From Kenneth Udeh, Umuahia
Communities in Item in Abia North senatorial district have attested to the developmental projects sited within their respective districts by their senatorial representative, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, in three years as a first-time senator at the National Assembly.
Kalu, continuing his midterm constituency report tour, on Tuesday attended town hall meetings within localities in Bende Local Government area namely; Amaofufe Item Autonomous community, Apuanu Item, Item ward C and Okoko Item where he engaged community stakeholders to analyse the impact of his legislative representation in their communities.
At Amaofufe, Igbere, Kalu was hosted by HRH Eze Uwakwe O Ukaegbu, the Ofufe II of Amaofufe Autonomous community Igbere alongside other Traditional rulers of all communities in Item.
Ukaegbu, who also doubles as the chairman of the Bende Traditional Rulers Council, lauded the senator for his numerous infrastructural and human empowerment projects. The Royal leader also identified other areas needing immediate attention in terms of roads and public utility infrastructure.
Acknowledging their feedback and gratitude, the Senate Chief Whip explained that since the provision of infrastructure is the constitutional duty of the state and local government, it will require some requisite influential skill for legislators to attract public works to their communities as possessed by himself.
Rendering his legislative report, Kalu notified that the current projects in their various communities were those captured in the 2019-2021 budgets, he divulged that the projects for 2022 are yet to be executed urging the community to be optimistic for more developmental projects.
“We can’t continue to kill ourselves over unnecessary issues, we must do all it takes to ensure that we make peace amongst one another by forgiving and adjusting so as to tolerate ourselves. The truth is we both need each other to survive no matter our social status whether rich or poor,” Kalu said.
“I am not here to campaign but let me state that only a failed and petty politician is using the insecurity incidents at Lopkanta against me. Anybody coming to meet you must tell you what they have done for the people and their plans rather than promoting mischievous narratives.
“Like I explained when I visited Umunneochi, the purpose of setting up that cattle market was to drive revenues. According to the law. Ten per cent of the revenue obtained from “Lopkanta” cow market was divided in two and shared with both the state and local government authorities at five per cent each. The proceeds were what I used to fund the operations of Bakassi Boys and you are witness to how they curbed crimes in Abia and even extended their activities to Anambra State.
“Security remains the constitutional responsibility of both the state and local government. When I was governor, I didn’t wait, complain or blame anybody. I used my security votes to fight crime. I created the Bakassi Boys in Abia to augment the activities of Police and other security agencies to fight crime. I ensured that their activities were strictly devoted to fighting crime and not meddling in domestic or communal disputes.
Speaking on infrastructure Kalu disclosed that he had changed the narrative that Legislators cannot construct infrastructure in their rural communities.
“I have shown my colleagues that they must construct projects for their rural communities. Has any senator in the history of Abia State till today facilitated the construction of any project except me? Kalu queried.
Rendering his legislative report, Kalu notified that the current projects in their various communities were those captured in the 2019-2021 budgets, he divulged that the projects for 2022 and 2023 were yet to be executed urging the community to be optimistic for more developmental projects.
Shedding more light, Kalu said asides from other completed projects in their various communities, the delay in the execution of other projects is a result of the current economic inflation which has led to the increase in the price of construction materials as against their initial price as listed in the budget when the budget was drafted. “For instance as at when we submitted the budget price of Asphalt used to be 28,000 naira but now it is 65,000 naira likewise the price of diesel and other materials, so that means that we might need to limit the scope of our projects to meet up with the change in prices,” the Chief Whip, emphasised.
Eze JO Akaliro, the Umuobasi Ukwu Ozuitem, enumerated infrastructure works done by Kalu in his community. The Traditional leader mentioned that through such deeds Senator Kalu had built for himself tangible achievements which can be used as a reference point during election campaigns.
On his part, Eze Jerry Akpala Igwe, the “Akajiofor of Item”, attested that the infrastructural projects sited in their community have been of huge benefit to the locals. Eze Jerry informed the Senate Chief Whip to be rest assured that the electorates in his community and the entire Bende will ensure his return to the Senate in 2023.
Showering Senator Kalu with gratitude at Apuanu Item the traditional leader of the community HRH Eze Silas O Igwe JP, the Okpi of Item, itemised projects executed by Kalu in their community while assuring Kalu of their unalloyed solidarity towards his return to the Senate.
At Item ward C, Kalu and his entourage were received by the President General of Item Development Association, Chief Ogba Nwokoro. The community thanked Senator Kalu for the road which he constructed during his tenure as governor and the distribution of empowerment materials.
In an address by a Youth Leader, Comrade Igwe Kalu called the attention of Senator Kalu to the deplorable state of the AmaOkwe to Okai Road. In the area of Education Igwe listed Oka-Item community school, Umu-Epka community school and Akanu Item community schools needing refurbishment, the youth leader stressed both students and staff are under harsh conditions due to the dilapidated state of the schools. In an earlier response, Kalu told the gathering that the community’s request has been gazetted for requisite action.