Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, on Monday said that God will give Nigeria a president “who has a good heart like President Muhammadu Buhari for the good of this country” in 2023.
Umahi spoke while addressing State House correspondents after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor praised the President on some landmark projects in the South East, especially the Second Niger Bridge which, he said, was becoming a reality; and the award of the eastern corridor of the railway line which he said would accelerate commercial activities in the region.
When asked about his reason for visiting the State House, Umahi said, “I came to see, Mr. President. One is to thank him very highly for a number of mega projects that he is doing in the southeast. The second Niger Bridge is fast becoming a reality. Each time we visit that bridge location, it is always like a dream.
“So, we the people of the South East are very grateful to Mr. President for this.
“We also thank him for the award of these Eastern corridors of the railway line. This is a project that is going to fast track the commercial activities of our people.
“I recall that when I was in school, I used to take a train from my state, Ebonyi and then get up to Maiduguri where my brothers were staying, for my holidays. Mr. President is about restoring that hope. We are deeply very grateful.
“But I also reminded Mr. President that one of his cardinal objectives is to integrate South East or the state capitals, but in putting together the project through South East that is the capital of Ebonyi state, which is Abakaliki and capital of Anambra state, which is Awka, were omitted.
“And I reminded Mr. President that the South East governors had requested that I write, which I did, but not yet approved by the Honourable Minister of Transport, which Mr. President said he will find out why they were omitted in the first place.
“I am very, very hopeful that Mr. President is going to give approval to those two locations. And also the limestone granos to fast-track the fertiliser presidential initiative, which has helped the country Nigeria so much in food sufficiency.
“Let me point out that without the effort of Mr. President, through this fertiliser initiative and other programmes in the agricultural sector, it would have been a very difficult time for this country. And so that project is supposed to produce a large set of granules to enable us to produce fertilisers to serve the South-South, South East and part of North Central.”
The Governor hinted that Buhari has already approved and disbursed the funds into the Solid Mineral Development Fund. However, part of the requirement is that there must be a Special Purpose Vehicle integration or private sector initiative.
He said these entities have since applied to the President for approval through the Chief of Staff.
“Lastly, four years back, Mr. President was in Ebonyi state about November to commission a number of projects and lay the foundation stone to others. I reminded Mr. President that we are expecting him four years later, which would be November for him to come to Ebonyi State. The last time he spent one night but this time we are asking him to spend three nights.
“We have over 20 different projects that we consider good enough for Mr. President to commission. We have completed the Muhammadu Buhari light tunnel bridge complex, the first of its kind in Africa. for Mr. President to commission.
“We have gotten to the stage of completing the best medical center, King David University of Medical Sciences, the best in Africa. We have completed the largest mall, the most beautiful mall you can see anywhere in West Africa.
“We have completed additional six twin flyover bridges, well decorated and beautiful. We want Mr. President to commission it. We want Mr. President to commission the St. Margeret international market, the largest market in West Africa.”
He disclosed that there are over 200km concrete roads in Ebonyi state, some of which are federal roads. He also said there are over 1000 km road completed since his first tenure. He added the three agric Industrial clusters are ready for commissioning.
“We also have a number of ongoing projects. Most of them will terminate at the end of 2021. Like the International Airport, which Mr. President two years ago gave approval. Now we are the first in the whole Nigeria to build an international airport runway with concrete that is going to be ready for Mr. President to lay the foundation stone. I will invite him next year to commission it.
“We will have the first flight on May 29, 2022. We also have a number of road projects, especially the 199 kilometre Abakaliki ring road, of which the state government has completed 53 kilometres of it. And of course, the limestone granules are Mr. President’s project and he has to lay the foundation stone.
“But I think after Lagos and Abuja, Ebonyi remains another state with the highest number of flyovers and Ebonyi Airport remains the largest after Lagos and Abuja.
“So this is why we came and I’m happy that Mr. President, is quite disposed towards visiting us again.”
Asked if the South East leaders were working together to ensure that the two major political parties have one candidate from the zone for presidency in 2023, Umahi said, “Well, for me, I’m very much entrenched in completing my projects. And I will look into politics when my tenure has one year remaining, which is from May 29, 2022. And I think it is the same thing with other governors of the South East and by extension, governors of APC.
“My position about what you ask is that our people that are in those political parties are making the effort in selling the need for the South East to produce the next president. But I think both the governors and Mr. President should not be distracted, when the elections are done and won, it should be governance.
“But in this country, the moment the election is completed, the next one starts. It is the masses that are being cheated. So those whose jobs are politics and who are not into elected position, or appointed position have all the time and the opportunity to do this conversing.
“But I continue to say that power rests in the hands of God. And God will also give us the next president who has a good heart like President Buhari for the good of this country.
“We need God’s own anointing for our own anointed President for the interest and unity of this country.”