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How Gov. Umahi is leading Ebonyi with Humility, Wisdom, and Fear of God

Francis Nwaze

Many scholars have characterized "Humility" as genuine gratitude and lack of arrogance, a modest view of one’s self. Humility is also one of the essential parts of divine leadership. In the bible, the word 'Humility' appeared many times as a righteous trait to manifest in our lives.

Though severally, he has been misunderstood, misquoted, and misrepresented but in truism, the post-Independence Nigeria has not witnessed a political icon and business mogul like the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr. David Umahi, whose sterling accomplishments in the world of Engineering earned him Fellowship from various Engineering Societies - Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, and National Association of Technologists in Engineering, NATE. His engineering wizardry has endeared him to many.
He is unequivocal, leading Ebonyi State with humility, wisdom, and the fear of God - trinity composition that distinguishes every leader from contemporaries!

On several occasions, Umahi had told attendees in various state functions that his "coming to serve as Governor was a divine arrangement" vowing to "fulfill his covenant with God and lead His people with the fear of God".

Has he lived up to the sacred oats? Yes, he has! To be candid, Umahi has not faltered, neither has he foot dragged in the fulfillments of his covenants with the Grand Designer of the Universe.

How did I know this?

During the recently concluded African Cup Of Nations, Umahi surprised many with his high level of humility by coming out with his fellow Ebonyians to watch the Nigerian Super Eagles at popular Spera in Deo Junction where he mounted one of the many gigantic LED Television across the state. He wined and dined with the masses without segregation and this he does on a regular basis to ensure that everyone is carried along.

It's imperative to note that Umahi on the assumption of office gave out his phone numbers with a charge "report any activities going on to me, anything you want me to do for you in the rural areas, maximize the contacts I gave you".
Many residents, no doubt have leveraged on the information - making it easier for the governor to reach those at the minutest locations in the state with his gospel of transformation humility and the fear of God! 
His humility is also seen in his active participation in many, if not all the WhatsApp platforms with the Interest of Eonyians - he shares messages and makes invaluable suggestions and contributions whenever issues are discussed. 

Governor Umahi introduced a Party with the aged, a celebration that comes in most festive period where all those who are 70 Years and above are brought together to dance, wine and dine with the Governor. An event that has generated commendation from the masses as it was observed that the aged goes back home, fulfilled and happy; having stayed with the number one citizen of the state.
With the fear of God, he has closed the door to graft and sleaze - making it impossible for resources diversions by political shenanigans glad in the cloak of contractors.

It is pertinent to note that on the assumption of office almost five years ago; Umahi began the construction of a ten thousand capacity Ecumenical Centre, with modern facilities and about over a thousand parking lots, arguably the best in the West African sub-region!
He assembled all the pastors in the state under the umbrella of Divine Mandate Pastors to play interceding roles for the states’ progress. He equally directed that every last Friday of the month should be set aside as a Day of Prayer and Supplications for The State - a policy he personally oversees.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has yet again tested Umahi's humility, wisdom, and the fear of God.
On hearing its rising cases, the governor quickly returned to his source - God Almighty by rallying all the men of God in the state under the aegis of CAN to supplicate to God on behalf of the state.

Governor Umahi quickly intervened as unarguably led by the Holy Spirit and put the interest of Ebonyians first by closing all borders leading to the State in order to curtail the spread of the virus.

He has not slept - he monitors the entery and exit routes in the state, personally enforcing the lock-down directives and NCDC regulations of social distancing, use of facemask, and handwashing! 

Payment of Workers Salaries 

It is imperative to note that since the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus which has affected many activities, Umahi has continued to pay civil servants in the state because he understands the plights of the workers and the effect of the LOCKDOWN.

Prior to the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, Umahi has been paying workers' salaries before the 15th of every month. 

No wonder, the workers gave him the title 'Enyi Ndị Ọrụ'. In the last two months, Governor Umahi has paid workers on the 1st of the months to cushion the effect of the emergency lockdown.

Pardon of 33 Inmates at Correctional Centers 

Gov. Umahi has also unconditionally granted pardon to 33 inmates at the Abakaliki and Afikpo Correctional Centers.

The decision to pardon the inmates was in line with the Federal Government policy to decongest the Correctional Centers which our dear Governor aligned to. 

The freed convicts include males and females with cases ranging from stealing, burglary, assault to occasioning bodily harm among others.

Motorcycles Ban in the State 

It is pertinent to note that Gov. Umahi had no intention of banning motorcycles in the State. But when he was informed that some misguided motorcyclists use their motorcycles also known as Okada to smuggle returnees coming back from states affected with the deadly Coronavirus through track roads and drop them off in the State, thereby trying to spread the virus into the State, he banned all motorcycles to ensure that the state boundaries are completely locked. 

