Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi said that allowing people to exercise their basic rights and freedom was his greatest legacy in the eight years of his administration.
Elechi made the statement on Sunday at a Thanksgiving Mass, held at the Government House Catholic Chapel, Abakaliki, officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Michael Okoro.
“Ensuring that the people freely exercised the freedom to be themselves in all situations, criticise government without fear or favour, gave me the greatest joy as governor.
“When one adds this legacy to the provision of basic infrastructure; giant strides recorded in education sector, health, agriculture, among others, it could be concluded that my tenure was successful and fulfilling”.
The governor, however, regretted that some people in the state put their personal interest above collective values which made the attainment of collective goals challenging.
“We have to make people know that the things that bind us supersede personal interests as collective interest is more than what few friends or admirers can say they gained from a public servant or administration.
“Most people judge successes and failures of one’s administration from what they benefit from it.
“The quantum of violence recorded during the last election, made me wonder if the attitudinal change policy we preached for over seven years was a wasted dream”, Mr. Elechi said.
He noted that the denial of people’s common freedom, peace and right to choose their leaders during the last elections in the state, gave him the greatest pain in office.
“The issue presently is not who won or lost because it was discovered that after the elections, there were no jubilations as the winners failed to jubilate.
“We discovered that the entire state was shrouded in treacherous calm which could burst into violence at the slightest opportunity.
“This made us to invite the gubernatorial candidates and their supporters to maintain peace in the collective interest of the state”, he said.
Mr. Elechi noted that he bore no grudge against anyone as his administration allowed people to criticise government’s policies and actions.
In his sermon, the Chaplain of the chapel, Livinus Obijiofor, urged the people to pray for God’s love and grace upon the state as it had been segregated by politics and strife.
“This is a period for the governor and his family to count their blessings with thanksgiving, instead of disappointments as what distinguishes Christians from adherents of other religions is that their worship centres on thanksgiving”, he said.
The governor’s wife, Josephine Elechi, thanked God for protecting her family throughout their tenure as governor and urged the people to ensure that peace reigned in the state.
The service was attended by well-wishers of the governor, the clergy and top government functionaries.
A paper entitled: “Quest for Selfless Leadership–an Anatomy of Gov. Martin Elechi’s Stewardship”, was delivered by Felix Akam, a catholic priest, at a reception after the service.