Umahi’s re-election in Ebonyi is guaranteed by the electorate, says Akpu-Enika

Zenith

As the 2019 general elections close up, pundits have it that the
election might be tough in Ebonyi State whereas the Anambra State born
Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Ebonyi State, Hon. Charles Emeka
Akpu-Enika in this interview with Dallas Onyema says the governorship
will be easier than the previous. He x-rays the high point of the
David Umahi-led administration, the romance with non-indigenes.
Excerpt:

You are an indigene of Anambra State. How did you come into Ebonyi State politics?

I came into politics in Ebonyi State even before PDP was formed. I contested under non-party arrangement, but in 1999 I became the pioneer Youth Leader of PDP in my ward, Ward Four, Azugwu/Azumili,
Abakaliki. Thereafter I became the Councillor of the same ward between 2002 and 2004.
But when I wanted another term as the Councillor, the
immediate past governor of Ebonyi state, Chief Martin Elechi, stopped
non-indigenes from contesting councillorship elections and such other
positions.
You recall Dr. Jab Okolo, who was to be re-elected as House
of Assembly member was stopped during the primaries because he is not
an indigene. All non-indigenes under that Elechi’s administration were stopped from going for elective positions.
But the trend has changed since David Umahi became the state governor. Umahi has open-door-approach to governance.
He is open to
everybody not minding where you come from. Today, I am a Commissioner
not minding that I am from Okuzu in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State. We also have Member 1 of UBEB, Chief Rose Ezeadikwa, who hails from Anambra. We have other non-indigenes in the
administration including Technical Assistants to the Governor.
We have an Hausa man as a Technical Assistant; we have an Abia State man, Nkem
Madu, who also is a Technical Assistant to the Governor. We have another man from Anambra, Uchem Oka.
We have eight Technical
Assistants to the Governor who are non-indigenes.

Some people think that Ebonyi people are timid, only good for house help?

Honestly, Ebonyi people are not timid. I was born and brought up
here. I must tell you without fear or favour. Governor David
Umahi is one of the best brains in Nigeria and he is an Ebonyi man.
Those of us who are privileged to work with him have become fresh students. You cannot stay with him and not learn how to improve your
life, spiritually and physically.
He has made us better managers of resources, better mangers of families and relationships, more so with
our God. You know, the best teaching is living what you preach. How would anybody talk of Ebonyi people being timid, or you are talking of
humility. If humility I would say they are. if you think you could mess up with the average Ebonyi man, he gives it hard and
raw to you. Mind you, Ebonyi has produced great minds and men who shaped affairs of this country. You talk of Dr. Akanu Ibiam, you think
of former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governor Sam Ominyi Egwu, now a Senator and host of others.

You are part of the Umahi-led administration; where do you think he should make amends
and where would you say he is doing fine?

Maybe you are talking of the sectors that need more attention. No doubt some more attention need to be paid to some sectors but I tell you that with what the administration has done in two years no one
needs to raise any doubts as the capacity and will of the
administration to continuously guide Ebonyi State to very enviable heights well above even the older states even with the harsh economic
situations across the globe. It is clear even to the opposition that David Umahi is God-sent to the Ebonyi people and the Nigerian nation.
When you come to infrastructure, even e as a
Commissioner I cannot state with certainty the number of roads he has done within two years in office as Governor. How would you count? You might pass through a road the next time you go through same road you
see it reconstructed within three months.
I travelled to Anambra, I
was ashamed. Anambra that receives far above the allocation that
accrues to Ebonyi also as it concerns IGR suffers the bad roads that now litter the state.
In Ebonyi State you hardly see potholes now.
Federal roads have been reconstructed by Governor Umahi. You can now
cruise through Abakaliki/Afikpo federal highway like you are driving
through a boulevard. Amasiri/ Okposi/Uburu federal road, section of
Abakaliki/Enugu federal highway and many others have been
reconstructed by the Ebonyi government. It is massive. And these are
done within records times. I wonder where he gets the money to do these works. And these are not the ordinary roads construction you
know. These are concrete roads, nine inches tick. He has completed three
flyovers, street light across the capital territory. Apart from roads, Abakaliki Township Stadium that was abandoned by the former Governor Elechi has been turned to one of the best stadia in the country. The VIP section is air-conditioned and equipped with toilets,
conveniences, steady power supply. Two brand new generators, standy.
We have digital score board there. The flood lighting facility is the
latest available in the world. As I speak, the stadium guest house is
under construction. That stadium can host Arsenal. Just go there and
see what this man has done just within two years.

He gave you Ministry of Sports where people say there is no money?

Don’t mind them. Money is everywhere. I tell you; today people are envying my ministry, wanting to swap. Don’t wait for money to come. Just be creative and confident. Initiate viable programmes and you get the right partnership, you naturally get the attention of the
government but when all you think of doing is writing proposals,
waiting for funds, you remain a complainant.

Even as you speak, there are suspicions that the 2019 governorshi
elections in Ebonyi would be tough especially from the flanks of the APC?

My brother, forget that. We have been here. We know who is who in Ebonyi. We know their capacity. Will it be tough when those behind the
noise are now outside the corridors of power? If they could fail
woefully even with the powers of government how much would they do now? The APC you talked about has no chance in Ebonyi. If it were in
some other climes, people should line up, plead with Umahi to continue unopposed. I laughed when I saw former governor Elechi
talking against Umahi. I thought that these elders should have stopped their deceit. The people have been convinced by the good works of the Umahi-led administrations. The kicks from the opposition elements are
not even able to distract the governor. His re-election is guaranteed by the electorate.