Umahi & His New Ebonyi: Factors why he is called the True Road Master of Nigeria – Eze
If what I saw and witnessed in Ebonyi State is not a revolution then I need to be educated on what revolution is all about.
And if a none oil producing State like Ebonyi and one of the least States that collect funds from the Federation account could achieve all these then something is totally wrong with governance of most oil producing and richer States” EZE
Three months ago, I was in Ebonyi State on the invitation of the State Commissioner for Information, Barr. Uchenna Orji, for a tour round the very many completed projects, conceived and initiated by the Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum and Executive Governor of the State, Engr. Dave Umahi, within the space of six years in government as Chief-servant of the good people of Ebonyi State.
The engagement which I initially thought would be concluded within days eventually spanned into weeks given the litany of projects captured on my assessment schedule. Mine was to conduct an independent assessment, weigh the viability of choice projects and probably form an unbiased report on the survey of projects and inform the world accordingly.
THE RESULT OF MY FIRST REPORT (UMAHI SET TO END FOREIGN HEALTH TOURISM):
The first report from that engagement titled, “Umahi set to end foreign health tourism, redoubles efforts to unveil world class medical centre, a report of seven days projects tour in Ebonyi State (Part 1)”, widely published and circulated to the entire world highlighted the concerted advantages of a high-tech project with a sophisticated blend of contemporary health and modern education.
The nucleus of that treatise is the new Medical College in Ebonyi – the David Nweze Umahi University of Medical Sciences; a centre of excellence in cancer management, kidney transplant with dialysis centre, liver transplant, and other diseases management and treatment facilities. It had the latest diagnostic equipment that can be rated amongst the best anywhere in the world. The technology to be employed is equally second to none.
The centre is manned by the best hands anywhere in the world and the structures are classical”. The diagnostic equipment came directly from the manufacturers and are ready for use. It’s going to be a centre of medical tourism and attain the international status of such a big institution, power supply will be 24hours as it would have power from solar, generator and national grid.
The vision behind the establishment of David Nweze Umahi University of Medical Sciences according to Chief Emma Obasi, the Principal Secretary to Governor Umahi, is to halt and reverse medical tourism abroad; halt and reverse capital flight due to medical treatment and management of high calibre diseases; provision of access to ultramodern medical equipment and personnel and to expose our medical students to the best training facilities available in the world.
The Medical University is to house the best Medical College comprising Faculties and Departments in all Medical and Allied Medical disciplines and best Teaching cum Specialist Hospital comprising about 5-6 Centres of Excellence in Medicare.
The University rated as the best Medical University and Centre of Excellence in Medicare in entire Africa, has commenced operations with the production of some scarce sensitive hospital necessities.
THE UNUSUAL FEATS OF THE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY:
Within few months of the take off the University it has established a feat of becoming the first University in Nigeria to commence the building of Oxygen Production Plant
According to the Vice Chancellor of King David University of Medical Science Uburu Ebonyi State Professor Jessy Uneke, the institution has commenced the building of Oxygen Production Plant to stem the dearth of the product in hospitals and schools in the country.
In a related development, the University has commenced 2021/2022 admission of Students in all 17 Programmes recognized and approved by the National University Commission /NUC.
Professor Uneke further disclosed that the University was the first to start 17 Number of Courses at the same time in Nigeria and was using Ph.D Holders to start the University.
*There are additional Four Courses that the institution would equally commence in no distant time*
*Dialysis Production Plant is being constructed, between December 2021 and January 2022, it will be finished, in dialysis there is a special kind of consumables called Dializer forLiver and Kidney Transplant*
Professor Uneke outlined the 17 Programnes in the University to include Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacy, Nursing Science, Medical Laboratory Science, Physiotherapy. Biometric Engineering, Optometey, Radiography and Radiation Science, Computer Science, Industrial Physics, Industrial Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, Dentistry, Micro-Biology, Parasitology, Public Health and Human Nutrition/Dietetics.
The University Don emphasized that the Ebonyi State Executive Council has approved that all 1st Class Graduates of English and other related Disciplines be engaged to teach in pre-degree Courses of the institution while the minimum academic teaching qualification for lecturers in Ph.D Degrees.
