The Governor David Umahi-led administration in Ebonyi State has been described as three and a half years of unfulfilled promises, suffering and hopelessness predicated upon deceit and intimidation of citizens.
The description was made on Monday by an All Progressives Congress stalwart and representative of Ebonyi South Senatorial District, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, during his public declaration of intent to join the governorship race in the State.
The declaration was made at his campaign headquarters in Abakaliki.
Ogbuoji, who addressed selected journalists, said he had watched with mixed feelings the events and developments in the State for the last three and half years under Umahi and came to a conclusion that Ebonyi State people have been under bondage, desiring to be liberated.
In his address, titled: “The New Ebonyi we desire is possible,” Ogbuoji chronicled the failed electoral promises of the Governor since 2015 and his lacklustre administrative method and submitted that the State has descended into the abyss of hopelessness and despair.
He observed that the circumstances that surrounded the election of Umahi in 2015 threatened to polarize the State along bloc, group and party lines, creating animosity and weakening the bond of unity and brotherhood in the State, so much so that Ebonyians have been desirous of who would bring the needed change and put in place mechanisms for genuine reconciliation and inclusion in order to guarantee peace and progress.
He buttressed that Umahi has totally failed to fulfill his electoral promises with specific emphasis on drastic cut down of workers’ salaries and allowances as against his earlier promise to grant them full existing minimum wage, denial of workers promotions, total neglect of all laid down bureaucratic processes, as well as high taxation leading to closure of many businesses in a State in dire need of industrialization.
Ogbuoji said: “The conclusion is that Ebonyi people are suffering under the Government it elected to power.
“Our dear State and the people have descended into the abyss of hopelessness and despair.
“The people are asking when and where will our help come from.
“Rather than get improved salary, Civil Servants, on whose back the government rode to power, became the first victim of a Government that will never keep its promise.
“Government quickly cut down their salaries and allowances and suspended promotions with intimidation and threat of sack.
“Government also retired Permanent Secretaries and suspended the appointment of new ones.
“The Civil Servants are more demoralized than ever in the history of governance in our State.”
The aspirant further described as frightening the observable level of intolerance by the Government, whereby it strives at all cost to stifle dissenting voices and opinions, adding that “grinding and crushing” of citizens have become the “cardinal welfare policy” of the Umahi Government, a development he described as the tragedy of the present Ebonyi State situation.
He added: “Individuals who belong to different political associations have had their businesses closed down.
“Preachers who preach the truth against what those in power want to hear had their churches and schools sealed, while traditional rulers who chose to remain apolitical are denied government gifts, if available.
“Farmers who do not attend government rallies were excluded from farm inputs, while Town Union Executives who were believed not to be government fans and praise singers were dissolved.
“Government cannot be a terror to its citizens.
“The business of government cannot be to grind and crush its own people.
“This is the tragedy of our situation.
“If we allow this to continue, someday we may begin o pay taxes from the dowries of our daughters, but I say God forbid.
“If government cannot provide jobs for the people, definitely government should not destroy the business of those who have provided jobs for themselves.”
Maintaining that the responsibility of government should be to provide for the people what they cannot provide for themselves at little or no cost, Ogbuoji alleged that under Umahi, government collects taxes for everything, including corpses in the mortuary, and warned that the essence of government was not profit maximization for those in government but the greater and good happiness of the greater number.
According to him, Umahi’s Government and the Peoples Democratic Party in the State have failed to deliver hope, unity, equity, justice and prosperity to the people but rather thrived in propaganda and deceit, exploitation of the people and profiteering for personal and family gains.
Stressing that he has both the economic, socio-political and spiritual capacity to outmatch the incumbent, Senator Ogbuoji pledged to return the State to the part of unity, love, prosperity, inclusiveness in governance, create massive employment and generally restore the dignity of the Ebonyi State people in general, in line with the dreams of the founding fathers.
He said: “We cannot look the other way while our people suffer.
“Ebonyi people have waited and prayed for two long.
“Finally, a Daniel has come to judgment.
“Going from the above therefore, I, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji do humbly offer myself as a lamb for the sacrifice to rescue our people from the pit of slavery to the steady part of unity and collective progress.”
Recall that Ogbuoji was a two term senator on the platform of the PDP for Ebonyi South Senatorial District, where Umahi hails from.
However, shortly after the 2015 elections that brought Umahi into power, the relationship between the two turned sour following what many saw as conflict of interests in allocation of party posts and privileges.
So far, about four contestants for the governorship on the platform of APC in the State have purchased the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, preparatory to the party’s forthcoming primaries.