ABAKALIKI/Nigeria: The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has taken swipes at the impressive remarks accorded the Engr. David Umahi-led government in Ebonyi State by President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the state, saying “the state still remains the poverty capital of the entire Southern Nigeria.”
The Ebonyi indigenes said the claim was true according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and that the fact has not changed. Rather, it has only worsened.
President Buhari during a dinner organised for him by the Ebonyi state government at the new Exco chambers during his two-day visit had positively appraised the Umahi administration, noting among others; “the significant projects executed by Your Excellency in the last seven years. You have done your people proud. I am pleased by the economic development records of the state under your administration, the wonderful network of roads, critical infrastructure, and investment opportunity that you have created in the state. I have noted the progress in the economic performance index of the state, particularly the budget office rating and the SFTAS commendable records about your budgeting principles…”
But reacting to the comments through a statement released Saturday in Abuja by the President of the association, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, faulted the claime that Umahi’s infrastructural strides have translated to improved economic indices and better living standards among the people of the state.
“On President Buhari’s obnoxious claims on improved economy for our dear State, AESID feels obligated to inform Mr. President, remind Umahi and the rest of the world that our Ebonyi still remains the poverty capital of the entire Southern Nigeria according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS and that fact has not changed. Rather, it has only worsened. This is more so because in his intentional wickedness, Umahi has only continued his use of ghostly ‘Umahi and Sons Ltd’ to award and execute most if not all fiscal and infrastructural projects except for perhaps a few that falls on his cronies desk.
“As a group which has been compelled to intervene in providing succour to some internally-displaced- persons due to communal conflicts, we are aware that the awful rating of Ebonyi as the poorest State in Southern Nigeria with about 80% Poverty index according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics is very real and the people cannot wait for the Umahi cup to pass them over so their over-taxed and burdened means of livelihoods could breathe some fresh air.
“As a body, desirous of seeing a genuinely prosperous and economically viable Ebonyi which has severally lamented about Governor Umahi’s locust years in governance which has delibrately created massive hunger and poverty as a coercive tool to whip the poor Ebonyians into his line of subjective submissions, AESID seriously condemns the concocted lies, infantile deceits and elitest mockery which the wasteful jamboree called Presidential visit has brought upon our poor state.
“To drive home our points, we recall that in December last year during the inauguration of the new Bishop of Abakaliki Catholic Diocese that the Governor, in his usual spur-of-the-moment candour officially handed over the so-called King David Medical University situated in his Uburu village and said to be officially registered in his name to the Church to manage it as a Mission’s school.
“How come the same institution which modalities have already advanced for full takeover by the church was again handed over to the Federal Government? Does Umahi think that Ebonyi people are that unthinking not to even deserve an answer and the following of due process?”
The group alleged secrecy in most of the contracts awards and executions by the Umahi’s administration.
“We may live and do businesses elsewhere but there’s no denying the fact that Umahi’s seven years reign has deliberately impoverished Ebonyi arguably more than any government in Nigeria’s history! We are therefore at a loss as to who fed Buhari with the lies and claims he dished out to discerning members of the Nigerian public and the rest of the world?
“Ironically and as diasporans knowledgeable about the goings on in Nigeria particularly as it concerns our nation’s economy, we are aware that Buhari’s understanding of simple economics and it’s indices vis-a-vis National growth and development is horribly shallow. A leader with such a credential cannot therefore in our wisdom be in the right stead to pass a right verdict on Ebonyi’s economic growth and development.
“He could have simply enjoyed the special Abakaliki rice offered him by his hosts amidst lavished praise-singing and returned back to Aso Rock. After all, our arguably profligate Governor has been donating and lavishing Ebonyi’s scarce resources on him and those around him whom he has been frolicking around, pretending to be ‘consulting’ for the 2023 Presidential race.
“We know that the Abakaliki rice specie is so sweet that one could eat same and forget about actual realities and this is why AESID urges discerning members of the Ebonyi, nay Nigerian public to ignore the praises heaped on Umahi and his government by his visitors. We know that having looted Ebonyi’s treasury to stupor, Umahi is desperately seeking for a cover from EFCC after his ruinous reign in Ebonyi, hence his desperation to handover the property and the entire state if it were possible to Buhari-led FG.”
The group, however, asked the anti-graft agency to investigate the ownership and the “numerous cosmetic projects executed by Umahi such as the Medical school, airport, among other conduit pipes for massive corruption.
“On the hand, we most sincerely commend the Catholic Church in Ebonyi State and particularly the Bishop of Abakaliki Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Fr. Peter Chukwu Nworie for their roles in ensuring that Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta was finally granted bail by the Court just as we commend the judiciary for the role it played. As his trial continues, we further urge them and the Church to be fair and firm in ensuring that justice is not only seen to be done but very well done!”