In this interview by GRACE EGBO, the Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Media and Publicity, Deacon Francis Nwaze, X-rays the administration of Governor Dave Umahi in the last few years.
Ebonyi State is 25 years. How would you compare its development with the welfare of the people?
Somebody that is 25 years could merely trying to put things in order. At 25,you are still trying to put yourself in order even if after you may have left a higher academic institution. At that stage, you are trying to get things working for you but I can tell you that Ebonyi has actually grown. It is almost above its peer; it is almost at the stage of settling down to get things working perfectly well having put a lot of things in place. When it comes to the welfare of the people, the present administration has done well in that aspect. In human capital development, you will recall that over 500 Ebonyians living in Lagos State were empowered with amount of money ranging from N250,000 and above to start businesses of their choice. Some natives that are okada riders in Anambra State were brought back to the state and empowered with tricycles and these tricycles cost between N700,000 and N1 million each and you are also aware that recently, the governor empowered 40 Ebonyians with fund ranging from N1.5million to N5 million. You are also aware that there are a lot of farm inputs that are being given to farmers. You are also aware that everywhere in the state is a construction site and Ebonyians are working in those sites and the money is circulating within the state. This administration has done so well in human capital development.
The 2023 general election is fast-approaching, what do you think are afew of the likely challenges in the state?
Are there actually challenges? There may be just very few challenges; challenges of fake news. This is the only place you can talk of challenges because when people see black and call it white and see white and call it black, it is a very big challenge. Fake news is not doing us any good but to the glory of God, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly recently passeda law against fake news. So, that way, we are doing everything possible to curb fake news. We are on top of the matter and I can assure you that 2023 will be a smooth transition. We have nothing to fear. The people in the opposition don’t even know how to be in opposition in Ebonyi State. Constructive criticism is very important and if you really want to do opposition, it is not about personal interest. If you are doing opposition, it is about bringing information that the man in charge is not aware and you tell him what should be done to correct certain things. That is constructive criticism. If you want to do opposition, you don’t abuse your leaders because it’s a mere waste of time. So, the bottom-line is that the people are already in the know. It funny though, there is this person that was in the acting capacity in one opposition party in the state. He has the penchant for castigating the governor. At the slightest opportunity, he will castigate the governor and lay all rain all kinds of abuses on the governor forgetting that the governor is a man on a divine mission. He struggled and did everything possible to return as the chairman of the party and he was thrown into the gutters and he started wailing. Till today, there is nothing for him in the party and he has gone incommunicado. So, that is how God works. It happened in 2015; it happened in 2019 and it was smooth transition.
Are you saying there is no opposition in the state?
In every 12, there must be Judas but in this state, it is not even like that. What we are having in this state is in every one million, we have like three or four, which means we are doing very well because I can tell you that those in the opposition are not up to five percent of the Ebonyi people. So, we have a whole lot on that aspect and we have a whole lot on that direction.
What is the level of insecurity in the state?
Why we have police, DSS, Army, Civil Defence and other security agents in the country is that there is existence of criminality. There are good and bad people everywhere. But I can assure you that Ebonyi is one of the most secured states in thecountry because of whom we have as the governor. He is truly the Chief Security officer of the state and he is in charge and the security agents in the state are doing very well. We now have Ebubeagu Security Network and it is doing well in grass roots security, cooperating and working with the conventional security architecture of the state. In South East, Ebonyi is about that you rarely hear what you are hearing when you want to compare, Ebonyi secured as you can see and we are pushing forward.