By UCHE AKAM
The game is now open. the intrigues and politicking have been intense and rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that Ebonyians have woken up from their political slumber and have come to embrace the true imports of democracy. Since 1999, Ebonyians had always been subjected to political manipulation at the moment of elections. That was why even at the National Assembly, the state never had effective representation as only a few members from the state distinguished themselves as people were always handpicked instead of Ebonyians in different constituencies to elect their choice of representatives. Others either went to sleep or went to admire the creativity and prowess of their colleagues from other states. At the state level, the state House of Assembly still remains at the apron strings of the state executive.
Based on the political travails of the state in the past 16 years of return of democracy to Nigeria, the current liberation struggle has thrown up some very critical issues. Ebonyi is deeply divided right now between Abakaliki and Afikpo blocs. There is disharmony among the political elites. The ruling party is in tatters because of the high handedness of Governor Elechi. Ebonyians are generally confused. Development is very low or virtually non-existent as most projects embarked upon by the current administration may not be completed before the end of the administration in May 2015.
The question is: in this kind of situation who is properly prepared and equipped to liberate the state and unite Ebonyians once again. The choice of such a person should be determined not on any zoning or sectional sentiment. What Ebonyians need now is a leader with demonstrated competence and who has antecedents for good works to take over from Governor Elechi.
Agreed that Deputy Governor Dave Umahi may have fought a good fight recently by engaging his political boss in a political battle of succession, one could in true reflection see the action of the Deputy Governor as revolutionary and divisive. Engr. Dave Umahi had a humble beginning like many Ebonyians. he was said to have, like is known about many Ebonyians, been a petty trader in Aba Abia State and PortHarcout. When his brother Obi Umahi now Major General in the Army recently suspended by the Army, was promoted a Major while in PH and made Chairman of a taskforce in the Creeks, the Umahis had fortune smile on them. From there Brass Construction Company was borne.
The family expanded their fortune from PH to Lagos. In 2003 Engr. Dave came home to get in involved in politics. He threw his support to Dr. Sam Eqwu against his brother Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who also was contesting for the office of the governor of the state while Egwu was seeking for a second term in office. The kinsmen of Umahi were infuriated by his action of opposing Dr. Onu who they regarded as a father and political mentor in Uburu Community. The youths vented their anger on Umahis destroying their properties which rendered Engr Dave and his family homeless. He sought for refuge in Government house Abakaliki where Governor Egwu provided for him and later rewarded his opposition to his brother with Chairmanship of the state chapter of the PDP. He held the position and became so powerful stepping on many toes in the state and continued on the position after Dr. Sam Egwu into Governor Elechi’s administration in 2007 and was nominated Deputy Governor based on his role in helping Elechi to win the election for a second term in office in 2011.
Thus, while Dave may have been or seen as a dogged fighter, and go-getter in his business empire, nothing has distinguished him as a political leader who has the interest of the majority of the people at heart. Most of his actions as party Chairman and Deputy Governor have been seen by many as not people-oriented and he does not seem to command followership at his home and even in the old Ohaozara and Afikpo except those benefitting from his largesse. There is no testimony to his political achievements except a church building in his village which a few supporters post in the internet,
while Dave’s opposition to Governor Elechi’s unpatriotic and undemocratic attempt to impose a successor on Ebonyi people may be commended, it is my thinking that based the way that Ebonyi is divided now because of the fight between Elechi and his Deputy, engr. Umahi may not be the right person to take over power from Elechi. Even as a Deputy Governor, his companies have been associated with the uncompleted projects under Elechi’s government and nothing suggests that the deputy governor at anytime had issues with the governor over no adherence to their campaign manifesto. He was always seen fighting for the share of the state resources for his empire and not for Ebonyi people.
Since he and his boss are the ones that divided the polity and performed so abysmally poor in their administration, Elechi cannot take the blame alone. Dave has no moral or political rectitude to aspire to take over from Governor Elechi. While we do not wish to allow the imposition of Prof Chukwu on the people being that Chukwu himself is a political neophyte and would only be an internship governor if voted, we think Dave is not the option for 2015 in Ebonyi. it is our opinion that the delegates should consider objectively the situation in Ebonyi and focus on voting someone with the political antecedents, experience, human compassion and one who understands the suffering of ordinary Ebonyian and who is ready to change the current misery experienced in the state by citizens. In my opinion, such a person should be Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu.
From the available profile of all the candidates standing, only Senator Nwagu has grown from grassroots to his present political height. He was a Ward Councilor, Local Government Chairman, House of Representative member, and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his performance all along speak for themselves. It was only the project he built as a local Government Chainman that a sitting President of Nigeria in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo commissioned in Ebonyi since 1999. No other project by any political leader in Ebonyi has been so commissioned. This opinion is devoid of sentiment and I think if we reason objectively, we need such a man who can unite the state and understand the plight of all Ebonyians to take over at this time and heal the political wounds inflicted on the poor citizens of the state. We must vote wisely as they say, a stich in time saves nine.
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