Professor Uneke said that the University was formally recognized by the National University Commission /NUC on 7th July 2021
*When the NUC came for Resource Verification and after assessing the resources we have the privilege that 20 of our 20 Departments presented were all approved*
*20 of the Departments were running 17 Programmes, we also have all the 17 Programmes approved*
*The University has Special Centers including Cancer Centers. kidney, Eye Centers, Sports, we want to provide conducive learning environment*
He disclosed that he was appointed the Vice Chancellor of the institution on 1st June 2021
Professor Uneke commended the Visitor of the University and Governor of Ebonyi State David Umahi for his support that facilitated it’s recognition.
The Varsity has admitted 1,500 students so far and holds her Matriculation bh 2nd Week of December 2021.
POSTPONEMENT OF THE TOUR
After this and other reports on several other critical areas bothering on the Health Institution, my trip was cut short due to the unforseen death of my friend, Engr. Fidelis Kings Nweze whose imprints in most of the legacy projects in the State need not be overemphasized. This restless and indefatigable leader who was the former Commissioner for Works and Transport and later Commissioner for Infrastructure and Concession assured to take me round most of the roads and flyovers done by this administration but sadly he left so untimely thereby leaving me stranded with no other option than postponing further project assessment engagements as a mark of respect to him.
MY SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY
Immediately after the glorious state burial of Engr. Fidelis KIngs Nweze coupled with the historical birthday celebration of Ebonyi’s visionary helmsman, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, the Ebonyi State outstanding Salesman and workaholic Commissioner for Information, Barr. Uchenna Orji sent a reminder text pleading with me to come over to complete my projects monitoring exercise which necessitated my second trip to the State, a state which Gov. Umahi has turned to the New Dubai of Nigeria, if one is to judge the first class of projects that permeated the entire State.
THE MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HER VISION
In order to understand the vision of Governor Umahi as regards road construction in Ebonyi State one need to examine his vision and the policy of the Ministry of Works.
Throwing more light on the relationship between Governor Umahi and Ministry of Works during the 25th anniversary of the creation of Ebonyi State, my dependable associate, Engr. Ogbonnata Obasi, the indefatigable Commissioner for Works and Transportation stated, “Your Excellency’s total adoption of the Policy Thrust of the Ministry of Works and Transport which is to Reconstruct, Construct and Maintain Urban and Rural Road Network in the state and your hi-tech intuition and resource management which have enhanced qualitative infrastructural development are all indications that you were naturally ordained for the liberation of mankind.
Your Excellency’s overwhelming transformational philosophy has no doubt endeared you to the world media as a global figure which has also earned you numerous awards and recognitions by various national and international organizations.
I therefore on behalf of the Management and Staff of the Ministry of Works and Transport, congratulate you on this celebration of national freedom and wish you more pleasant days as you sail through to a greater leadership height.
The Ministry of Works and Transportation’s policy Thrust which is to Reconstruct, Construct and Maintain Urban and Rural Road Network in the state has been actualised through carrying out the following activities in the State.
UMAHI AS THE ROAD MASTER OF NIGERIA.
After taking ten days in my second missionary journey to Ebonyi State to monitor only road projects, flyovers scattered in all the Local Government Areas of the State, I was able to resolve to tackle this treatise in Eight Areas –
1. The 16 High Class Flyovers,
2. The unprecedented construction of 1,500Km Road Networks,
3. The unimaginable Urban Renewal,
4. The Historical and Magical Ring Road – Initiatives & Sectors that distinguished Umahi as the true Road Master in Nigeria
5. Umahi’s throws more light on his other feats
6. Commissioning of projects by President Buhari
7. Barr Uchenna Orji highlights what Umahi has achieved this past six years
One thing that is unique about Governor Umahi and his new Ebonyi State is making most of her roads Concrete based Roads.
Before now, roads in Ebonyi State were constructed with the traditional asphalt. Sadly, such roads never lasted and ultimately became impassable forcing the present administration in the state, under Governor David Umahi, to introduce new road technology called ‘Rigid Pavement a system of using concrete to construct roads to ensure they last longer. Many roads in the state have now been constructed with the new technology. Also the failed ones have been reconstructed with the system. The roads are scattered across the 13 local government areas of the state and Abakaliki, the capital.
