By Anayo Okoli, Regional Editor, South-East
DAVID Nweze Umahi, an Engineer, accomplished captain of industry and religious leader, was born to the humble family of Elder and Deaconess Joseph Umahi Nweze of Umunaga Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
After his primary and secondary education, he proceeded to Anambra State University of Science and Technology, now Enugu State University of Technology, ESUT, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in 1987.
Governor Umahi ventured into private sector where he had a brilliant outing before joining politics in 2007 as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ebonyi State Chapter. As the party chairman, he successfully built a befitting party secretariat for his party in the state.
Dave Umahi was elected Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State in 2011; and in 2015 he was elected the Governor of Ebonyi State amidst stiff opposition from his then boss and got re-elected in 2019.
Serving his second tenure as the third civilian governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi is currently the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and co-chairman, Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum. A detribalized Nigerian, Governor Umahi has always handled all national assignments given to him with passion, fairness and justice and achieved results.
Under Governor Umahi, Ebonyi State has witnessed tremendous infrastructural transformation with three beautiful flyovers dotting Abakiliki, the state capital with eight new ones in progress in strategic junctions and major highways of the three senatorial zones to compliment.
His dream is to make Ebonyi the State with the highest number of flyovers in the country after Lagos and Abuja. No doubt, he has rewritten the story of Abakiliki, the state capital, from a small town of ‘Abakaliki rice’ to a modern bubbling city, an investor’s delight.
His footprint in the sands of Ebonyi State is already visible after his first four year tenure. He is reputed to be the first governor in Nigeria to introduce road construction with concrete pavement of eight inches, which are scattered all over the State, covering well over 300km, with 50 years guarantee life span. In addition, he has done over 500 kilometers of Federal roads in the state and over 1500 internal (street) roads.
Like in other sectors, Governor Umahi’s interest in education, health and security is unequalled; hence he has invested heavily to improve them. As a good Christian, Umahi built one of the biggest ecumenical centres in the country with a sitting capacity of 12,000.
The governor also has great passion for agriculture and in his pursuit of economy outside oil; he encouraged and empowered Ebonyians to venture into agriculture.
To support them more, he built ultra-modern rice mills and rice milling clusters in the state; with production capacity of 24 metric tonnes of rice per hour for government owned rice mills, and over 1500 milling clusters for the cooperatives.
As added incentive, he also built a fertilizer firm from where the farmers source fertilizers from and capped it with the procurement of land development equipments 13 V8 bulldozers, for land development and agricultural mechanisation. As workers-friendly governor, Governor Umahi ensures that workers in the state get their monthly salaries 15 days to the end of the month.
His rural empowerment programmes are legendary. He has empowered over 4000 widows, doling out to each, the sum of N100, 000 grants to eke out a living. Ditto to youths and women, who were also given grants for various their businesses. He also extended the gesture to clergy/pastors and wives of security agencies in the State, encouraging them to go into entrepreneurial programmes.
Married to Chief (Mrs.) Rachel Umahi, the marriage is blessed with seven children.