Understanding Orji Kalu’s Democratic Principles And Abia Development: (1999-2007 Under Review)
In politics we do not attack individuals but issues. If anyone has issues with OUK including Odo who has comparatively decided to play to political galleries, Igbere or Abuja could be reached to iron out such issues.
OUK, like him or hate him is a Political Iroko in Nigeria. He may not be a Saint, but when he was Governor salaries were paid as at and when due throughout his tenure that spanned 1999 to 2007. Gratuities were paid to retired staff throughout this period under consideration. Teachers and other civil servants were able to build houses, bought cars and there was also Free Education in the State.
ABSU was given its due monthly subvention and was then rated as one of the best managed schools in Nigeria. The Faculty of Law under Prof Ojukwu as Dean of the Faculty of Law was rated the best in Nigeria and that was under OUK. Roads were ubiquitously built in Abia State but were not maintained from 2007. He was the only voice in Igbo Land!
Back home, there is no single project one can say was attracted by any government in Ohafia from 1999 todate apart from those built by OUK. In particular OUK built Amangwu Road, OUK built Okon Aku Road, OUK built Amuma through Ndi Ibe Roads. He reconstructed Ebem-Asaga Roads that were destroyed after the civil war.
As a Senator, just within 30 days of his being at the Red Chamber he fought and became the Chief Whip of the Senate and within the three years justified his being there by scattering meaningful and developmental projects (53 roads and still counting) across the five local government areas that made up Abia North, namely Ohafia, Arochukwu, Bende, Umunneochi and Isiukwuato. In particular we have so many roads he has attracted in Ohafia LGA including but not limited to Abia, Isiugwu, Abiriba ring Road, Nkporo by Eze Aja Road, Itumbu Uzo Road, Ntalakwu Road Bende, Eziama Road Isiukwuato and Umunneochi Link Road and others too numerous to mention.
OUK in his time allowed democracy to flourish especially at the local government level. For example in Ohafia LGA where l was the Boss between 2004 to 2006, we had ANPP councillor in the person of Mr. UDONSI Eke Kalu(UDAIK) from Okon, AD councillor in the person of Mrs Grace Agbara from Ameke Abiriba, NDP councillor in the person of Mr Eke Idika Uwa from Akanu Ukwu, and others from ANPP were ABACHA from Ndi Ufie Ward Nkporo, HILARY from Ania Ward. Others came from PDP including my humble self.That was democracy in action. What do we have now? One party system!!
Because OUK gave us free hand we were able to pay local government staff as at and when due. Salaries were paid every 23rd of the month throughout our tenure. What is the position today? Workers are owed over 23 months Salaries and are placed on half Salaries whenever they want to pay. Odo will not write on this issue! We opened Ohafia development because we attracted ZENITH BANK, ECO BANK and Micro Finance Banks because the allocation from the Federal Government was domiciled in Ohafia and no more Umuahia as it were. Again OUK gave us free hand to employ Ohafia people into the local government system. Hitherto, the system employed only Ngwa and Umuahia people because nobody stood for our people. Today, I am proud to say that the workforce from Ohafia in the system constitutes about 85%! We completed the Okon Aku health Centre through their Councillor Hon Udensi Eke Kalu (UDAIK), we built IYI AKARANI BRIDGE ASAGA and the contact was awarded to Prince Ndubuisi Onugu, ASAGA has been developed as a result of that project. We were the first LGA in Abia State to do asphalting and through that we opened the Ohafia ring Road that transversed through late Chief Ojigwe’s House up to Timber Shed road Ebem Ohafia and this has made it possible for people going to Asaga, Okon, Amangwu, Ndi Orieke, etc, Akanu, Ndi Uduma, Abia, Arochukwu to have alternative road whenever there’s hold up at Ebem Park.
We also built the Ebem Daily Market, we recovered Egbe Mburumaja erosion in Akanu adjacent to High Chief Uche Ogboso’s House. We also brought down Abia hill through the invitation of Dr Uchendu of then PG of Abia Community. At Isiama we constructed the dual drainage from the General Hospital Amekpu close to Hon Sampson Anaga’s House at Okagwe. Without the drainage on both sides of the road, most probably the road would have collapsed. We rebuilt Abiriba Customary Court and Ekpekuma Health Centre. We built Iroyi Bridge at Nkporo, we started Nkporo Police Station, and renovated many schools in Ohafia LGA. We attracted all the Health Centres in Ohafia LGA that our people are enjoying today. We brought peace at Eziafor Ohafia without compromise. Within the 2 years in office we graded all the Wards in Ohafia and that was made possible because OUK gave us free hand to operate. All the Councillors in the system then built one or two projects in their various Wards. What is the position today??? The local government system properly so called is dead and buried! What is in place is what they call Transition Chairman in the system which is alien to our Constitution, yet people like Odo are so blind not to tackle on the issue but will at every slippery opportunity find pleasure to attack OUK.
For the avoidance of any iota, modicum or scintilla of doubt OUK is an outstanding political figure in Nigeria. He is an enigma and has overgrown party-politics. He is the man of the people and this was made possible by his developmental projects and God on his side. Whether PDP, APC, APGA, ANNP or even APP, these parties and indeed the PEOPLE will at all times embrace OUK in any context.
Last Line: Allowance has been given to some political merchants struggling in vain to be relevant, attacking OUK unjustly through name calling. Yes we have freedom of speech and Freedom of Information, but there must be a limit to it. Where your freedom stops is where another’s begins. Allowance has been given for immature perception of what is governance and that allowance has to stop somewhere! Nigeria is a country with a robust legal system; even under military regime, the legal system is no respecter of anyone, government principalities, government powers and the likes including those hiding under free speech to bring down our Leaders. As things unfold we are poised henceforth to bring such people before a competent court to defend some of their utterances that negate constitutional democracy.
Barr. Emeka Kalu , Former Chairman Ohafia Local Government Area writes from Umuahia