By Kenneth Udeh
Residents of Bende Local Government Area in Abia North were, at the weekend, thrilled with excitement following the commissioning of newly completed roads and a civic centre by the Senate Chief Whip, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, and the facilitator, Benjamin Kalu.
The roads commissioned include a 1 km road Amaogbu, Agbonmiri, Ndi Okorie Ukwu road, the Okpororenyi Nkalunta road and the Agbamunzu town hall, all situated in Bende town, Bende federal constituency.
Amidst fanfare, Bende people rallied in their large numbers to celebrate and witness the commissioning exercise.
According to records, this was the first time in history that the communities will have their roads tarred and well constructed since their existence.
Prior to their construction, the roads were in a deplorable condition, causing untold hardship to the community dwellers. A community stakeholder, the President General Bende, Loveday Kalu, recalled how motorists and road users found it difficult to navigate the roads, most especially during the rainy season.
Overwhelmed with excitement, Loveday expressed his gratitude on behalf of the community to both Senator Kalu and Benjamin Kalu describing their representation at the National Assembly as exceptional stating that Bende Federal constituency never had it this good.
Another resident in the community, Chinasa Okorie, added that Benjamin Kalu is an answered prayer to the yearnings of Bende, emphasising that the House of Representatives spokesman has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he went to the National Assembly with the interest of the people at heart.
He extolled both Senator Kalu and Benjamin Kalu for working harmoniously to come to their aid to see that the roads were constructed for their economic benefit.
Speaking during the commissioning, facilitator of the projects, Benjamin Kalu appreciated the Senate chief whip who also hails from Bende Local Government Area, for his role as a father and mentor through his sojourn in politics.
The spokesperson of the 9th House of Representatives disclosed that he achieved the completion of the projects as a result of heeding to the advice of Senator Kalu, to hit the ground running from the very first day he assumed office, immediately after he won his election.
He said: “Senator Kalu remains my leader and mentor in politics, what I am doing today is the result of what he taught me in politics and I don’t fail to declare it publicly that he is my leader and big brother. He taught me that I should start working from the first day that I assume office immediately after the conclusion of the election and I was glad that I listened to him. He told me not to delay, not even for one week or a month. It is on that basis that I invited him to commission these projects himself, Since Senator Kalu is the man who taught me the systematics of constructing roads for our community, I invited him to cut the tape himself.”
Accompanied by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Nigerian Film Corporation, Chidia Maduekwe, Federal Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, Maduka Ukaegbu, the chief whip of the Senate, in his address commended Benjamin Kalu for a job well done.
Kalu expressed that Benjamin Kalu has performed excellently in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Bende, saying he is pleased with him.
“Ben Kalu is my representative whom I’m very pleased with, because he has performed excellently well. The beauty of democracy is continuous improvement and Benjamin Kalu has proven that he is a forthright man who loves his people the same way I love them and I told him he must work like me.
“When I was governor, I provided infrastructures of this kind but we had minimal funds. Now, we have a president that completes the budget cycle. I served as governor for eight years but never saw a governor who completes the budget cycle, but President Muhammadu Buhari has always completed the budget cycle from 2019 to 2021 by 100 percent.
Speaking further, Kalu said the various ongoing and completed projects in Bende and Abia North at large was a payback to the people for voting massively for President Buhari and APC during the 2019 general election.
Kalu pointed out that Abia North was the zone in the entire South East and South South that President Buhari won convincingly.
He reiterated that the zone remains the stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying himself and members representing Bende and Isuikwuato/Umuneochi constituency belong to the same party enjoy distinct closeness to the presidency as result of the massive support the party enjoys in the zone.
Kalu also urged the people to shun their negative attitude towards President Buhari, saying the president loves the Igbo.
Earlier in his remark, Benjamin Kalu said the ultra modern civic centre was constructed by himself and a fellow kinsman, Chief Acho for the people to have a place to hold events, meetings and other similar official and social gatherings.