1. CONSTRUCTION OF 16 WORLD CLASS FLYOVERS
In this segment, I wish to highlight some of the flyovers scattered in almost 13 Local Government Areas of the State unlike some States where flyovers are mainly concentrated in a single Road or only in the State capital.
First is the construction of 7 span Akanu Ibiam twin overhead bridge stationed at the centre of the State capital easing traffic within and around the biggest shopping mall in West Africa to be commissioned very soon by President Buhari, including the biggest and most beautiful ecumenical center in the south east.
Second is the Construction of 23 span Offiah Nwali (presco) junction twin overhead bridge.
Third is the construction of Abemege junction 20 span overhead bridge.
Followed by the construction of Ezzangbo junction 25 span overhead bridge.
Other Flyovers are:
Construction of EBSU teaching hospital overhead bridge.
Construction of Umunaga Agugwu junction overhead bridge located in Uburu the hometown of the Governor leading to the King David Medical and Scienceses University.
Construction of 25 span International Market twin overhead bridge easing traffic within and around the International Market stated to be one of the best if not the best in Nigeria.
Construction of the Ebonyi International Airport Flyove to ease traffic around the Ebonyi State international Airport, also stated as one of the best Airports in Nigeria.
Construction of pedestrian overhead bridge at EBSU gate.
Explaining further about flyovers in Ebonyi State, my host and the workaholic Commissioner for Information, Barr. Uchenna Orji stated, “His Excellency, the Governor’s earnest desire is to build greatest number of flyovers in the nation after Lagos and Abuja with over 16 flyovers scattered across the State. Unarguably, he has changed the narrative of Abakaliki, the State capital, from an unassuming community of ‘Abakaliki rice’ to a modern bubbling city, an investor’s delight.
Throwing more light on this segment, Governor Umahi further highlighted, “Our flyovers are going on, the average construction period of our flyovers with grade 40 concrete remains 9 to 12 months. The two last flyovers we shall be doing is one in Afikpo and one by Ogbe Hausa junction and all the ongoing projects and the Edda flyover are all on the verge of completion, that Edda flyover that defied the courage of many men is 70% done and we will finish it before the end of this year and we will deploy it.
In addition to all these unique flyovers is the construction of multiple channel tunnel at spera indeo junction that takes one straight to the ultramodern Shopping mall assumed to be one of the biggest shopping malls in Africa and the modern ecumenical Worship centre described as the resident of God himself where every Ebonyian faces while praying to hasten answers to every prayer offered either collectively or individually.
Apart from the change of Abakaliki city look through myriads of massive road infrastructural developments, the Umahi’s Administration ensured the change of the fortunes in most of the major towns in the State. In this regard the State Government embarked upon the following projects scattered in all over the State:
Construction of most of the key and crucial roads within Abakaliki the State capital
Construction of internal road project in Onueke urban on rigid pavement.
Construction of Internal road network in Afikpo town on rigid pavement.
Construction of internal road network in Uburu community on a rigid pavement.
Construction of Internal road networks in Ekwo and other major towns in Ebonyi State on rigid pavement.
THE UNPRECEDENTED CONSTRUCTION OF OVER 1,500KM OF ROAD NETWORK, BRIDGES AND CULVERT UNOBTAINABLE IN ANY OTHER STATE IN NIGERIA
Construction of a total of about 14 box culverts which channels ranged from one to three across the state.
Construction of total of 16 bridges which spans ranges from one to six across the state.
Construction of 23.7km Hilltop-Nwofe Agbaja road on TGIF pavement.
Construction of 18.5km Nkechi- FUNAI road on rigid pavement.
Construction of Nigercem- Nkalagu road on a rigid pavement.
Construction of 25.4km Abaomege- Ishinkwo Ukawu- Okposi road on a rigid pavement.
Reconstruction of the 14.5km abandoned section of Abakaliki-Afikpo road.
Construction of a section of the Abakaliki-Enugu dual carriage express way.
Construction of Uburu-Okposi-Amasiri road on a rigid pavement.
