Top 10 achievements, failures of Gov. Umahi of Ebonyi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

Road construction: Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has completed over 20 roads within the capital city of Abakaliki.  He has rebuilt some federal roads, especially the Afikpo-Abakaliki Road and the Nkalagu Road.

Education: The immediate past administration was unable to secure billions of naira in counterpart funding from the Universal Basic Education Commission. The Umahi administration paid its contribution and obtained the money with which it began reconstructing and equipping schools. He also approved the promotion of the state university staff – a decision that had stalled for years.

Health: The administration declared emergency in the health sector and began the reconstruction of general hospitals in the state. It also built the first virology centre in the south east from scratch, to reduce Lassa fever deaths.

Agriculture: Perhaps, the best achievement of the state government so far is its agricultural initiative. The administration poured billions of naira into the sector as soft loans to farmers, targeting expanded rice farming. The plan worked and rice production tripled this year. The government also procured parboiling machines for its three rice mills. It is also partnering with the federal government and the central bank in this regard, with the objective of making the state the nation’s biggest producer of rice.

Workers welfare: The government has paid workers’ salaries till date and workers have received 13th month salaries for the last two years. Salaries are paid before 20th of every month, while those of teachers are paid before the 15th of every month. Pension of retired workers are also paid as and when due. The government said it will start to pay owed gratuities in installments. Gratuities have not been paid since the creation of the state in 1996.

Failures

New tax regime: The governor has been widely criticised for introducing a new tax regime for every resident.

Reduction of workers’ salary: The governor’s decision to revert to the old salary structure for workers, from the new structure approved by his predecessor, has not gone down well with the workers. But the governor argued that the decision was needed to enable the state meet its financial obligations without borrowing.

Family business: The governor has pushed his brothers into influential positions in the state. His immediate younger brother was made the National Vice Chairman South East of PDP. Another brother is also the State Deputy Chairman of the party. The most acrimonious of these is the appointment of his elder brother as traditional ruler of his uburu autonomous community against the wishes of majority of the people.

Illegal fees in schools: Despite insisting that education in primary and secondary schools is free, the government has not stopped schools from collecting illegal fees.

Wastage of funds: After spending over N250 million to renovate the governor’s lodge, the governor in September laid the foundation for the construction of a new government house with a governor’s lodge, raising questions about why he renovated the lodge when he knew he intended to build a new one.

 


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