Abia Onyike, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State, has said the people of the state will decide who becomes their next governor through the ballot, and that such decision cannot be made by David Umahi, the incumbent governor.
Onyike in a statement on Saturday, said Umahi has continued to take Ebonyi people for granted, accusing him of “ruining the fortunes of the young state and is about to bequeath a horrible legacy of maladministration which has resulted in the abject poverty and hopelessness of the citizenry.”
According to Onyike, “the once vibrant and resourceful state has been run aground. It is the 4th poorest state in Nigeria today and the most wretched in Southern Nigeria. The state now suffers from an astronomical debt port-folio of over N160 billion borrowed from multiple financial institutions. Such a terrible debt overhang may enslave our children yet unborn if nothing drastic is done to rescue the state and redirect it’s affairs.
“This unenviable profile resulted from Gov Umahi’s strange and autocratic leadership style wherein the institutions of state were personalized and privatized just as government policies were implemented without due process and in utter disregard for extant rules and regulations of the public service.
“Administrative recklessness bred lawlessness and political brigandage which in turn fuelled uncontrollable communal disturbances and wanton destruction of lives and properties in the state. Ebonyi state has known no peace since Gov Umahi mounted the saddle of Governance in 2015 because of his divide and rule tactics.
“After leading the state on this regrettable and inglorious path of self-inflicted destruction, Gov Umahi is not yet satisfied. He is now intoxicated with power and wants to carry his luck too far.
“He usurped the powers of the vital organs of his party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) by imposing his surrogate, Hon. Francis Nwifuru as the sole candidate, a public pronouncent he made during a funeral ceremony in Okposi, in Ohaozara LGA several months before the party primaries.
“Having realised that Ebonyians have rejected his self-imposed candidate, Gov Umahi recently resorted to casting aspersions on the candidates of opposition political parties in the state. His incoherent aspersions on the person of the PDP Governorship candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is meaningless because there is nothing he can do to change the popular choice of Ebonyians and that is the beauty of democracy.
“His often quoted comments on candidates he would have preferred as opposed to others who eventually emerged from the party primaries tend to project him as an anti democratic element who works hard to undermine the unity and solidity of the political parties positioning to take over power in the 2023 general elections. Umahi is talking as if he has the constitutional powers and privileges to determine those who will succeed him.
“The fact of the matter is that Ebonyians have resolved to regain their political freedom by taking steps to rescue the state from further slide into destruction and destitution. Ebonyians are moving en-mass through the instrumentality of the forthcoming ekections to recover the governance of the state from Umahi’s failed experiments.
“The people of Ebonyi state today are geared towards enthroning a new leadership based on capacity, antecedents and proven track records. Wherever the leader comes from has become immaterial at the moment. Umahi must respect the will of the people.
“Ebonyians have come to realize that Gov Umahi himself constitutes the problem of the state and any candidate he supports for the 2023 elections stands to be rejected by the people of the state. Herein lies Gov Umahi’s current frustration and desperation. Let him stop his grandstanding and squarely face the concrete realities of the situation on ground.
“Everything that has a beginning must have an end. And the case of Umahi cannot be an exception.”