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Umahi: Celebrating a quintessential leader at 57

Today, the founder and leader of new Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr. David Umahi, FNSE, FNATE is celebrating a birthday, not amidst pomp and pageant, but of fulfillment, breakthroughs and the successful emancipation of Ebonyi people from the vicious cycle of underdevelopment, poverty, and squalor. It's no news that he has sounded the death knell of underdevelopment, retrieved and restored emasculated, if not lost identity of his people and placed on the same pedestal with developed economies, hallmark his birthday celebration.

The situation heralding the birth of David Umahi is a humbling event as it bears the imprimatur of one with divine assignments to execute.

 It might interest you to know that the lasting legacies of an uncommon
transformation of Ebonyi State are a culmination of experiences spanning decades garnered by His Excellency Engr. David Umahi from the street and corporate life.
The understanding of his sojourn on the terrestrial sphere early in life necessitated his conscious programming and arrangements of his life in phases in consonance,
not at variance with Providence.

 The uncertainty that characterized the socio-economic and infrastructural conditions in his ancient agrarian, Umunaga village in Uburu Community also played a crucial role in his choice of career later in life. Poor road networks, lack of pipe-borne water, poverty, and squalid habitat.

Umahi, deleted traces of indolence and sparked the restless desire of
greatness and socio-economic visibility, a case of the survival of the fittest. That the fittest survived, doesn't explain how they arrived? Not Imbued with divine
wisdom, Umahi foresaw what lies ahead -tasks and challenges associated with greatness and prepared by acquiring sustainable skills invaluable in handling his
greatness pursuits. Which of these skills and virtues are necessary? Literacy, numeracy, dedication, *focus*, and above all, the reverential awe for God and His
ways. He taxied off literacy tarmac. 

His first port of call was the Umunaga Primary School in the present day Ohaozara council area of Ebonyi State, between 1971-77
emerging the best graduating pupil with First School Leaving Certificate with distinction level.

At Ishiagu High School, in today's Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in 1978, Umahi transferred his secondary education to the prestigious Government College, Afikpo, where he completed his secondary education and obtained the
West African Senior Certificate Examination, WASSCE in Division 1 with excellent alpha performances in Mathematics. As an aspiring scientist, he excelled in
Statistics, Physics, and Chemistry.

With the intellectual hurdles scaled, it opened his eyes to engineering wizardry. He immediately proceeded to the famous Anambra State University of Science and
Technology to Study Civil Engineering in 1987. Shortly on completion of his compulsory national service, he joined the SCC, a water engineering company
where he began practical experience in engineering. It's worthy of note that the
prudence and judicious use of scarce resources being the Ebonyi experience began
when, as the Head of Cathodic Protection Unit of Saipem, he superintended over a gas project from Excravos in Warri to Egbin
Gas Plant in Lagos.

The successful completion of the project confirmed his mastery of engineering and technology also the execution of higher tasks should the opportunity come. Did
the opportunity for the execution of higher tasks come? Yes, it did come. I will return shortly to this in the course of this. 

Between 1990 to 1993, Umahi served *as* the General Manager and Shareholder in Norman Engineering and Construction, Nigeria Ltd. There's no need to doubt he brought to bare, experiences from both
Saipem and SCC in the running of the affairs of the newly found Norman construction coy.

Not forgetting his mandate of leading multitudes out of dire straits, he knew his resources as a private investor will not serve larger chunks of the society, he
forayed into the world of politics, apparently with aim of deploying public resources in the betterment of the society. He supported credible candidates to
occupy public offices either by appointive and elective offices,
in what was later diagnosed as an internal democracy of the People's Democratic Party, Ebonyi State Chapter in 2008, the baton of leadership fell on Umahi. And he
was made the state chairman of the party. It was though a daunting task building the party to yet another virile and a party with
public appeals. It would be recalled that the state chapter of PDP never had administrative complex-a secretariat so to speak to run its affairs. Its former was
an office, with its rickety and dilapidated state.
Irked with this squalid state of affairs, he declared a state of emergency on the party,
within few weeks in office, began the process of acquisitions of land to build a world-class party secretariat in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital. Eventually, the
land was bought and he designed, supervised, completed, and commissioned the largest party secretariat in the West African subregion and the Gulf of Guinea.
Sitting on over 5 hectares of land, the Ebonyi State chapter of People's Democratic Party, PDP has a parking space for over 500 cars, 10,000 capacity auditorium, and
administrative blocks with offices. Using the approach that I lack words to describe, Umahi mortified the internal wrangling of the party. Those who left returned. And
the hope for a better party with sound ideology rekindled in the mind of faithful.

In 2011, Chief Martin Elechi made him his running mate, providentially aided, they emerged victoriously, and that was how Umahi became the third democratically elected deputy governor of Ebonyi State. His electoral value and political elasticity were tested in 2015 when he declared for the gubernatorial election with Barr Dr. Kelechi Igwe as his running mate.

It may interest you to know that his guber declaration was not just timely, but apt.

How? The poverty, infrastructural dearth, and shroud of anonymity that enveloped the state dwarfed the people in the comity of folks, in other words, the people were wakeful of when one with an ideological understanding of reality in the context of governance will emerge as the governor of Ebonyi State, if not for anything, at least, construction of roads and making the people visible in the comity of folks, because Ebonyians prior to his arrival as the governor was not known or associated with massive infrastructural development. So in the midst of men, Ebonyi man was not seen, neither was he heard. The landslide victory at 2015
guber poll, confirmed this position.
He was elected amidst the internal subterfuge created against him by the power brass because the people knew the substance he is made up of. But has Umahi
lived up to the social covenants with the people of Ebonyi State? Yes. Between 2015-2018, the Umahi administration has upgraded the territories of the state by
connecting suburbs to the urban area through the new method of road construction, the rigid pavements, codenamed, concrete roads -a pattern of road
construction invented and patented by him. It is expected to if God tarried, last beyond 50 years.
He applied the bottom-top approach to governance, a pattern in line with the development pundits theory of development from the grassroots. The rural areas
have never had it so good as it's now. A total of 1,000 kilometers of roads has been constructed by the Umahi government within the last 5year, an unprecedented
development in the state's history. The renovation and upgrade of the 13 General Hospitals in the state, the building of world-class virology Centre, and the College of
Medicine, underscore the importance he attaches to the health and wellbeing of

Added to these, is the Ebonyi State International Airport, which will trigger, when completed, an influx of people to the state and open the state's airspace to the globe.
The industrial drive of his administration led to the establishment of the Waste
Pulverisation Plant at Umuoghara estimated to create over 10, 000 direct and 5000 indirect jobs. Other major projects include the reconstruction of the St Margaret Umahi's International Market, the construction of the Ebonyi Mall, construction of 9 flyovers and many pedestrian crossing; the construction of the industrial clusters, construction of several water schemes, etc.

As an unrepentant investor in human capital development, he has embarked on a series of initiatives driven to empower the people to exit poverty. 

His 57 years birthday is epochal and worthy of celebration. We are celebrating and rejoicing over the birth and coming to power of His Excellency, Engr. David Umahi at a time we need him. We are eternally grateful to the Almighty God for Governor Umahi and his
political ideology of good governance.

Ad multos annos, Your Excellency.

Francis Nwaze
Special Assistant to the Governor
(Media and Publicity)
25th July, 2020

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