BEING A PRESS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE GOVERNOR ON MEDIA AND PUBLICITY, THIS DAY, JANUARY 6, 2021.
Gentlemen of the Press, Good afternoon.
You will recall that the Governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman South East Governors’ Forum, Engineer David Nweze Umahi, on November 19, 2020 at a mini rally attended by the National Caretaker Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, National Working Committee Members and staunch APC Big wigs proudly made a switch to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The reason for the bold step was due to the age-long neglect of the South East Zone by the PDP despite the fact that one of its foremost founding members His Excellency, the former Vice-President of Nigeria Dr. Alex Ekwueme was from the Zone. Because of the integrity of Dr. Ekwueme, the Igbos of the South East Zone embraced wholly the PDP and rallied round it since the return to Democracy in 1999 but despite supporting other regions to take their shots to the number one plum job in the Federation, the Zone has always been relegated to the background when it comes to consideration for the presidential slot.
The neglect got to alarming proportion that it needed a leader of uncommon courage and dexterity like His Excellency, Engineer Chief David Nweze Umahi to send a signal to the nation’s power oligarchy that the Zone was no longer at ease with their perennial marginalization.
Although, Governor Umahi was a prominent pillar of the PDP, he did not consider his personal and family gains being a staunch nationalist, he offered himself as a sacrificial lamb that the Igbos will be liberated from the shackles of underdevelopment and political relegation.
Unfortunately, instead of being praised and held at high esteem for spearheading the political revolution, Governor Umahi has been variously castigated and called so many unprintable names by those whose rights and privileges he has been committed to agitating for .
Criticisms poured in like rain from all quarters, most notably from the Igbos of the South East region who supposedly will be the direct beneficiaries of the agitation when it comes into fruition.
However, a good intentioned Igbo platforms like the Igbo Apex Socio-cultural organization, the Ohaneze Ndigbo was able to decipher out of his wise counsel that Umahi was an asset to the Igbo race who means well for the course of the Zone and stood aloof in solidarity to his triumphant entry into the APC.
Just yesterday, the 5th day of January 2021, some eminent Igbo sons and daughters and Leaders of the Zone gathered at Igbere in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State on a bipartisan congress at the end of which they raised a communiqué urging all political parties to zone its 2023 presidential slot to the South East Zone.
They even threatened to embargo any Political party that fails to zone its ticket to the Zone.
The question now is, what is the difference between Umahi’s position and the position of attendees of the so called partisan congress? Why is the communiqué not attracting widespread condemnation and criticisms like that of Governor Umahi’s bold and first move or is it simply because the revolution was orchestrated by David?
The latter must sincerely be the case, but be that as it may, Governor Umahi has at last been vindicated by the Communiqué of the purported bipartisan congress.
Happily, the action of Governor David Umahi has as intended sent strong message that the South East Zone can no longer be taken for a ride and that the Zone is now ready and willing more than ever to take its destiny by its hands.
Governor Umahi as the Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum has also by his crossover re-launched both Ebonyi State and the South East Zone into the bastion of national politics and discourse which is its rightful place in the comity of states and region in the country.
The proceeds of this noble action therefore will not just be gargantuan but also bountiful considering that no major decision of national interest can be taken under any pretext without due consultation and representation of South East Leaders in the Country.
Back home in Ebonyi State, the benefits of Governor Umahi’s movement to the APC are as colossal as it is inexhaustible.
Ebonyi State has now assumed exalted carriage in matters of national discourse; hence, the State and the Federal are now in unison in Party and ideological perspectives.
This has started to pay off by attracting more democracy dividends to the State and the Southeast zone by extension which has been what the zone has been craving for.
Already, the Abakaliki Capital City and virtually the 13 Council Areas of the State are now aesthetically and structurally rebranded and remodeled courtesy of Governor Umahi’s super structural revolution in the State.
Within less than six years on the saddle, Governor Umahi has completed over 10 flyovers across the State that hitherto had none with 6 others ongoing, constructed the biggest and most edifying Christian Ecumenical Centre in West Africa, constructed the Muhammadu Buhari’s glass tunnel, the reconstruction of the Margaret Umahi International Market, stretches of Roads on Concrete pavement and the illumination of the Abakaliki Capital City with street lights, ornamentals and water fountains among other landmark projects.
Simultaneously, the Government is executing on a fast lane the biggest shopping mall in Nigeria which is already at 98% completion status, the Ebonyi International Airport, the International Stadium, the College of Medicine also at advanced stage of completion, dualization of Abakaliki-Enugu and Abakaliki-Afikpo roads among others.
With the Governor’s movement to the APC, some monumental projects that will engender robust economic growth and transformation like the Abakaliki Ring road, the International Airport and the International Stadium would definitely see the light of the day within Umahi’s administration through State-Federal Government partnership.
All and sundry should join hands with the vision bearer, Engineer Chief David Nweze Umahi to totally emancipate Ndigbo from the shackles of neglect and redraft the Zone’s truncated history while avoiding political bitterness and acrimony.
Special Assistant to the Governor
(Media and Publicity)