Construction of a minimum of 15 km road in each of the 13 local government areas of the state.
Governor Umahi while addressing his people further highlighted that:
“The dualization of Abakaliki to Enugu and Abakaliki to Afikpo is also on the advanced stage and these two projects we intend to complete before we bow out of office. The moment you enter Ebonyi State from any part of other States, you have dualized roads and you have light and this is important to us”.
THE UNPRECEDENTED ABAKALIKI RING ROAD CONNECTING ALMOST ALL THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS OF THE STATE
This project which was initiated by the administration of Chief Jim Nwobodo while as the Governor of old Anambra State comprising the present day Anambra, Enugu States and part of Ebonyi State about 38years ago.
It is great to note that 38years after the Abakaliki Ring Road Project aimed at
boosting employment of rural dwellers
was embarked upon by the Chief Jim Nwobodo-led administration in the South East region of the country, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, has flagged off the Nwezenyi-Nwofe section of the ring road project in Izzi Local Government Area of the State.
The exercise which took place at Nwezenyi junction, Igbeagu-Izzi and Ogbala in Ebonyi Council Areas respectively, attracted stakeholders and members of each benefiting Community to the official function.
In his address, the Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Works, Hon Ogbonnia Obasi, urged the people to take the project as their own by providing adequate security for the safety of the workers at the sites.
The Governor stressed the need for the contractors and community leaders to work in unison for the speedy completion of the project in due time.
He said: “We are here this morning to perform one of the most important functions of the construction of Abakaliki Ring Road which is the handing over the project site to the contractors.
“Therefore, flagging off the Nwezenyi-Nwofe section will be handled by Patan and Reinforce Global Joints Venture, while the second section will be handled by CCEC Nig. Ltd AWGC respectively and it means that the construction of the road has from today commenced.
“As we have handed the site over to the contractors today, I wish to remind you people of the words of His Excellency; that we are equally handing over both workers and contractors into the hands of the stakeholders where this project is taking place.
“His Excellency has directed that stakeholders including all the council Chairmen and traditional rulers should provide them with your local security to take care of them while the project lasts in order for them not to suffer any hitches.
“Also, you should give them access to good borrow pit, so that they get quality materials that they will use to do this project; contractors take care of your people, especially those who will be securing their sites and I know that they’re going to employ so many people within these areas so that they will finish the job within the stipulated eighteen months.”
Also, the State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Hon (Barr) Chioma Nweze, while expatiating on the project added that the ring road project would be done on a concrete base.
“Today is very significant because when you sign a road contract, the date of handover is the day that it’s deemed that you have handed over the site to the contractors and they will set up their equipment and begin their work.
“His Excellency has renegotiated with the contractors that the road should be completed within eighteen months while still in office so that he will commission it and wherever there’s shoot out in the budget, he will know how the State may come in for it to be completed at the appropriate time.
“Just like you have heard the people saying that the road was last constructed since 1976-83 during Chief Jim Nwbodo’s time, the yearning of the people is the Governor’s concern. So, the people should expect a concrete road in the eight local government areas”
Earlier in a remark, the State Commissioner for Works and Transport Engr Ogbonnaya Obasi, said that the signing of the Agreement was for Section 3 and 4 of the Ring Road Project awarded under 4 lots.
“Lot 1 from Nwezenyi to Nwofe (71.23 km), awarded to Patan Nigeria Limited at the cost of N4.561 billion, Lot 2 covers from Nwofe to Nkoko (16. 23 km) awarded to LGC at the cost of N5.812 billion “
Lot 3 covers Ndoko to Ezzangbo (17.23 km ), awarded to CCT Limited at the cost of N4.602 billion,
Lot 4 covers Akpaka Umoko (16.23 km) awarded to Maco Limited at the cost of N5.625 billion.
The Commissioner disclosed that out of the Four Lots only lot 1 and 4 awarded to Patan Nigeria Limited and Maco Ltd had completed their Documentation and were signing the Agreement.
In their remarks, the Executive Chairmen, Izzi and Ebonyi Local Government Areas, Hon. Paul James Nwogha and Hon Chinyere Nwogbaga respectively described the project as putting a round peg in a round hole for the betterment of the people.
