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Minister David Umahi’s precepts as template for accountability ~ by Chekwas Okorie



Nigeria's Minister of Works, Engineer David Umahi

I had known Engr. David Umahi when he was the Ebonyi State Chairman of the Peopl0es Democratic Party, PDP. He came across as an affable, friendly, respectful, and easily approachable young man.

I began to pay attention to his personality when he was elected as Executive Governor of Ebonyi State in 2015.

Ebonyi State has always occupied the second lowest rung of the national revenue allocation ladder among the 36 states of Nigeria after Gombe State. The internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state was not any better.

Chekwas Okorie

The author, Chief Chekwas Okorie

I am from Abia State, but by my character disposition over the years, I have always been personally interested in how the states in the Southeast geopolitical zone cope with their peculiar circumstances.

Governor David Umahi launched into governance with unprecedented grim determination that took even the most critical observers by surprise.

The speed, diversity, and quality of physical development and social services delivered to the people of Ebonyi State in the eight years of Governor David Umahi administration left many wondering how he could wrought such feat that completely altered the landscape, skyline and social transformation of a once rusty Ebonyi State into a wonderland in a short period of eight years with meager resources.

Fast forward to 2023, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu displayed his legendary knack for recruiting the best for the most challenging tasks.

Highly knowledgeable pundits of world-class standards such as Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, DG-WTO, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, AFDB, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, etc. predicted doomsday for the post Buhari administration which President Tinubu inherited.

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In spite of the harsh impact of the unavoidable policy options of President Tinubu had on Nigerians and its economy, the President marshaled his carefully selected foot-soldiers into action with clear deliverable and measurable targets.

H.E. Engr. Senator David Umahi was appointed the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Works by the President, and he assumed office on August 21, 2023.

In approximately eight months, he proved that the Ebonyi magic was not a fluke. He has traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria’s highways.

The image of the Federal Ministry of Works is now admirable, unlike its notorious past.
I chose to make this input because of what I observed to be the typical destructive and disruptive penchant of the opposition elements to pull down whatever successes others have recorded where they failed.

For the avoidance of doubt, I claim without being immodest to be one of the longest standing opposition politicians in Nigeria. I genuinely believe that constructive opposition is vital for productive governance.

Opposition or criticism is constructive when it is accompanied by alternative policy options. It is cheap and demeaning to run down well-meaning national projects with vicious propaganda to mislead already restive Nigerians with mischievously concocted figures.

The recent political propaganda spewed by the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, squarely falls into this condemnable category.

The contentious West-East road project began under the Jonathan Administration, about twelve years ago. The project has somersaulted several times over with the colossal amount of money wasted without anything to show for it.

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Now that Daniel has come to judgment and a definitive timeline of eight years has been set to deliver this much awaited legacy project, some bitter minds are at what they know how best to do.

I commend Senator David Umahi for rising promptly to the occasion to put the record straight. The Hon Minister of Works has siezed every opportunity to brief Nigerians on the progress on our roads across the country.

A few weeks ago, but the union of both senior and junior workers of the Federal Ministry of Works celebrated the Hon. Minister in a ceremony that is unprecedented in the anals of the history of the Ministry.

I urge other ministers and heads of commissions and agencies to adopt the precepts of Minister David Umahi as the template for accountability.

Nothing will engender genuine patriotism in Nigerians more than carrying all of us along in a transparent manner about how our common patrimony is spent on our behalf.

Let us learn to criticize what is criticizable and commend what is commendable.

Chief Dr. Chekwas Okorie is the Founder/ Pioneer National Chairman of APGA.

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