By Dr Nestor Nzeribe
In an exciting voyage that took up to forty-eight hours off my considerably busy schedule, I was able to journey round the State fondly called, the ‘Salt of the Nation’ this week.
It was neither an all expenses paid pleasure trip, nor an ego ride as I had to foot my fares all through from Abuja to Emene, Enugu; then through Ohaukwu, Onueke Ezza, Afikpo North/South, Ivo, Ohaozara, Onicha and back to Abakaliki from my modest savings.
I was on a mission, a self appointed one for that matter, to have myself adequately acquainted with and thoroughly informed on what has by far, now become the grandest and most successful case study of a peoples’ emancipation from the drudgery of socioeconomic backwardness in Nigeria.
After all the labour, what did I find out? Nothing less than the fact that, in an intelligently articulated and perfectly executed revolution, David Umahi has made Ebonyi State the pride of the Igbo nation! Unfortunately, it is ironic that this has not been adequately and appropriately reported in the mass media!
Now, talking about the media, the Fourth Estate of the realm, it is rather unfortunate that the once highly regarded Nigerian press has by a conscious slide into partisanship utterly disrobed itself of the sacred regalia it once proudly sported as society’s watchdog!
Agenda setting on the one hand, while at the same time, holding the government accountable to the people, both of which are among the noble duties of the press as clearly enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, have all been twisted beyond actual and intended purposes by partisans in their self-centered wars that have no end.
So it continues that landmark developments in a State with modest economic resources like Ebonyi will hardly attract the kind of media attention accorded other more lavishly endowed areas for practically doing nothing!
However, Ebonyians, as I discovered for myself, know their heroes and will not, as the culturally proud people that they are, be deterred by mere perceptions. They have seen governments both military and civilian from the time of the State’s creation come and go without any leaving behind anything near the magnitude of impression that they are currently living under.
The pioneering efforts of Walter Feghabo and Simeon Oduoye only but set up structures that the succeeding Egwu and Elechi governments added modest gains to. On the other hand, a consensus exists today among Ebonyians after about three years in office, that the David Umahi’s administration which came to power at the very time the State needed a paradigm leap, has performed beyond average expectations.
The governor’s uncommon grasp of the dynamic interplay of social infrastructure in the development mix, and the resolute conviction with which he advances his ideals stands him out as a man of excellence. With men like Umahi, and States like Ebonyi, the unending agitation for the creation of further States in Nigeria might not be without some merits after all.
With his numerous achievements all lending their voices to the clamour for his re-election, indeed, the effort to deny David Umahi a second term does seem like a mission not possible. It is clearly a proposal that Ebonyians seem not at all ready for.
Umahi all the way!
Dr Nestor Nzeribe is an Abuja based Christian Leader