Between Orji Uzor Kalu’s records and ACIU Ccaims Of disenfranchisement
The Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has denied the allegation of disenfranchising the people of Abiriba in Ohafia Local Council of Abia State in the February 25 National Assembly election.
The lawmaker said the allegation that he accused Agboji and Ameke communities in Abiriba of being sympathetic to the agitations of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), thereby making the voters there not to come out to exercise their civic right, was false and unfounded.
The former Abia State governor’s response followed the claim by a group, Abiriba Communal Improvement Union (ACIU), which said that Kalu’s alleged comment was instrumental to why their people did not vote on the election day over fear of being attacked.
ACIU, in a paid newspaper advertorial, claimed that Kalu’s alleged comment caused INEC not to deploy its officials to the community, which according to them, eventually disenfranchised some of their people.
However, the group in the paid advert severally contradicted itself as it claimed at one point that INEC officials did not show up for the conduct of the National Assembly election in the community, while at another point it said the officials came but at an inappropriate time.
“INEC did not show up till about 3:20p.m on that fateful day. When they eventually arrived, particularly in Agboji ward that has 10 polling units, they claimed they did not have adequate voting materials”, the advertorial in a national daily read in part.
Responding to the allegation, Kalu’s media aide, Maduka Okoro, in a statement, said, “there was no shadow of truth in the allegation by ACIU,” pointing out that, “Kalu does not deploy INEC officials, hence cannot be accused of being responsible for the alleged disenfranchisement of the people of Abiriba.”
According to Okoro, the threat by IPOB to unleash mayhem largely affected the turnout of voters in the senatorial district, noting that his principal never mentioned Abiriba with regards to membership of IPOB. He said that the security agencies were on ground and documented that the apathy witnessed in some polling units in Abiriba was as a result of a threat by IPOB, a report corroborated by INEC.
The statement added: “Sen. Kalu has consistently demonstrated that he is a leader for all. As a governor, he constructed the majority of the roads in Abiriba and such roads are still there till date. He has never discriminated against any clan in Abia State.
“As a senator, he has equally upheld such a record, which is clearly seen in his even distribution of democratic dividends. Our brothers in Abiriba are big beneficiaries of Sen. Kalu’s effective representation and this is anchored on his firm belief that we are all one.
“Even as a governor, the number of Abiriba sons and daughters who were appointed into strategic positions by Kalu is numerous. He has for ages demonstrated love, which he will continue to demonstrate.
“It is disappointing that ACIU, a socio-cultural organisation, has delved into politics instead of focusing on the development of its community and protection of its culture.
“Pointing accusing fingers on Sen. Kalu for the perceived failure of INEC officials to arrive at the polling units in good time is uncharitable. Would Orji Kalu also be held responsible for late arrival of INEC officials in polling units in Delta, Nasarawa, Kogi, Sokoto and elsewhere in the country? This is not a case peculiar to Abia alone.
“The elections are over. It is time for governance and we must all join hands to move every inch of Abia North forward rather than engaging in politics of antagonism.
“The cord binding us together supersedes political interest. Even if ACIU does not like the face of Sen. Kalu, it must honour the bond of our brotherhood and respect our age-long togetherness. The political office is transient while our cord of love remains,” he stated.
Okoro listed the achievements Kalu has recorded in Abiriba community from 1999 till date. He said: “From 1999 to 2003, OUK was instrumental to the emergence of Hon. Tony OkoroKalu as the Majority Leader of Abia State House of Assembly; OUK appointed Dr. Eke Agbai as Commissioner for Information; OUK appointed the late Chief Anya Oruada as special assistant to the governor; OUK appointed Chief Ndubuisi Eme as personal aide to the governor; OUK constructed ring road in Abiriba, from Oba Amaogudu through Orie Akwa to Abiriba roundabout.
“From 2003 to 2007, OUK appointed Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa as Commissioner for Education; OUK appointed the late Chief Dike Udensi, Chief David Ogba Onuoha (Bourdex) and Chief Okebulu Jombo as board members in Abia State University (ABSU); OUK appointed the late Chief Michael Nwoke Okocha as board chairman of Abia Poly; OUK appointed the late Chief Anya Oruada liaison officer Aba North and Aba South; OUK appointed Chief Ndubuisi Eme as personal aide to the governor; OUK appointed Prince George Nnanna Kalu as chairman Abia Sports Council; OUK appointed Princess Grace Agbara, T. C. chairman Ohafia LGA; OUK appointed Prince George Nnanna Kalu as Commissioner for Works and Transport and later deployed him to Agriculture Ministry as commissioner; OUK appointed Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa as Vice Chancellor of Abia State University; OUK appointed General Mba Ukariwo as chairman governing board of Abia Poly; OUK appointed Chief Emmanuel Agwu Orji as T. C. Chairman, Ohafia LGA; OUK constructed two numbers of roads from Ali-Nde-Oriri to hospital road junction Amaogudu, and Okpu-Achi-KamaluAgboji.
“From 2018, before he was elected as senator, OUK attracted NDDC asphalt overlay from Okpu-Achi through Amaogudu -Udanta-Ukpo-Amanta, Amaukwu-Orie Akwa, including the current residence of Enachioken of Abiriba.
“As a senator, four classroom block rehabilitation at Amamba community primary school; construction of roads in Amaeke, Amaogudu and Agboji communities by OUK; construction of palm oil processing mill at Agboji; distribution of mobile cassava processing machines in 17 villages of Abiriba and OgoUbi settlements. OUK also employed an Abiriba son as his official photographer aide in NASS.”
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