From Kenneth Udeh
Relief has come the way of Aro residents in Arochukwu LGA of Abia North as Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday commissioned two major communal link roads which he facilitated in their community.
According to communal residents, the newly completed asphalt 2km and 3km interlink roads have been neglected for 30 years, with the road having a negative impact on the communities within the axis. The newly commissioned asphalt roads form part of the 53 road projects expedited by Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip to the rural communities in Abia North senatorial district, some of which were recently inaugurated by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
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Addressing a jubilant gathering during the commissioning ceremony, Senator Orji Kalu, who was also a former governor of the state 23 years ago, explained that the road ought to have been built during his tenure as governor but for the paucity of funds allocated to states as at that period of time. The Senate Chief Whip praised President Buhari for the full implementation of the country’s budget. Kalu also thanked Buhari for acceding to his request to pay special attention to Abia North as a reward for voting massively for the president during the 2019 Presidential elections.
‘I thank President Buhari for making the realisation of these projects possible . Abia North voted massively for President Buhari and now they are reaping its dividends. There is a saying that it will take a long distance to get to Aro but I will make it nearer when I’m done with the number of road projects which I will facilitate in this town. The truth is President Buhari is the brain behind the funding of these projects through the sovereign wealth fund,’ Kalu said.
‘The narrative that President Buhari dislikes the Igbos is false, because these projects were made possible through him; so he is a great man. For the first time in the history of this country under President Buhari’s dispensation our nation’s budget runs a complete cycle at 99% and he has ensured that every penny is released for implementation in the various sectors of our economy.
‘This road is just the beginning because we have more projects for Arochukwu in this year’s budget. Politics aside, I have a personal relationship with President Buhari for over 30 years, after the 2019 General elections I met with President Buhari and I told him that he must compensate Abia North for voting massively for him because we are the only is on record that Abia North senatorial zone is the only zone in the South East and South-South that gave Buhari 68 per cent votes in the 2019 general elections.’
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Shedding more light on the state of other uncompleted roads in the community, Kalu, a first-time senator, explained that the Arochukwu to Ihechiowa roads hasn’t been completed due to the death of a former contractor who was initially awarded the road contract by the Federal Government, making it hard to br re-awarded to a new contractor. He disclosed that he had a serious discussion with the Minister for Works, Babatunde Fashola, to resolve the matter to expedite the construction of the road.
The thrilled residents in their separate addresses heaped praises on Senator Orji Kalu and President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that Kalu had made them realise that legislatures have the capacity to facilitate infrastructural projects.
Hon Daniel Okeke, a House of Representative aspirant, said: ‘We never knew senators can build roads and also facilitate other key developmental projects, but we have a senator who has made sure that indeed senators can build roads. Be rest assured that your votes in Arochukwu are secured, just go and rest because we are solidly behind you.’
President, OUK for President, Joseph Udonkwo, on his part said: ‘We travelled all the way from Akwa Ibom to see for ourselves what we have been hearing about your good works in Abia North. You have set the pace with your track record. There have been governors in this state but none can match our record. In your first time at the Senate, you have done what others cannot do. If the presidency is zoned to the South East, you stand as number one amongst others.
Another community stakeholder, Ambassador Onu, thanking Kalu, recounted the difficulties experienced by the community prior to Kalu’s intervention: ‘For 30 years this road was not motorable, motorists had to use other longer routes to get access to the right destinations which takes a longer period of time. But now the road has been constructed we can now drive smoothly. Orji Kalu told me specifically that he was going to construct this road if elected and in less than 3 years after election he had fulfilled his promise.’
Principal, Technical Secondary School, Arochukwu, Mrs Comfort Onwuchekwa, expressed her gratitude to the Senate Chief Whip for his infrastructure projects which she said has been extended to the area of education.
‘This road is in addition to your works in the area of education,’ she said. We are grateful for the textbooks, school bags and other learning materials that you have supplied to all the schools in Abia North. We are grateful on behalf of all the teachers. I say thank you.’