From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
The simultaneous construction of the “Okoko Item”, Amoji Imenyi, and “Atani Abam” roads all in the Abia Senatorial zone has commenced earnestly, courtesy of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing the Senatorial District at the 9th Senate.
Kalu, the Chief Whip of the Senate, had on Wednesday, flagged off the construction of College Road Okoko Item in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, while the construction of the Atani Abam and Amoji Imenyi roads had commenced days previously.
Victor Etie, a lawyer and Legislative Aide to Senator Kalu, who represented the former Abia State governor, performed the flag off ceremony that heralded the ongoing simultaneous construction of both roads. The occasion elicited massive jubilation amongst the electorate many of whom showered Orji Kalu with praises following the construction of both roads.
In a similar feat, the Senate Chief Whip also commenced the drilling and construction of water boreholes for community dwellers in Ohafia and Bende Local Government areas.
According to Orji Kalu who has since 2019 been decorated with numerous awards on infrastructure development, the latest public utilities will open up the rural communities, improve economic activities as well as alleviate the plight of residents, especially those who travel far distance in search of potable water.
Eyewitnesses said the boreholes are located at Federal Government College Ebem and Market Square, Amaoba Section of Amaekpu Ohafia and Abanta Amokwe Item community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia North.
At Okoko Item residents who converged in carnival-like forms commended Senator Kalu’s outstanding performance and visionary leadership style, and reinstated their resolution to give the Abia North Senator maximum support to return to the Senate come 2023.
Speaking on behalf of the community, President General of Okoko Item Development, Mr Matthew Chukwu Ogburafor, appreciated the senator for bringing such a project to their area, assuring him of their continued support.
The People of Amoji Imenyi Autonomous Community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, witnessed the construction of their road with joy and lauded the Senate Chief Whip for fulfilling the campaign promises made to them by providing the community with a tarred road.
Prominent stakeholder of the community, Chief Ejike Kalu, in a thank-you message to Senator Kalu on Sunday on behalf of the community, said they were overwhelmed by the gesture.
He conveyed the electorate’s resolve to relect Kalu back to the Senate; “We the people of Amoji imenyi autonomous community with enormous joy and gratitude, wish to thank you for remembering your promises made as regards to the road construction which is currently ongoing since yesterday; Sir, we can’t thank you enough, we pray for God’s protection and guidance upon you.
“Amoji Imenyi and its indigenes without any doubt is for you and we will gratefully vote for you in the forthcoming election, thank you so much sir.”
Thrilled by the fulfillment of Kalu’s 2019 campaign promise to provide the community with a tarred road, scores of residents of Atan Abam community in Arochukwu Local Government Area flooded their streets with 2023 campaign support posters of the Chief Whip.
The community said they decided to produce the campaign materials to support the re-election bid of Senator Kalu who is the Abia North Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general election.
According to a community leader from Atan Abam, Hon. Kalu Ayi, the community decided to embark on the project to reciprocate Kalu’s kindness to them. Ayi said that the community could only repay Orji Kalu by re-electing him to the Senate.
“This ongoing Atan Abam road project was facilitated by Senator Kalu, hence the need to pay him back with our maximum support to ensure that he returns to the National Assembly to continue his pragmatic representation.
“Kalu is a huge asset to Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State and Ndigbo in general. We in Abia-North have declared our unflinching support for Kalu to vote overwhelmingly for him to go back to Abuja, the community leader declared.
The provision of boreholes for rural communities at Federal Government College Ebem, Market Square, Amaoba section of Amaekpu Ohafia and Abanta Amokwe Item has continued to attract commendations for Senator Kalu.
Sharing his thoughts, a community leader from Ohafia, Chief James Ndukwe noted that the water project would enormously minimise the rate at which residents contract water-related diseases.
He explained that the boreholes would be a source of potable water, not only for the immediate communities, but other adjoining communities too.
Ndukwe acknowledged Kalu for the project. He is an irrepressible democrat who has continued to demonstrate uncommon vision and rare courage in working for the people of Abia North senatorial district and Nigeria at large.
“Kalu has done so much for the people of Ohafia since the return of democracy in 1999 more than any other political leader in the history of Abia State,” Ndukwe stated.
The mood was not different at Abanta Amokwe Item community where Senator Kalu has also extended his infrastructure drive through the provision of a motorised water borehole to reduce the agony of dwellers who travel far distances in search of potable water.
A resident of the community, Kalu Ndukwe, who spoke on the development, said that the project was also in fulfillment of one of the promises made by the Chief Whip of the Senate during his visit to the area in 2019.
He expressed gratitude, on behalf of youths of the community, to the Senator for the initiative.
“Having a borehole here is a thing of joy to us and we are excited about it. It will help reduce residents’ stress in fetching water,” he said.
Another resident, Mrs. Nkechi John, said: “We have been using money to buy pure water here, or trek for distances to fetch water. But with this borehole, our problem has been solved. We thank Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for all this wonderful projects and the numerous others he has done for Item people.”
It was earlier reported that Senator Orji Kalu had facilitated the construction of more than 35 road projects through the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in the 2022 budget.
Elected in 2019, Senator Kalu has continued to receive torrents of honours with respect to the avalanche of infrastructural and empowerment projects he facilitated to his constituents.
Some of the projects include the construction of over 350 2-5 kilometre rural access roads across the five local governments in Abia North; renovation of schools, hospitals; installation of motorised boreholes; provision of learning materials to students; distribution of over 1, 000 sewing machines, power generation sets, motorcycles to farmers and artisans.
In recognition of his infrastructure feat, the former governor has been bestowed with the notable awards of honours from reputable organisations. They include; ‘Progressive Leadership Award’ by the Progressive Movement for a Better Nigeria, a prominent pro-democracy group; Youth Leadership Award by the Nigerian Diaspora Youth Ambassadors; the 2021 and 2022 recipient of the prestigious ‘Overall Best Senator in Constituency Projects and Human Relations Award’ by the Senate Press Corps at the National Assembly; ‘Most Performing Senator’ by the “Southwest First Alert Magazine;
“Honorary Fellowship Award’ by the Chartered Institute of Project managers of Nigeria (CIPMN); “Award of Excellence” for service to humanity from the Progressive Island Club. And just recently he bagged the 2022 Best Senator of the Year in Constituency Projects at Leadership Excellence Awards. Kalu is also set to be honoured in December by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with its “Media Icon Award”.
On legislative matters Kalu has sponsored 51 Bills and over 15 motions at the Senate. Some of the bills which have since passed through advanced stages at the Senate include; a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Food Bank and Provide for Matters connected with or incidental to the Forgoing, Bill 2021; National Tax Crimes Commission (Establishment, Etc) Bill 2022; A bill for the establishment of Federal Polytechnic Abiriba, Abia State Bill 2022; A Bill for an Act to Amend Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004 to provide for increased funding of Basic Education in Nigeria Bill 2022 amongst others.
Senator Kalu also moved a motion on an urgent need to investigate the loss of $9 billion dollars annually due to the illegal mining and smuggling of gold in Nigeria.
According to Kalu’s media office, additional information on Senator Orji Kalu’s achievements at the Senate can be sourced at :https://orjikalumediacenter.com