Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Thursday said that the 2nd Niger Bridge among other projects being clamoured for by the people of Igbo extraction and the South-East region, were their rights and not favours.
Umahi, who made the assertion in Abakaliki while addressing newsmen on his return after an official trip outside the state, said that the Igbos were bona fide citizens of the country who must enjoy all inherent rights.
The governor noted that the demands from the Federal Government could be likened to the people having to thank it for the ongoing construction works across the state, saying such gesture “is a mistake because such requested developments are their rights.
“The Igbos should not shy away from demanding for development of the zone by the Federal Government (FG) because the areas are predominantly occupied by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We are not campaigning for anybody as the welfare, problems and future of the south-east zone are beyond politics,” he said.
He noted that any political party that “takes south-east zone seriously would in turn be taken seriously by the zone and the people will not beg to support anybody.
“Any candidate who wants our support should tell us what he will do for us and we will review it to know if it is the truth.
“The south-east governors visited the president because they are part of the entity called Nigeria just as the south-south governors visited him a fortnight ago.
“The south-south governors went to the president to discuss oil which is their area of comparative advantage.
“While we went to him to discuss the 2nd Niger bridge, the international airport in Enugu and delay in the construction of federal roads in the zone,” he said.
He cautioned the people not to engage in extreme politics and always separate politics from their welfare.
“We wouldn’t have gone to the president if he had not awarded and mobilised for the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge.
“We insisted that the release of N7 billion mobilisation was not enough but that 50 per cent of the funds be released to Julius Berger Plc, while the remaining 50 per cent should be in form of a bond to ensure the project’s completion.
“The release of the funds is a positive step and if the president has awarded such, it is fair that we say thank you to him.
“We also requested for the position of a Service Chief for the south-east zone because we have none and all our demands are not new, we have been seeking such for our people,” he said.