- By Jacob Onjewu
…Demand Umahi’s stewardship in state
The Association of Ebonyi Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) said it received with mixed feelings the news that Ebonyi state Governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, declared his intention to contest for presidency, saying the governor should give stewardship of his seven years in the state.
While totally rejecting Umahi’s presidential ambition, the Ebonyi indigenes said Nigeria won’t survive a week under the “dictatorship style of governor Umahi” as president.
Governor Umahi had on Tuesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and thereafter announced his intention to succeed the president.
But reacting to the development through a statement signed Thursday and made available to newsmen in Abuja, AESID’s president Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, who acknowledged Umahi’s constitutional right to contest, said the governor has failed “to secure our tiny Ebonyi State with the consistent and reported attacks and communal clashes recorded under his administration, some of which are allegedly fuelled even by his political appointees.
“As we speak, thousands who were displaced by communal war in Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state are yet to return to their ancestral homes, needless to speak of receiving any succour whatsoever from the Umahi administration.
“The thousands of victims who were also displaced in three communities in Ezza north LGA where he is lavishing public funds in building an International Cargo Airport remain displaced as they are yet to be duly compensated by the Umahi administration. Hunger and poverty has been weaponized by his government such that all might come to beg for crumbs on his table.
“Any wonder Ebonyi is now officially rated the poverty capital of the entire Southern Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics.”
While rejecting Umahi’s presidential ambition, the group said: “With the way and manner he has handled the State’s House of Assembly which is ordinarily a separate arm of government, are we not certain that a National Assembly under an Umahi Presidency would be worse than the current rubber-stamp legislative arm that we have in Nigeria?
“Will Nigeria truly survive just a one-week reign of a Dictator like Umahi?
“AESID would wish to ask; which impact and mark has Governor Umahi made in Ebonyi’s critical sectors such as, Education- given we are classified as Educationally-Less-Developed, Health- given our poor maternal mortality rate and Agriculture-given our rich potentials in this sector? What about the State’s Civil service he has left in its shadows, including Lecturers in our State-owned tertiary institutions whose salaries he has withheld and pays any pittance he feels like? Is it the retirees some of who have died in their pains and agonies over non-payment of their due entitlements or their sorrowing relatives that would drum support for Umahi’s touted 2023 Presidential ambition?
“Mysterious deaths such as the sudden ‘disappearance’ of some five NELAN contractors sometime in November last year among other cases of suspicious demises all points to alleged diabolic and wicked extent the government has gone in its dealings with the now beleaguered Ebonyi masses.
“Rather than provide jobs for our teeming populace, what the Umahi government specializes on is to appoint, through proxies, our vibrant youths who daily sing it’s praises on the Social media for some pittance.
“For this noble accountability platform in particular therefore, we believe it is time for him to be held to account for the little opportunity he has had in just one, out of a total of the 36 States of the federation that he now aspires to pilot their affairs.
Although the Ebonyi group expressed reservations that the Igbos have not been fairly treated on the issue of Nigeria’s presidency, but added that “all who feel they have the right qualification shouldn’t whip up this sentiment. They should rather convince the electorates like it is done in saner democracies and build bridges across the Niger to enable them realize their ambition of clinching Nigeria’s Presidency.
“AESID is amazed that rather than learn lessons from Egwu’s sordid experience which he is fully aware of, Umahi who backed out of supporting the Atiku/Obi Presidential ticket of his then PDP in 2019 with a flimsy claim that he was not ‘consulted’ before the choice of the later was made as Atiku’s running mate is towing exactly the same ignoble path.
“Whereas, it is within his constitutional right to run for the highest office in the land no doubt, we are also compelled by morality, truth and good conscience to bring the issues of his rather mishandling of our dear State’s affairs in the about seven years that he has held sway as Governor to bare so that some gullible Nigerian publics will not be deceived by the antics of a man who drops the name of ‘God’ in every sentence but has his heart full of evil and wickedness!
“Drawing reference from the age-long cliché that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we are not in any doubt that a more absolute power for an Umahi could mean arming a man who has ran amok with a knife to enter the market place.”