are fleeing the shores of the country, more Ebonyians are returning home. The urban migration that used to be the bane of the once dusty state has been curbed to almost zero by the creation of alternatives and means of livelihood for the teeming young population. The employment rate in Ebonyi State is one of the best in the South of Nigeria.
“In a country where 70% of the population is below the age of 35 years, a 58-year-old Umahi is more connected to the youth population than the octogenarians that litter the political space. He has also proved this with his Administrative workforce, where the average age of appointees is between 38 and 45 years. He has also shown that he is such a gender friendly leader with the number of women appointees in the state. Nigeria and Nigerians could not have asked for more.
“Even now, Ebonyi State today stands shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the South East States as an education destination with high performing secondary and tertiary institutions. The newly accredited David Umahi School of Medical Sciences is a conglomerate of the best educational and medical facilities in one institution. Sectors that have been neglected to the point of unrecognition now stand to benefit from the visionary leadership that Umahi has delivered to Ebonyi State and its people.
“Today, Nigeria and Nigerians are in search of a leader that epitomizes unity, progress, security and peace, look no further than Engr David Nweze Umahi.”