The Council Chairmen who lauded the State Governor for the initiative said the project would go a long way towards giving a boost to the economy of various communities and the State at large.
They noted that the road when completed would bring relief to the rural people who depend on the road to take their farm produce to the markets within and outside their communities.
The traditional ruler of Igbeagu Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Michael Ogbonnaya Ukwa and his Agbaja counterpart, Eze Stephen described the road project as a welcome development.
Eze Ukwa who prayed at the site thanked God and the State Governor, Engr David Umahi for remembering the people after over thirty years of abandonment of the ring road, assured the contractors of adequate security and their cooperation.
He equally prayed that the busy Nwezenyi junction would also attract a flyover to curb steady accident that has led to the loss of lives for a long time.
The Managing Director, Patan and Reinforce Global Joint Venture, Emile Wadih(Ogbajiri Igwe 1) appreciated the Umahi-led government for the project and pledged that the project would be delivered at the stipulated time even as he called on stakeholders of the area to give maximum support to the project.
According to Governor Umahi, “We have successfully completed phase one of the processes of the famous Abakaliki Ring road and we must first thank His Excellency, Jim Nwobodo who first articulated this and constructed the road, though on earth because of paucity of fund at that time and of course Chief Martin Elechi who also worked assiduously in the maintenance of the road, today, the entire road is gone but by the grace of God and the assistance of Mr President, if he is bad to other people, he is good to Ebonyi State and we are not afraid to say it, this man has helped Ebonyi State tremendously, and my Bible tells me that he who will pay evil for the good done unto him that evil will not depart from his household, so, Mr. President we are grateful as Ebonyi people because your assistance and the assistance you gave to other Governors is what has liberated Ebonyi State and put us in an irreversible gear that we will never go back to second slavery, so we are happy for this ring road, it is a total of 199 kilometers, Ebonyi State Government has constructed part of that as 25% required equity and so the phase one has started because we have signed the contract, and we are grateful to God for this project. When we finish it, Abakaliki Zone in particular and Ebonyi State, in general, will never remain the same.
Personalities who witnessed the event included the State deputy Governor Kelechi Igwe, Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen, Chief Executive of Patan Nigeria Limited , members of the State Executive Council among others.
5. GOVERNOR UMAHI HIGHLIGHTS OTHER FEATS BY HIS ADMINISTRATION
According to the amiable Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr. Umahi, “We are satisfied that at 25, Ebonyi State has been made a reference point in terms of network of solid roads, including our ongoing ring road project with ancillary works which are meant to connect 8-Local Government Areas. We have a shopping mall described as the microcosm of macrocosm of the Dubai Mall. We have beaten a record as a state with the highest number of flyovers after Abuja and Lagos. We have activated commercial activities through the construction of Margaret Umahi International Market, the Poultry Market, the Auto Spare Parts Market, Building Material Markets and many markets within the metropolis and satellite towns. We have upgraded our fertilizer blending plant to 80 metric tones capacity per hour to address the fertilizer needs of our people. We have reactivated the state Government’s rice milling plants and installed the parboiling plants to make Ebonyi a State with the biggest rice milling plant in Nigeria. We have a brand new University of Medical Sciences which shall be a centre of excellence for the treatment of terminal diseases and we have plans to start the construction of the University of Aeronautical Engineering and University of Science and technology. We have a virology centre that contains with the menace of lasser fever, the only one in the South East.
We have got the industrial clusters in each of the three Senatorial zones that will create opportunities for businesses. We have an emerging airport that will compete with the best airports in Nigeria. We have made efforts to give our state a good look through beautiful roundabouts, water fountains, street lights across the major parts of the state and Local government areas. The light tunnel named after Mr. President is a concept that gives the state a unique identity as a beautiful state. The Ecumenical Centre is a state-of-the-art edifice which hosts spiritual and social corporate events. The new Government House speaks volume of our determination to give our people a sense of self worth among our contemporaries. We have done quite a lot to transform the psyche and social stratum of our people through different human capital development programmes. We are developing estates including King David Estate, City Centre Estate, Salt City Estate, Low Cost Housing Estate and we are encouraging investment in estates by developers to enhance the socio-economic condition of all residents of Ebonyi State .We have created three satellite towns in the State. All these are socio- economic interventions that will create wealth and thousands of jobs for our population.
