From Kenneth Udeh, Umuahia
Communities in Item, 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 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 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, 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 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 said that the current projects in their various communities were those captured in the 2019-2021 budgets. He stated that the projects for 2022 and 2023 were yet to be executed, while urging the community 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 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.
“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 for 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 percent 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 that their activities were strictly devoted to fight crime and not to meddle in domestic or communal disputes.
Speaking on infrastructure, Kalu disclosed that 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 queried.
Kalu said that the current projects in their various communities were those captured in the 2019-2021 budgets, revealing that the projects for 2022 and 2023 were yet to be executed.
He urged the community to be optimistic for more developmental projects.
Shedding more light , Kalu said asides other completed projects in their various communities, the delay in the execution of other projects was as 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.
“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 J.O. Akaliro, the Umuobasi Ukwu Ozuitem enumerated infrastructure works done by Kalu in his community.
The traditional leader said 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 has been of huge benefit to the locals.
He promised the Senate Chief Whip that the electorate in his community and the entire Bende will ensure his return to the Senate in 2023.