He stated this while interacting with journalists shortly after inspecting the Akanu Ibiam flyover in Abakaliki.
“Many things we do in Ebonyi State, we don’t do by our power or by our might. They are inspirations from God, “he was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya.
Engr. Umahi, who identified corruption as the cause of economic challenges facing the nation, noted that leaders would not do much if their followers were not prepared to make positive changes.
He said, “I pity our country. You can see that foreign rice is no longer safe. It’s plastic rice. The corn beef we eat is no longer safe too.
“I know that we can feed ourselves. There is no day in Ebonyi State that rice was sold and you hear that it is not safe. There is also no day that people came here to Ebonyi State and did not see rice to buy. The same thing goes for other localities and states in Nigeria.
So, the truth remains that we are being manipulated by some local and foreign businessmen. We suffer this also in the area of petroleum.
“We can have mini-refineries in the three geopolitical zones. It’s a question of courage but our country must know that this is not the problem of the President alone.
“The President can do nothing if we that are his followers are not prepared to make some changes. So, when anybody thinks the President can make magic or governors can make magic, they must know that it doesn’t happen that way.
The governor therefore called on every Nigerian to work hard “for us to have a better future,” adding that wishful thinking or blames would not solve Nigeria’s problems.”
“It time for us as Nigerians to know that we have no any other country than Nigeria and for us to sit down and work out a future for our country; “The future belongs to those that prepare for it today. We shouldn’t be doing wishful thinking or blaming anybody. There is global economic recession and it’s already predicted in the Book of Life. It is for us to look inward and I’m very confident that our present challenges can spur us into a greater tomorrow.”
The state chief executive harped on the state’s internally-generated revenue and commended the House of Assembly for querying the members of the Internal Revenue Board whom he said had not delivered in their mandate.
He stressed that some states like Enugu and Lagos could stand on their own without federal allocation, pointing out that Ebonyi State could also be like them because it is blessed with mineral resources which are yet to be developed.
Umahi said, “The House of Assembly is doing its work by querying the board. They are not happy because when we came on board, the revenue profile was about N450 million per month. Today, it is hovering between N200m and N300m per month.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that Ebonyi’s budget estimate was higher than that of Anambra State, the governor replied: “The problems of the two states differ.”
He stated that since Ebonyi was in a hurry to catch up with other states, it required more money to develop than the old ones. His words, “We have no regret for that. Whatever I do, God asked me to do it and Ebonyi is a sovereign state. Anambra is a sovereign state. Our problems are not the same with theirs. So, we are in a hurry to catch up with other states of the federation. A child that is born today must have to grow and the child needs more food to grow than the older ones.”
By Ramo Silvers