If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or walk around it. Michael Jordan
IN THE BEGINNING
The most striking quality of His Excellency, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, Right from the cradle to his current midlife status, is that he neither takes the easy path nor casually marches to whichever destination the path may lead; instead, he beats his own path and leaves a historical trail, regardless of the walls or obstacles that are erected before him or around him.
It is a truism that leaders are made, not born, and made more by their own individual dint of hard work, exceptional self-application and the boundless grace and benevolence of God. It is also a universal truth that no true leader possessed of the uncommon qualities that Governor Umahi has thus far demonstrated sets out to be a leader per se, but rather they set out to express themselves with freedom of thought and commitment to pursuit of an enduring legacy
Born on the 25th of July, 1963 in Umunaga, Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebony State to Elder Joseph Umahi (Osuji) and Deaconess Margaret Umahi, both of blessed memory, the young David is the 6th of 8 Children with which the most benevolent Lord of favoured the Umahis.
Governor Umahi attended umunaga Primary School, Uburu, from 1971 to 1977 where he excelled with a Distinction in the first School Leaving Certificate Examination. Upon completion of his Primary education, he proceeded to Ishiagu High School from 1978 to 1979. He completed his Secondary education at the prestigious Government College Afikpo where he attended from 1979 to 1982 and sustained his academic brilliance by a gaining Division one in the West African
School Certificate Examination, accumulating starred ‘As’ in a cluster of science subjects. Umahi gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in Anambra State University of Science and Technology in 1987. While at the University, Umahi contested and won the election as a Department Senator to represent the Department of Civil Engineering in the University Senate. In 1989, he discharged his national duty to his country by undertaking the obligatory Nation Youth Service with the construction – engineering firms, SAIPEM SPA in Benin City, Edo State.
Engr. Umahi’s extensive experience in the field of professional engineering spanned over nearly two decades of relentless and distinguished pursuit of life affirming goals. From the rank of a project Engineer in SCC Nig Ltd where he supervised the historic umuahia Water project, he rose to the position of General Manager with NORMAN Engineering and construction Nig. Limited,
Between 1990 and 2011, Umahi was CEO of brass Engineering & construction Nig. Ltd; Focus investment Nig. Ltd; and Oborn La Palm Royal Resort Ltd.
He created a professional legacy by leaving a number of civil construction feats, all of which attest to his engineering prowess and industrious commitment to excellence and professionalism.
Engr. Umahi’s foray into public/political area started in 2007 when he became the Acting Chairman of the people’s Democratic party (Ebonyi State). In 2009, he was made the substantive chairman of the party. He transformed the Ebonyi State PDP from an organization trouble by high profile political and administrative disputes, defections and rancor into a highly effective political machine with high level of membership satisfaction, given eloquent testimony to his exceptional quality of leadership and genuine grassroots mobilization capacity – which he
entrenched for the entire four years that he was at the helm of the party in Ebonyi State. Within the first couple of years of his Chairmanship. Engr. Umahi erected a Secretariat complex, which is today unanimously regarded as that best edifice to house the headquarters of any political party in Nigeria, whether at the State or national level. It is noteworthy that he was elected and served as the Chairman of State PDP Chairman.
While still serving as the PDP chairman, he got his first taste of high profile national assignment when he was made the Chairman of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State in 2010. Before he served out his tenure in that role, destiny on him again to serve his people, as he was elected the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State in April, 2011.
Engr. Umahi, a quintessential child of destiny, surmounted all obstacles placed before him to emerge as the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 general elections, and he proceeded to win the gubernatorial election on a landslide scale, through a thunderous acclamation and endorsement of the masses of Ebonyi State.
On May 29, he shone like a midnight star at the Abakaliki Township Stadium when he was inaugurated the third Executive Governor of Ebonyi State.
Within the two years that he has held sway as the Chief Executive of Ebonyi State; an uncommon transformation has taken place in all the indispensable sectors in the State. Multiple indices of annual assessment of development place Ebonyi amongst the top performing states of the federation over two consecutive years.
The Assistant Inspector- General of Police, Zone 6, Baba Bola Bolanta, testifiled to this when he visited the state last month. He had this to say; ‘’I used to come to Ebonyi State to buy the popular Abakaliki rice nearly every year. But this visit, I have seen tremendous changes. I have seen transformation in this State under the leadership of Engr. Umahi, ‘’But, of course, this is a narrative that is still
premature. What is indubitable is that with the key of imagination and extraordinary understanding of his people and their existential challenges,
Governor Umahi has unlocked the potential Solutions to these herculean tasks. With his bold initiatives in the areas of education, agriculture, infrastructural regeneration and urban transformation, Ebonyians await with great anticipation for the glories that lie ahead for the themselves and for their Governor.
