Tinubu’s Cabinet: The Top 10 Round Pegs in Round Holes – ENGR. DAVE UMAHI

ENGR. DAVE UMAHI – (Minister of Works)

To Dr. David Umahi, assuming office as Nigeria’s minister of Works is like walking into his sitting room: he is as familiar with his new beat as he is with his living room. He will feel at home in the ministry as he does in his home. Umahi’s appointment and deployment as Works minister is one action in which President Bola Ahmed was spot on – placing a round peg in a round hole.

The core mandate of the ministry revolves around the core content of the career and profession of the civil engineer – civil construction works. The mandate of the Ministry of Works is primarily to formulate and implement the policies, programmes and projects of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) with respect to Road Transport, Highways construction and rehabilitation; Highways planning and design; monitoring and maintenance of federal roads & bridges, nationwide; Provision of infrastructure as well as survey & mapping of the nation’s internal and international boundaries (Works); and Habitat and affordable housing for Nigerians (Housing).

These are the activities the new minister was engaged in all his career in the private sector and as politician and Governor of Ebonyi State.

Trained as a Civil Engineer, Umahi started his professional career immediately after completing his one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He began working for SCC Nig. Ltd., an Israeli company and a water engineering giant, as an engineer and eventually advanced to the Project Engineer position. The historic Umuahia Water Project and the Ndiegoro Aba Flood Control measures between 1988 and 1990 are a few of the projects he supervised.

Umahi co-founded Norman Engineering and Construction Nig. Limited with the then Managing Director of the National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON), Port-Harcourt, Dr Ombo Isokarari, and by 1993 he had become General Manager and shareholder. Before his resignation in March 2011 to pursue his political ambition as the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, he served as Chairman and CEO of Brass Engineering & Construction Nig Ltd, Focus Investment Nig Ltd, and Osborn La Palm Royal Resort Ltd.

As Governor of Ebonyi state, he elevated the physical infrastructure status of Abakiliki, the state capital, with modern roads and ancillary facilities. The highpoint of them all was the building of the 700-metre twin Trans-Sahara bridge which was commissioned by former President Buhari in 2017. It is one of the distinguishing landmarks of the state capital which has made Abakiliki the envy of other state capitals of its age.

David Nweze Umahi, CON, was born on July 25, 1964, native of Umunaga, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area, now in Ebonyi State. Umahi received his secondary education at Ishiagu High School and Government Secondary School, Afikpo, before enrolling at Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 1982. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.

After an illustrious career in the private sector, Umahi entered public service in 2007 as the Acting Chairman of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). From 2009 to 2011, he served as state chairman of the party.

In 2011, Umahi became the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State under Governor Martin Elechi. However, in 2014, Governor Elechi supported Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health, as his successor, but Umahi insisted that his principal’s stand violated an understanding that he would take that role. Umahi went ahead to defeat Chukwu in the primaries and was elected Governor on April 12, 2015. The election was challenged by three different political parties, but in October 2015, Umahi won at the Governorship Election Tribunal. He was re-elected as Governor four years later.

On November 17,  2020, he officially defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and, two months later, declared his intention to run for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2023 general elections. He later stepped down his presidential ambition to contest and win the Senatorial election for Ebonyi South Senatorial District. He vacated the Senatorial seat following his nomination and confirmation as minister.