Time will fail me to mention all the modest achievements of our administration. Our mission is that through these numerous life transforming economic facilities, we shall enhance the welfare of our people and empower them to be self reliant and self sufficient. It is true that we have so many projects in our hands to conclude before we bow out, we are committed to ensuring their completion, utilization and sustainability, through private sector initiatives. ”
The fact remains that what this enigmatic leader has achieved in this past six years as the Governor of Ebonyi state is endless and I am convinced that he had proved himself as a blessing not only to his state but the entire nation
6. COMMISSIONING OF PROJECTS BY PRESIDENT BUHARI
In this regard, His Excellency highlighted thus, ” let me inform our stakeholders and indeed all Ebonyians that we have intention to dedicate November and December 2021 for the commissioning of our projects and to have our stakeholders and prominent Nigerians visit some of our completed and ongoing projects. We shall also slate a date in November to gather together to celebrate Gods kindness upon the State to mark the Silver Jubilee of Ebonyi State. It promises to be awesome. We will be inviting all institutions and organizations that helped us in one way or the other in the modest achievements of our Divine Mandate administration.
7. H. C. BARR ORJI THROWS MORE LIGHT ON ALL THESE
The unsung Orator from Ebonyi State, in throwing more light what is expected during the second visit of President Buhari to the State stated, ” Chief Eze, indeed the coming of President Buhari is to celebrate the giant strides of our dear Governor and through that opportunity, the whole world will see what our dear Governor has done in the area of infrastructural development. His coming will give us an opportunity to commission all the projects that have been completed and those that are yet to be completed will be flagged off by Mr President. I can tell you that we are set to commission our African biggest light tunnel; it is a four-way light tunnel linking to different facilities. We are going to celebrate the commissioning of Africa’s biggest shopping mall. The fact remains that on that historical event, we shall be celebrating the presence of Africa’s biggest ecumenical centre, we are celebrating the most beautiful Government House called the Three Arms Zone. We are celebrating the biggest south-east international market, we are celebrating the emergence of an ongoing international airport that when completed will be like Abuja and Lagos international Airports. We are celebrating the emergence of the University of Medical Sciences that has been adjudged by NUC to be the most beautiful, and it is going to be a centre of excellence for the treatment of those terminal diseases that normally take us out of this country”
Ebonyi State Governor Chief (Engineer) David Nweze Umahi is putting finishing touches to hold a grand reception for President Muhammadu Buhari during a state visit during which the president will commission a plethora of critical projects. Determined to finish strong in office as Governor, Umahi is one of the few governors in Nigeria who are regarded as being purposeful in leadership styles as he stands out in the areas of infrastructural, human capital and rural development.
Let me conclude this treatise by once again bringing the workaholic, visionary and untiring Governor who has turned his State into a construction site to give us more insight on his vision and determination to change the fortunes of the State positively.
“Chief Eze, it may interest you to note that I have flagged off the intervention projects totaling about 10km in Ozzizza and Mater roads, Oriuzo to the Airport road and Mgbo to Okwo market road, these are promises made in the campaign of 2015, it is not an easy thing, it is not convenient for us but through God’s mercies and grace, we must keep our promises, this we must do.”
Finally, while you stand in awe of all that the Government of Ebonyi State has done within just six years, one may wonder how a none Oil State and one of the smallest States with a constrained revenue fund base can successfully execute these myriads of projects. This speaks volume of the prudence of His Excellency in managing the resources of the State and this is what the Governor has exemplified so far. It depicts that good governance in Nigeria is possible with a leader with sincerity of purpose and a heart for the people.
If what I saw and witnessed in Ebonyi State is not a revolution then I need to be educated on what revolution is all about.
And if a none oil producing State like Ebonyi and one of the least States that collect funds from the Federation account could achieve all these then something is totally wrong with governance of most oil producing and richer States”
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and can be reached thru 08022049770 & email@example.com
Umahi & His New Ebonyi: Factors why he is called the True Road Master of Nigeria – Eze