UMAHI’S EMERGENCE AS A TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER
In the six years that he has been at the helm of the political affairs of Ebonyi State as its Chief Executive, Governor Umahi has been defined and animated by the essential characteristics of a transformational and reconstructive leader. The challenges to leadership in this millennium and in the peculiarities of our own culture and socio-political environment are enormous Einstein makes the challenge clear:
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved from the same level of consciousness that create them.”
Something in our consciousness must shift in order for us to be able to see how to act in a way that can address the challenges of the times. His Excellency has molded divergent priorities, voices, aspirations, demands and choices into a towering ambition for his people and has, through action, inspired in them the same burning flame – the same impassioned love for their State and belief in their collective destiny – which he harbours in the deep recesses of his own soul. He has done this without preference or partiality.
Leadership is fundamentally the act of articulating and acting in pursuit of a vision that flows from our commitment to a higher purpose. Our vision, however, is no born through self-discovery alone, but through our dialogue with the culture around us. Vision is a response to the uniqueness of our own soul searching for a creative response to a nation in a State of flux, and a world that is struggling to
deal with and contain its vast contradictions. Governor Umahi has demonstrated, in unambiguous terms that vision is the culmination of a lifelong discipline of dialogue with a higher power, with our selves, and with comrade and kindred
spirits alike. The best glimpse we have of our purpose is vision of the results we want to create. What we want most tells us what we are on earth for. According to Thomas Szasz:
“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one finds, it is something one creates.”
The Umahi phenomenon, therefore, can simply be defined as a self – referential phenomenon because its life force is auto-generated by a man that can equally be described as a pilgrim; a mariner who sailed tough, dangerous and turbulent oceans and came ashore in safety and triumph not for himself but for his people and for his land …tossed but not sunk (fluctuat nec mergitur, as we say in Latin). Unsinkable!
Governor Umahi has shown that in pursuing our vision, we can discover our purpose and create our true selves. To lead is to take our vision seriously. To lead is to be constantly discerning in the various circumstances in which we find ourselves. It is to personally embody that vision in every encounter, and to find concrete ways to translate it into action. But in this great journey, Governor Umahi recognizes that there is no perfection in this world except as manifested in God’s work; that we must seek it and strive to attain it – after all, we are made in God’s own image and he is a perfect God.
Engr. Umahi has given meaning and value to the lives of many privileged and less privilege Nigerians, culture across different ethic nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Under the ENGR. DAVE UMAHI EDUCATION FOUNDATION, for example, he has given out full Scholarships to over 3000 beneficiaries since its
commencement in 2009 to date. Under a special charity programme, he makes personal cash donations and distributes essential materials to widows, orphans and those living with physical disabilities periodically. He also sponsors the training of youths on entrepreneurial skills acquisition, and mobilizes many of them
Financially thereby making them proud owners of their own small and medium scale businesses.
Engr. Umahi has been a born – again Christian since 1979. Before he joined the Christ Embassy in 1990, he was a devout member of the Assemblies of God Church.
At Christ Embassy, he became the Chairman of the Building Committee of the church nationally.
This position afforded him the opportunity to oversee the development of the church structures throughout Nigerian.
Governor Umahi chaired the church development at Ikeja and Oregun in Lagos, many campgrounds in Lagos, Warri Church, Port Harcourt Church Calabar Church, Benin Church, Abakaliki Church and numerous other campgrounds.
Barely four years after joining the Christ Embassy, he was ordained a Deacon. As an avowed emulator of Solomon, he has built many befitting edifices dedicated to the Worship of the Almighty both for his own denomination and for many others, like a biblical temple, the Christ Embassy Church in Abakaiikt occupies incomparable preeminence among other cathedrals in the city.
Governor Umahi is a football enthusiast. In his Secondary days, he played for the Government Secondary School, Afikpo as a striker. Nowadays, he always dons number 10 jersey during football march played by the Ohaozar PDP Stakeholders. He is also a supremely avid Table tennis player and has a tennis table installed in the verandah by his bedroom at the Governor’s Lodge in Government House Abakaliki.
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
Governor Umahi is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE); Member of the Council of registered Engineers (CORN) and Fellow of the Nigerian Technologists in Engineering (FNATE).
Governor Umahi is happily married to deaconess (Mrs.) Rachel Ogonna Umahi and the couple is blessed with seven (7) adorable children.
Peter Ndubuisi Akpu is a Business Strategist, a philomath, a critical thinker and a Public Affairs Analyst; studied Law differently at the Ebonyi State University and the Nigerian Law School.
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