By Henry Umahi
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State thinks big, plans big and has recorded remarkable achievements. Six years into his tenure as governor, he has changed the narrative of his state.
In the beginning, the story of Ebonyi State was not like a song worth singing. The state, according to Umahi, “was faced with developmental challenges ranging from lack of physical, social and economic infrastructure, and also lack of human capital development.”
However, Umahi has reversed the fortunes of the state, making it a preferred destination for leisure and investment.
One of the legacy projects of the Umahi administration is the Shopping Mall in Abakaliki, the capital of the state. It is said to be the biggest of its kind in Africa.
The governor had said the state was “constructing the biggest shopping Mall that will be the microcosm of the macrocosm of the Dubai Mall, to create market and stimulate provision of goods and services. This shopping mall will attract international trade and investment and shall create not less than 3000 jobs and generate wealth.”
The state of the art shopping mall is structurally completed. Made up of five floors, the components include cinemas, computer/digital technology outfits and a host other concerns that have indicated interest in doing business with the state government. Come to Abakaliki and see money well spent. The grandeur of the facility is enthralling.
Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji, said the grandiose plans were to enhance the IGR of the state, create wealth as well as make shopping a pleasure for the residents.
Take this from Orji: “The shopping mall in Ebonyi State is very unique. It’s like an international shopping mall that will warehouse products from within and without. That is why the creation of the international airport is a concept or an idea that is borne out of the inspiration to make Abakaliki one of the emerging cities of Africa. That is to say, through the international airport, we can have importers and exporters who would be warehousing their goods and selling their goods in the shopping mall.
“Of course, that will enhance revenue generation and create more jobs. These will make for self-reliance and self-sufficiency among the people of Ebonyi State. The governor is also looking at raising millionaires through this venture. As I speak with you, we have started a harvest of millionaires; people who will be into exportation and importation of goods direct from any part of the world to Ebonyi State and sell to end users through these facilities we have mentioned.”
Of course, the shopping mall is not the only star project of the Umahi administration. In the coming days, President Muhammadu Buhari will be visiting the state to commission somen of the projects.
Orji told Daily Sun: “Recall that the President has been in Ebonyi State under this administration. Ebony was the first state in the South East that the President visited and when he came, he laid the foundation of some projects, including the light tunnel that has been completed. So, his coming will be to be part of the celebration of the giant strides of our dear governor. And through that opportunity, the whole world will see what our governor has done in the area of infrastructural development. His coming will give us the opportunity to commission a number of projects that have been completed even as some will be flagged off. Today, we are set to commission Africa’s biggest light tunnel, a four-way light tunnel that is linking to different facilities. We are also going to celebrate the commissioning of Africa’s biggest shopping mall. We are also celebrating Africa’s biggest Christian ecumenical centre, we are celebrating the most beautiful Government House that we call it the Three Arms zone. We are celebrating the biggest single market in the South East. We are celebrating the ongoing international airport, that when completed, will be like the Lagos and Abuja international airports. We are celebrating the University of Medical Sciences that has been adjudged by NUC to be the most beautiful and it is going to be a centre of excellence for the treatment of terminal diseases that normally take people outside the country. And that university will be producing dialyzers and no place in Africa houses a centre for the production of dialyzers. There are also several roads that the governor built, including federal roads. If you are coming into Ebonyi from anywhere, you can be sure that you will be welcomed by a flyover. We have the highest number of flyovers after Abuja and Lagos. We have a lot to show the world when the President comes.”