By Tony Udemba
Rev. Dr. Jacinta Nwakaego Nworie, Director-General, the Hand That Cares Foundation, HTCF, a humanitarian non -governmental organization, has described the Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi as a man of uncommon vision and a great achiever. In this interview, she said the governor was specially sent by God to deliver the people of Ebonyi from the many decades of abject darkness inflicted on the state and its people by past visionless and selfish leadership into an era of development and transformation.
How would you describe the leadership of the Ebonyi State governor, Chief Dave Umahi?
As a patriotic citizen of Ebonyi State who has traversed all nooks and crannies of the state, and have equally seen the giant transformational strides of our dear governor, I would want to make it categorically clear that Governor Dave Umahi is doing creditably well in every facet of the state. Therefore, he deserves to be honoured and celebrated by well-meaning people of Ebonyi State, and indeed by all Nigerians. For many years, our state had walloped in abject poverty, darkness, and even abandoned and forgotten mainly due to the lack of vision and poor leadership by past governments, until the coming of the present governor, Chief Dave Umahi, who came into office on a rescue mission. His administration ushered in much needed hope and pathway which our people had cried for over the years, and within few years of his government, everyone in the state and even visitors alike can easily testify to the wonderful achievements of the governor. Much to the expectations of the people, Gov. Umahi has brought joy without limitations to the state and its citizens. All over Ebonyi State, people are saying that Umahi has performed very well, and therefore deserves the support and encouragement of the people to enable him keep on with the good work he is doing. Today in our state, both the young and the old, men and women, civil servants and private workers, traditional rulers, professionals and artisans, as well as traders, farmers and other groups of people have all spoken well about his quality leadership and people friendly policies.
In the past three years that he has been in office as the governor of Ebonyi State, Umahi has done very well, and has also succeeded in developing and transforming the state beyond everyone’s imagination. In just few years in office, he has invested so much in diverse sectors in the state, and has truly performed creditably well. He has opened the economy of the state and built up modern infrastructures, including road networks across the state, using concrete, thereby becoming the first governor to adopt such technology in Nigeria and Africa. He also built modern flyovers in the state capital, Abakaliki, modern roundabouts with water fountains at strategic locations, and lightened up the roads with streetlights. The governor has so much beautified the state capital and lit up its network of roads that many visitors refer to the city as the “Dubai of Africa”.
Simply put, he has turned our state into an enviable and respectable state in Nigeria, placed many widows on monthly allowance, empowered many youths with tricycles and funds to set up their various businesses, paid hospital bills to the sick and brought smiles to so many lives. Before now, Ezza people were severely marginalized by previous governments, but today, our dear governor has made it possible for Ezza to occupy envious positions in his administration. Before now, pastors were not allowed to preach on radio or television but today, the story is no longer the same. Our governor has also identified with the church in the state, and even built an ultra-modern Ecumenical Centre for the worship of God. Equally, he has revolutionized the agricultural sector, especially the rice value chain, and empowered thousands of our youths and women through his numerous economic empowerment programmes. Looking at the solid mineral sector, the governor has thoroughly re-engineered the sector, and supported it with policies aimed at effectively regulating and monitoring the activities of miners, merchants and other stakeholders in the sector for safety, ease-of-doing business and improved revenue generation to the government, among others. If I begin to mention all that the governor is doing, the pages of the newspaper may not be enough to contain them.
What are your views on the uncommon transformation taking place in your state?
First of all, I would want to give special thanks and sing songs of praises to Almighty God for all that He has been doing for the good people of Ebonyi State, especially for using our dear governor, Chief Dave Umahi, as a divine vessel to rescue the Ebonyi people from many decades of darkness and backwardness inflicted on the people by past visionless and selfish governments. The situation then was worse than what happened during the biblical years of the great locust invasion.
Our people were like a forgotten race, with no hope of transforming to something better. Instructively, while we were bemoaning our fate, we never knew that God was busy planning something big that will bring visible changes to our people. Alas, when we had almost lost hope, God in His infinite mercy, brought to us, Dave Umahi, a man of great vision, tenacity of purpose and political sagacity to thoroughly navigate the state and its people out of the years of locusts. Truly,
God used him to bring out the state from the darkest part of the pit and usher us into the ambers of sunlight. And today, Ebonyi people have been completely severed from the years of perennial darkness and oblivion, and we are now in the era of sunshine. It would be recalled that while he served as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and later deputy governor of Ebonyi State, he took enough time to traverse every nook and cranny of the state to gather first hand information about the many challenges facing the state. And, having realized how bad the situation was, when he was sworn in as the state governor, he devoted his time and energy and ensured that he was adequately prepared for the job ahead. Today, everyone can see what God is using him to achieve in Ebonyi, as he has totally transformed every part of the state and opened the eyes of the citizens.
How would you describe some of the efforts of your organization?
First and foremost, the Hand That Cares Foundation, HTCF, is a non-governmental, non-religious and not- for- profit organisation, with the divine mandate to bring succour to the less- privileged, the sick, the needy, the widows and other vulnerable people in the society, amongst others. And, with the help of our able Chairman, Sir.
Mike Okiro, we have continued to successfully deliver on these areas. he organization which was founded over ten years ago in Lagos has its orporate headquarters in Abuja; though few years ago, we ubstantially extended our activities to Ebonyi State in response to he spiritual injunction which directed us to do so. Ever since then, we had continued to collaborate with the Ebonyi State government and ther SBOs, CBOs and other well-meaning individuals and organizations. In some parts of the state, particularly in Ezza, and others, we had constructed water boreholes, rural electrifications, distributed free exercise books, and carried out various youths and women empowerment programmes, aimed at improving the well being of the rural people. Touching peoples’ lives, while seeing laughter on their faces, has been our strongest drive.
What is your take on the spate of insecurity across the nation?
The situation is critical and worrisome. It is unfortunate that our beloved and peaceful nation is passing through such a trial moment, with so much insecurity, killings , kidnappings and destructions of properties, across the Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern parts of the country. As at the last count, no part of the nation seems to be immune from this spate of animalistic violence which is fast tearing our beloved nation apart. But, as a good Christian, who strongly believes that there is no situation that God cannot turn around for better, I would want to urge all Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers, eschew all acts of violence and hatred against one another, and imbibe peace, unity and mutual co-existence amongst all, irrespective of tribal, religious or cultural differences.
Nigerians wherever they reside, must realize that the gospel of love, peace and unity is better than killings, violence and hatred. Our leaders at all levels must ensure that there is no trial moment like this in the life of our nations; it behooves on them to sacrifice their various interests, and join hands together in order to move the nation forward. Similarly, it is also the responsibility of every individual, organisation and community, to join hands together with government to ensure that peace reigns across the nation. As responsible and patriotic citizens, we must not abandon that role to the government alone. Therefore, all hands must be on the deck.
Message to the people of Ebonyi State
I wish to call on the good people of the state to support the good work our dear governor, Umahi is doing in order to encourage him to remain steadfast and do more. Our people must ensure that Ebonyi remains peaceful at all times. Again, I would like to make a passionate plea to our youths to eschew violence and any act of criminality, and to allow themselves to be used by promoters of hate and evil. We must be tolerant to one another, and also remember that life is sacred. It is very sad and totally unacceptable to see our beloved nation, descend into such unimaginable state of despair, violence, bloodletting , kidnappings and various acts of criminality.
I tend to wonder how Nigeria, the giant of Africa and the greatest black nation in the world descended into this worrisome state, even as I pray to almighty to touch the hearts of all Nigerians, and return peace and unity back to our nation.