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Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Swimming Against Heavy Political Tide

....By Obasi Nweze

My attention has been drawn to another desperate press interview granted by the factional chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze, where he boasted that he would remove Gov David Umahi, of Ebonyi state, from power in 2019.

In a bid to occupy space on our local and national tabloids, he went on, reciting the incalculable damage Umahi government had allegedly done to the state’s economy, its workforce and its residents.

Surely, statements by Eze Nwachukwu Eze and other APC jesters that surround him, have become random uttterances that nobody should take seriously.

Needless to say, the self acclaimed pastor, is confused and conflicted. He seems to have lost touch with reality and this is what often happens when you spend too much time dining with hatred.

Nwachukwu's remarks is a follow-up to an earlier outburst last month against Chief Umahi. In fact, the supreme target of his daily life now is to taint Umahi's image with screaming headlines.

First, he alleged that the governor has no industrial blueprint or plan to attract investors to the state.

This allegation is laughable coming few weeks after the governor's return from China after an economic shuttle.  Part of his itinerary in China was to explore ways of training thousands of Ebonyi youths on industrial technology, with emphasis on coupling of vehicle parts and machines.

Just recently, Ebonyi State Government signed an agreement with Union Dicon Salt Plc for the establishment of a cassava farm and a cassava processing factory in the state.

This industrial explosion is highlighted further by the groundbreaking signing of Deed of Understanding with the core investor at Nigerian Cement Company (NIGERCEM) Nkalagu, to revive the moribund cement factory, with attendant employment opportunities. Already series of agreements have been signed with expatriate companies for building of shopping malls at various strategic points in the state. What about the ongoing finishing touches going on at the international market in Abakaliki.

In the Agriculture sector, Ebonyi State Government procured 40 tractors to rev up its efforts to revolutionise agriculture and turn around its economic fortune. In contrast to Nwachukwu's claims on lack of activity in the sector, Governor Umahi has  made bold moves to emphasize rice production which state is known for all over the world.

To this end, three tractors was allocated to each of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state to work on about 85 hectares of land mapped out for rice cultivation across the state this farming season.

Similarly, ebonyi state government is collaborating with IFAD to cultivate a six hectare rice farmland and FADAMA III for  two hectares.

The administration had also taken delivery of the three rice parboiling machines procured by the previous administration in the state. Installation of the parboiling machines at the three state-owned modern rice mills in Ikwo, Izzi and Oso Edda had also commenced.

The governor government is equally partnering UNIDO to install another modern rice mill that would be handed over to the Abakaliki Rice Millers when fully installed.

On the allegation that the Governor has misused grants from donor agencies, it is imperative to clarify that the N2bn Federal Government Loan for rice production was intact and would be disbursed to genuine farmers who met the conditions attached to it.

Governor Umahi has further stated that the government would give out seeds, fertilizer and chemicals worth over N400m to farmers as loan this farming season.

The present government has introduced school agriculture, and is currently working on three schools as pilot farms in each of the three senatorial zones.

As I am writing this piece, all the available land at the permanent site of the state university had been converted to tomato farmland for massive production of tomatoes for domestic and international consumption.

On youth and women empowerment, the governor informed that empowerment of the youth and women would be the focus of government in the coming months.

The Ebonyi blueprint on agriculture envisaged that within two years of implementation, the State would be exporting rice, fish and vegetables, among others.

No doubt, the opposition functions as a stabilizing force within the polity but I believe that Pastor Eze got it quite wrong here.

He is in error and he needs to sit up, reconsider his views and review his unsavoury and disrespectful contribution.

Confrontation and strong disagreements are not uncommon phenomena in a democracy but there should be a limit.

The state is moving on strong with the PDP led government. Umahi is a good product for Ebonyi people and that is why Eb people are behind him.

Over the last one  year, Gov Umahi has transformed Ebonyi and achieved what was said to be impossible.

However, the Ebonyi project work is in progress and we are at the most delicate part of this journey.

It will be a huge risk for all of us if we revert political power to those who lack deep understanding of how to link the achievements of the last one year with the current situation in Nigeria. We cannot afford any reversals or slowdown in the pace of the achievements we have made to date.

There is a lot more that still has to be done, we still have to construct thousands of kilometers of roads into rural communities and farms; scores of schools still need to be renovated; we need to further strengthen our service delivery to our people by training and equipping our civil service;

Umahi has demonstrated the capacity to raise and access the investments required to build on the past in order to realize the vision.

He has shown the managerial and intellectual experience to manage the  affairs of the State in the difficult and precarious situation we find ourselves.

If you cast your mind back to the various crude steps taken by  labor to capture Ebonyi State through arm twisting of the political structure, you'll definitely take substance in Umahi as God's choice for the state.

The resounding victory recorded by Umahi in all the 13 local councils in the state ought to have sent signals to the plotters of his removal that they are swimming against heavy political tide.

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