By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News
Abakaliki: The governor of Ebonyi state, Engr.David Umahi has challenged the Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a debate on good governance between himself, the APC governor.
Umahi threw up the challenge during a dinner the state government organised in honour of the former Chief of Army staff, and now Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Lt.General Tukur Buratai, held at the Governors’ lodge, Abakaliki.
The Governor, who commended Buratai for the selfless and quality service he rendered to the country and Ebonyi state, which according to him, saw the reduction of crime during his regime as Chief of Army staff, said Ebonyi state will not subscribe to incessant sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He described the former Chief of Army staff as a General that was humble to the core.
In his words, “This is a man that even if he is in the battlefront and you call him on phone, he will answer you, it doesn’t matter your level, so we are very proud of his service to humanity. When you have a good heart to your people, when you want to exit, God can use even your enemies to grant you a soothing exit, so I congratulate you for the selfless service you rendered to us as a Chief of Army Staff.
“Security is quite the duty of each one of us. One of the things he did for Ebonyi State is manpower development and that is by bringing the ‘Tukur Buratai Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution as well as the Army Referral Hospital to Ebonyi State.
“Today, we want to thank you very highly for this your honour and commitment to the welfare of our people”, the Governor said.
On the sit-at-home order, Umahi said Ebonyi State would not subscribe to the incessant calls for sit-at-home, directing that any Civil Servant who absents him or herself from work on Mondays and Tuesdays would be sanctioned.
“We are destroying our economy, the sit-at-home is not happening in South West, the North is not sitting at home, each time we sit-at-home, we lose over ten billion naira in our economy, so Ebonyi State will not sit at home any day. I charge the Commissioners to go all out and ensure that Civil Servants come to work, and for the Markets, I will personally be in the Markets tomorrow, anyone who is no longer interested in owning shops can go home.
“Evil will continue to thrive if good people keep quiet, we must make Ebonyi State very exceptional by rising to the challenges. When we shout true Federalism, I say I agree, but it should be administrative restructuring”, he said.
He also noted that Ebonyi State is not in support of any State collecting the Value Added Tax (VAT), rather, it is in support that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should continue to collect tax and share.
Governor Umahi, while urging the Nation Leaders to speak up against dissenting voices that are capable of polarizing the Nation, said he is open to debate with any PDP Governor who feels he has delivered more democracy dividends to his citizens than the APC led administration in Ebonyi State.
“People are taking special interest in Ebonyi State and her Governor, positively and negatively but it is very important to be in the news than for you to say there are thirty-six states, you will name 35 and say what is the other State, we have aborted it, we are now a State to reckon with and we have no apologies.
“When I say I have no apologies, you can talk everything about me but you can not say we have not delivered and so, when people open their mouths in PDP to talk about APC, they should know that I belong to APC and if they like, let PDP offer any of their best Governors to come for debate with me and I will defeat any of them, not to be talking and talking. You don’t sit on people’s sweat and resources and be talking nonsense.
“We have no regrets taking our people to the center. We have always played at the center, we are not playing party politics, we are playing politics that will be an advantage to our people, criticize me, no problems but we need resources, we need friendship with the center.” he said.
In his response, Ambassador Buratai commended Governor David Umahi for transforming the State, noting that Umahi has become a household name in Nigeria because of his support for the welfare of the Army and other security agents.
“Let me also say Governor Umahi is not just a general in development but he is equally a general in Strategy and Tactics. Your relationship with Mr. president has worked and has brought about the needed development in Ebonyi State.
“Your Excellency, you are a visionary leader and your legacies will endure till the end of time”, he concluded.