The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, has said the region has benefitted more from the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government than from the Peoples Democratic Party’s rule of 16 years in the country.
Umahi claimed that the Igbo had a fair play in terms of economic and infrastructural development under Buhari which was missing under the PDP.
According to Vanguard, Umahi stated this in Lagos while speaking through his Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji.
The governor argued that the N10 billion airport rehabilitation, the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Enugu-Port-Harcourt Expressway and other infrastructures are pointers to the benefits the South-East states got from the Buhari administration.
“These are indications that this administration is helping the South-East a lot more than ever. We believe in constituted authorities, we believe in establishments. That is why we still have the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. We also believe in the leadership of governors and so, our various shades of opinion will not be a barrier to governance.
“The South-East has abiding faith in Nigeria as a nation. The labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. One of our most respected founding fathers, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was in the frontline of championing the cause of one Nigeria, the cause of an independent Nigeria and we cannot for any reason renege from that vision. People express opinions based on a lot of factors. There have been issues of marginalisation and under-development.
“You would recall that the 16-year rule of PDP did not give the South-East any progress. So, these accumulated issues made people to share different opinions but the majority opinion goes. Our leaders believe in one Nigeria where there is peace and I think it is high time Nigerian government considers the issue of conceding presidency to the South-East, no matter the political party.
“It is important to give everybody a sense of belonging, no matter the party. We should fight for the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Asked if Umahi is interested in running for Presidency, the commissioner said the governor had not said so.
“I know the governor does anything when he is inspired. For now, he is content and really saddled with how to deliver the dividends of democracy in Ebonyi State. So far, so good, we have seen in him a man of extraordinary ability, a performer, a pace-setter and God’s instrument and a vessel of honour in Ebonyi State. There is a great difference. Before he came on board, we had no confidence as a people but all that has changed.
“I want to say that despite our emotions, despite our sentiments, despite some encounters we must have had in the hands of criminals or bandits, whether they are of herdsmen or of kidnappers, that should not derogate from the fact that we can get criminals anywhere in any part of Nigeria.
”But essentially, government of every state under this federal system that we operate, including the federal government has a primary responsibility under the constitution to secure and protect the lives and property of the citizens.
“That is not negotiable. If any government does compromise that, that government will fail in its responsibility. Having said that, I want to say that the South-East governors are doing very well. In Ebonyi State, we have a strategic blueprint on how to tackle insecurity comprehensibly. On the issue of criminals, we have fortified security and we have put in place necessary facilities to checkmate criminals including making Ebonyi a smart city state whereby CCTV cameras were installed in different junctions in the state to monitor the activities of these criminals.”