Gov. Umahi being a man blessed with wisdom and understanding immediately ordered the names of motorcyclists affected by the ban to be compiled so that palliatives can be given to them in order to cushion the effect caused by the ban. 

However, the governor later relaxed the ban with an exception of 300 meters radius within the boundary areas. 

Governor Umahi in the Front Line of the Fight against COVID-19 

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, Gov. Umahi has been in the front line of the fight against the virus. 

He has ensured that all the borders are closed, allowing only essential commodities to enter into the State. 

He embarks on interstate boundary checks, chiding security men dispatched to the adjoining boundaries of the state to ensure nobody except fuels, food condiments, and medical equipment are allowed to enter the state.

When he led the Anti-Corona Virus team which comprised all the security heads in the state from the St Margaret Umahi Int'l Market, the team moved to the boundary between Abaomege and Igbo Imabana Community in Abi LGA of Cross River State.

At the Abi and Abaomege boundary, Governor Umahi uncovered plots by commuters to enter the state against the government's directives and this led to the introduction of new strategies to manage the situation.

Signing Of Law against Food Price Hike, Hoarding 

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19, Umahi quickly signed into law a bill prohibiting a hike in foods and hoarding in the state. 
Recall that there has been a steady increase in the sales of food commodities in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic.

A bushel of rice that was originally sold between N6,000 and N6,500 increased to between N8,000 and N9,000. Also, a painter of garri which was sold for N400 hiked to between N800 and N900.
It is imperative to note that when Umahi learned that the price of foods is expected to increase in the days ahead as sellers had continued to hoard them to enable them to make more gains, then, he approached the state House of Assembly to approve a bill to ban all form of foods’ hoarding and the price hike.

The bill was passed into law by the state House of Assembly and signed into law by the governor.

In his words, 

 “There shall be no hoarding of foods, drugs, and other essential goods and services within the State, or refusal to provide foods, drugs, and other essential goods and services within the State for citizens to buy."

“It shall be an offense to artificially inflate the prices of foods, drugs, and other essential goods and services within the State."

 “It shall be an offense to hoard foods, drugs, and other essential goods and services within the State or refusal to provide foods, drugs, and other essential goods and services within the State for people to buy."

“Where a person breaches any of the above, the culprit(s) shall be prosecuted in accordance with the Law and there shall be seizure and forfeiture of the foods, drugs and other essential goods to the State, and in addition, such forfeited foods, drugs, and other essential goods shall be utilized for the purposes of alleviating the supply needs in the State. Security agencies and indeed anybody or committee so designated by me shall effect and ensure strict compliance.”

This has shown how Gov. Umahi loves all Ebonyians and wants everybody to survive this pandemic currently ravaging many countries. 

Building of Isolation Centers 

Governor Umahi ahead of time but in preparation of eventualities embarked on the construction of the soon to be completed 300-bed capacity COVID-19 Isolation and treatment centers at FETHA 2, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

During the inspection of the gigantic project on Thursday, Umahi assured that the Centre will be completed and equipped in less than 2 weeks from now.

The project when completed will help in the fight against the COVID-19 in Ebonyi State.

Construction of Roads, College of Medicine, Airport, etc

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Umahi has continued the construction of major projects in the State.

These include the dualization of Old Abakaliki-Enugu Road, Abakaliki – Afikpo Road, Construction of Ebonyi State International Airport, construction of Ebonyi Shopping Mall, Construction of Olympic Stadium, Construction of Ebonyi State College of Medicine and many others. 

Under Umahi's administration, it is do this, while I supervise your arrangements with contractors. In his administration, the era of crony contracts is history!

Driven by empathy for the have nots, Umahi has initiated effective target mechanisms to eliminate leakages and diversions.

How? As a consummate engineer, in all the projects sites in the state, he personally supervises them - bringing his engineering wizardry and ingenuity to bear in the issue of projects. Sometimes, he takes the contractors by surprise, drives Tricycle to the site by himself, and sometimes, with just a security detail. 

At these projects sites, he mixes, in most cases, concrete, and does some of the menial jobs. It's difficult if you are a visitor to spot him in the midst of people in every project site.

This act of humility has left many stunned, bewildered, and awed on the manner of man, the Ebonyi State Governor is. 
Indeed, the supreme qualities of good leadership are unquestionably integrity, humility, wisdom, and fear of God.   And Umahi has demonstrated all these qualities.
Gov. Umahi is futuristic and knows how to use his ideas to make Ebonyi State great and Ebonyians are indeed happy with him.

To be continued.
PHOTO1: Governor David Umahi being welcomed by septuagenarian to one of their festive parties organised by the Governor in Ebonyi.
PHOTO2: Governor David Umahi, driving one of the newly purchased electric powered tricycles to inspect COVID-19 preventive rules compliance at ST. Margaret Umahi International Market, Abakaliki.
Francis Nwaze is Special Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor
(Media and Publicity)
13th May 2020

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