Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State seem to have settled in very well into governance since mounting the saddle on May 29, 2015. He must be congratulated for resolving the protracted matter of the Nkalagu Cement Plant which if it reopens will bring in much needed employment in the state. All encouragement must be given to Chief Ibeto the core investor, to fast track the rehabilitation of the cement plant. In doing so, Ibeto Cement should work hand in hand with Community activists who should monitor that the rehabilitation process does not involve the cannibalization of the existing infrastructure in the plant. This has been the experience in many other businesses that were privatized. As an example, once the Eastern Electricity Distribution Company, (EEDC) won the concession for the Enugu Disco, priceless turbines were removed from the Oji River Power Plant. These turbines were very new as they were hardly used. Where they were moved to, no one can say.
Governor Umahi should also be given kudos for repositioning education in the state. The progress achieved in this sector manifested in Ebonyi State winning the Democracy Day Presidential Debate 2016.
On the other hand, the Governor does not score well in matters of security. It would appear that thugs, hoodlums and armed robbers have a free reign in the state. A few months ago, the sister of an Honorable Member of the House of Representatives, (who is from Enugu State) on arrival from vacationing in the United States of America, travelled to Abakaliki straight from Akanu Ibiam International Airport. She was murdered by two students from Ebonyi State University. In the past few weeks, two students who had been killed for ritual purposes were fished out of a stream close to their school, Federal Government College, Okposi in Ohaozara Local Government Area. Immediately after that, an icon, and a frontline Igbo activist, the Harvard University educated Dr. Offiah Nwali was retrieved from a pond in his compound under suspicious circumstances.
Thugs and hoodlums seem to have overrun the state with many types of extortion schemes. The worst being around Abakaliki Local Government Council where touts impound the vehicles of law abiding citizens demanding sometimes upwards of fifty thousand naira with no government receipt. This rascality is replicated in other parts of the state. I will encourage Governor Umahi to design good artisanal programs to train Ebonyi Youth to engage in legal and meaningful means of livelihood. Allowing the state to be overrun by hoodlums who believe that extorting money from the public is their political settlement is a gross abdication of his responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the State. If you add this situation to his tepid and lukewarm pronouncement on the issue of the murderous Fulani Herdsmen presently camped in his state, then he begins to look terrible in governance. Businesses will flee Ebonyi, State, and new ones will not come unless the issue of these roaming criminal elements is brought under control.
A sewing in time saves nine!
Ogadimma Machikwe writes from Abuja, Nigeria