CITATION IN HONOUR OF HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. DAVID NWEZE UMAHI, FNSE, FNATE…
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 to express himself with freedom of thought and commitment to action while guided by a sense of history and the pursuit of an enduring legacy.
Born on the 25th of July, 1963 in Umunaga, Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi 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 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 gaining Division One in the West African School Certificate Examination, accumulating starred ‘As’ in a cluster of science subjects. Umahi gained a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering in Anambra State University of Science and Technology in 1987. While at the University, His Excellency was elected as a Departmental 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 National Youth Service with the construction-engineering firm, 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; Fucus Investment Nig. Ltd; and Osborn 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 arena started in 2007 when he became the Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (Ebonyi State). In 2009, he was made the substantive chairman of the party. He transformed the Ebonyi State PDP from an organisation troubled by high profile political and administrative disputes and rancour into a highly effective political machine with high level of membership satisfaction, giving eloquent testimony to his exceptional quality of leadership and genuine grassroots mobilization - which he entrenched for the entire four years that he was at the helm. Within the first couple of years of his Chairmanship, Engr Umahi erected an office complex, which is today unanimously regarded as the best edifice to house the headquarters of any political party in Nigeria, whether at the state or national level.
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 there, destiny beckoned 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 people.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 period 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.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 6, Baba Bola Bolanta, testified to this when he visited the state. 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.
Within the short period 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 of 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 created 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 – that 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 not 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 our vision of the results we want to create. What we want most tells us what we are here 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 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!
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
Governor Umahi is a Fellow, Nigeria Society of Engineers (FNSE); Member, Council of Registered Engineers (COREN) and Fellow of Nigerian Technologists in Engineering (FNATE). He recently became a Jerusalem Pilgrim
Governor Umahi is happily married to Chief (Mrs.) Rachel Umahi and the couple is blessed with seven (7) adorable children.
Cited by Senator Emmanuel Onwe (Fellow of the London School of Economics &Political Science)