David Umahi’s Diseased Dichotomy

If the good people of Ebonyi State were not exactly sure what they walked themselves into in 2015 when they elective David Umahi to be their Governor, they will be left in no doubt when his uneventful tenure screeches to a halt next year. To succeed him as Governor, he has anointed the current speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru. For Ebonyians, the prayer is a fervent one indeed.

A mixed bag

  Those who have been following closely say that in seven years, Governor Umahi has changed the infrastructural fortunes of Ebonyi State. An Engineer by profession, he has seemingly bought to bear his lifelong learning in laying out an infrastructural landscape in Ebonyi that will abide for many years.

So impressed have some people been with Governor Umahi `s achievements in this wise that they have described Ebonyi State as the Africa`s Dubai.

If Governor Umahi has endeared himself to many by constructing flyovers and bridges in Abakaliki, his brand of politics has succeeded in alienating many more.

Elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015 and reelected in 2019 on the same platform, he has since defected to the All  Progressives Congress, and with his defection has come an uncontrollable verbal diarrhea that has never failed to ruffle the feathers of his kinsmen from the Southeast, many of who are ill at ease with the current Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

Whether it is in wild statements injurious to the common interests of the Igbos or in actions that have compromised the collective interest of the Southeast geopolitical zone, Governor Umahi has shown himself to be one who hunts with the hound but runs with the hair.

 An impaired insight.

Heartbreakingly, students of tertiary institutions within the country are approaching a sixth straight months sat at home as the routine feud between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU)continues. As usual, the battle lines are drawn along questions of broken promises and poor welfare.

If the strike action has done anything to Nigeria at all, it has lifted the skirts of some of those who serve Nigeria in different capacities and exposed their unsightly nakedness for the world to see.

The strike action was already on when Nigeria`s political money fest recently came and passed with some serving public officers effortlessly doling out hundreds of millions of naira to pick up tickets to contest various political offices.

The strike was already on when the Federal Government disbursed a whooping 1.4 billion dollars to purchase vehicles for Niger Republic in a move that had more to do with family interests than public interests as the presidency claimed.

Recently, Governor Umahi was asked for his thoughts on the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. And he took little time to bare the ugly nakedness of his thought process.

While insisting that the Federal Government should not be expected to borrow to meet the demands of ASUU and get Nigeria`s undergraduate students back to class, the Governor also insisted that university education is not for everyone.

Yet, he has a degree himself which invariably means he has something he is now unjustifiably saying everyone who desires should not at least have the chance to get. Which yardstick did Umahi use to determine that university education is not for everyone? Apart from the   shocking mentality many of our public officers have that they are more equal than others, what possibly could have informed Umahi`s revealing position that university education is not for everybody.

In a country losing its way by the day, should even the most underprivileged Nigerians who are willing not be supported to pick up a university degree at least?

And who would not want university education? The discrimination people with qualifications from polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education face is enough to make anyone avoid them. But there is hardly ever enough space in available universities to accommodate those who want to come in.

Umahi`s mentality apparently has a lot to do with why Ebonyi State is where it is today, posting some of the country`s worst human development indices in the process.

Given the unique challenges Nigeria currently contends with as a country and the well-publicized benefits of quality education, should not the highest premium be placed on the highest levels of education for all Nigerians?

Apparently, for Umahi and his ilk, priorities lie elsewhere. There will be very few tears when he leaves office next year.

 Kene Obiezu,

Twitter @kenobiezu@gmail.com

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