Until Senator Orji Uzor Kalu became Abia North Senator in 2019 little was known about the capacity of a legislator to bring so much transformation to his constituency as he has done in just one and a half years.
Without exception all the local government areas in Abia North -Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Ohafia and Umenneochi – have the imprimatur of Kalu’s people oriented projects.
Without exaggeration, 17 road rehabilitation projects and 50 schools are being renovated as captured in the 2020 appropriation.
The Chief Whip of the Senate last week embarked on inspection of the projects he attracted and facilitated in the district. At Item in Bende Local Government Area, the former governor of Abia State inspected the renovated classroom blocks at Okoko Item Primary School and the Uzo Rubber Road.
Kalu noted that the projects were dear to his heart because, according to him, the school was last renovated 20 years ago when he was governor of Abia State. Similarly, the road was his promise to the people during the campaign.
The senator declared that he has asked FERMA to also rehabilitate the item road which he constructed as the governor 20 years ago.
From Item, Senator Kalu connected Nkporo where he inspected the seven kilometre Amurie, Agbaja, Nkporo Road and two motorised water borehole projects. He explained that during the campaign he had promised the people of Nkporo in Ohafia Local Government area that he would give them water.
“This is just in Nkporo, it’s about 7.3/7.4km. You know I campaigned here and the day I came here they told me the greatest problem they had was road and water.
You know when I was governor, I gave Nkporo people the first road and the first electricity that came into Nkporo was done by Arua, as my Commissioner for Public Utilities.
“ I directed him, then to make sure it was done because you cannot be a Commissioner for Public Utilities and still be using candlelight. I made sure we brought electricity here and now we are on massive road development for Nkporo people- something the community has never had before since creation is water and you can see in two places.
“Next year, I will try to give similar projects to Enugu and Etitiama Nkporo where the deputy governor comes from. I am going to give the deputy governor water to drink. Early next year they will be drilling water for him,”
he said. The scenario at Abia Ohafia was particularly pathetic. The people have never had the privilege of using asphalt roads. According to Kalu, he was touched when the people told him during the campaign that they had suffered untold hardship because of the deplorable state of the Akanu -Abia Ohafia Road.
They said that promises made by former Premier of the Eastern Region, late Dr. Michael Okpara and the former governor of Old Imo State, late Chief Sam Mbakwe, regarding the road were not fulfilled. Two of the seven kilometre road has been asphalted and Kalu directed the commencement of the second phase which will take the road both ways to Akanu and Abia communities.
Also, the people of Isiugwu Ohafia could not hide their joy as they came out to sing and dance in appreciation of what Kalu has done in giving them asphalt road with drainage.
The only road they ever had was through community effort in the days when roads were constructed with granite and tar. He said schools were being renovated in Isuikwuato, Ohafia,
Umunneochi and Arochukwu along with roads simultaneously. “The Senate is on recess but I am not on recess. I am doing constituency projects to make sure that I am in peace with my constituency. I am one of the senators in Nigeria, not just in the East who take this job seriously and who go to the constituency to see their needs.
“There is no local government in Abia North that is not benefiting. Even the erosion sites in Isuikwuato are being attended to through the efforts of Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and myself.
We are bringing the attention of the Federal Government to every detail because we are friendly with the Federal Government they are doing everything to support us, to make sure that our party politics, that the citizens where we come from, are on board because this senatorial District voted APC; they gave 68 per cent to Muhammadu Buhari.
It was Buhari they voted for,” he said. In the first year, 2020, of my senatorial representation, 17 roads and 50 schools have received the touch of Kalu’s humane magnanimity. “You can see that what we are doing is not a fluke; it is a reality.
While many people are talking and protesting we are busy working for our constituency.
We have senators that have been in the Senate for 16 years, who did nothing, not even a single road. I am going from here to put roads in Ariaria in Aba.” Kalu made it clear that he was determined to change the hitherto lackluster infrastructural narrative of Abia North.
He stated that by the time the budget for 2021 would be implemented the district would become a huge construction site. He explained that touching the life of the people positively was the essence of governance and leadership.
According to him, nothing gives him joy than to see the people happy. Eze Ojukwu Imoka, the traditional ruler of Achialiubi, Agbaja autonomous community, Nkporo, said Senator Kalu has done what no other has done for them and therefore should expect their pay back at the right time.
Also the House of Representatives member that represented Arochukwu/Ohafia, Hon Arua Arunsi, described what senators are doing at Nkporo as great just as Engr. Ndukwe Orji Agu, said the senator had broken an age-long jinx in Nkporo land by sinking a borehole which no one thought was possible.
At the Ugwuafia Primary School, Akanu Ohafia, where Kalu renovated a three classroom block, a community leader, Comrade Emele and the Head Teacher, Mrs. Glory Okoro, said Senator Kalu’s intervention has ameliorated the suffering of both the teachers and pupils of the school.
A community leader at Item, Chukwuemeka Ogbonnaya, said Dr Kalu was the only Senator that had done that to the community. In Arochukwu, Senator Kalu inspected on-going 2km Akama/Ugwuavo Road. He expressed satisfaction with the quality and pace of work even as the contractor assured that the asphalt overlay would be done next week. It is noteworthy that wherever Kalu the people trooped out to welcome him, calling him the people’s choice.