By Dickson Okafor
FORMER governor of Abia State, who is Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA) candidate for Abia North’s senatorial district rerun poll, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has re- affirmed his commitment to influence meaningful development to the area as he is hopeful that he would be elected senator on Saturday, March 5.
Kalu said this when he was fielding questions during a town hall meeting with the people of Umuokogbue Eluama community in Isiukwuato local government area.
The ex-governor presented himself to the people as the capable candidate, who de- serves the votes of the people as he is ready to bring about expected, positive change in the district. He stated that at the Senate, influence is a fundamental criterion for the attraction of dividends of democracy to constituencies.
In his words: “I am the only man who can bring Buhari to the south east and I am going to bring him to commission the Isiukwuato Power Plant. A legislator has no budget.
I will need to be part of the next budget planning to be able to influence the commissioning of that power plant. I will work with the Minis- try of Power to ensure that the project is commissioned within the first two years of my election as senator.”
He said within the brief period of the legislative arm of government in 1992 when he was a member of the House of Representatives, where he represented Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency, he was able to influence the dual Citizenship Bill, which was assented to by military President Ibrahim Babangida.
“It was during my stay at the House of Representatives that I was able to success- fully move the dual citizen- ship bill, which Nigerians in the Diaspora enjoy till today. That same way, I am go- ing to influence a lot of bills that will better the lots of my people.
“It was a result of my good representation in the House of Representatives. that made my people massively vote for me to be their governor and today, they are happily push- ing for me to represent them at the Senate. “I have all the qualities to be there and if I am there, Abia North will have one of the ranking senators in the chamber as I have been a member of the House of Representatives. I have been a governor of my state for eight years. I am a very successful businessman with an employment of over 10,000 workers. I am also a detribalised Nigerian.”
Kalu decried the undemocratic norm of rigging and writing votes in secluded places which does not reflect the wishes of the people.
“I implore town unions, development unions, youths and women to stand against vote rigging. On the voting day, you are expected to cast your votes for PPA peacefully and remain there to ensure that the votes are counted and the result announced to you.
“The days of re-writing results are gone. This is President Buhari’s administration where electoral malpractices are not encouraged.”
While commending the people for coming out en masse to express their sup- port for his election on Saturday, March 5, he said: “I am pleased that our people have realised the best ways they should be represented. Town hall meetings are best ways by which you can meet directly with your leaders; ask them questions while they expose their plans and achievements as they lead you. Let me also state this, that town hall meetings such as this will be a good means, which I will use to ensure that the needs of the people are brought directly to my knowledge.”
Meanwhile, Kalu’s ambition received a boost at the weekend when President of Blue Diamond Logistics, China, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu threw his weight behind Kalu.
He led a delegation of Nigerians in Asia to Kalu’s Igbere residence to register their support for the man he described as “the voice of Ndigbo.” The who–is-who in Abia North were on hand to welcome the delegation.
Mbisiogu said they decided to support Kalu because of his antecedents and track record which, according to him, speaks volume.