From Kenneth Udeh, Umuahia
Communities in Item, Abia North senatorial district, have attested to the developmental projects sited in their respective districts by their representative, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, in three years as a first time senator at the National Assembly.
Kalu, in continuity of his ongoing midterm constituency report tour, had, on Tuesday, attend town hall meetings within localities in Bende Local Government Area namely: Item, Uzuitem, and Igbere, where he engaged community stakeholders to analyse the impact of his legislative representation in their communities.
Kalu was hosted by Uwakwe 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, Bende Traditional Rulers Council, lauded Kalu 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 was the constitutional duty of the state and local governments, it would require some requisite influential skill for legislators to attract public works to their communities as possessed by himself.
Rendering his legislative report, Kalu said the current projects in their various communities were those captured in the 2019 and 2021 budgets. He said the projects for 2022 and 2023 were yet to be executed and told the communities to be optimistic for more developmental projects.
Kalu said: “We can’t continue to kill ourselves over unnecessary issues; we must do all it takes to ensure we make peace among 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.
“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, 10 per cent of the revenue obtained from ‘Lopkanta’ cow market was divided in two and shared to both the state and local government authorities at five per cent each. The proceeds was 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 their activities were strictly devoted to fight crime and not to meddle in domestic or communal disputes.
Speaking on infrastructure, Kalu disclosed he had changed the narrative that legislators cannot provide infrastructure in their rural communities.
“I have shown my colleagues that they must do 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 asked.