From Fred Itua and Kenneth Udeh

Public Forum



Former governor of Abia State and senator representing Abia North in the 10th National Assembly, Orji Uzor Kalu, is in the news again, and for the right reasons. Known for his outspokenness and pragmatism on national issues, Kalu has again demonstrated that he’s not a bench warmer in the Senate.

Among his colleagues, he stands tall as one of the senators with the highest number of bills in the 10th National Assembly, barely 10 months after he assumed office. To his credit he has sponsored the highest number of bills among the list of former governors in the Senate. The former Chief Whip of the Senate and chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation is the only lawmaker who sponsored the highest number of bills among the13 former governors in the Senate in the last 10 months.

Kalu’s bills include Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024; the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024; the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Beyond his fine art of law-making, Kalu, often described as the best senator to have represented Abia North since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, has made far-reaching contributions since his reelection last year. On national security, economy, representation, and constituency outreach, Kalu has not been found wanting.

As an astute and successful businessman, Kalu readily offers business advice and survivalist skills in a changing economy. Recently, he told farmers in his district to return to agriculture to sustain themselves in the face of the economic hardship in the country.

Kalu emphasised that agriculture is important in providing food security, creating employment opportunities, and boosting the economy. The senator urged the people to take advantage of the fertile lands in their region and start cultivating crops that are in high demand.

He added that, as a result, many farmers in his district have since started planting crops such as cassava, maize, and vegetables. Kalu said, as part of his support for the farmers, he had resolved to assist them by providing them with funding and training. The senator said he had been rendering similar assistance in the past through his foundation.

He assured that he would work with agricultural experts to ensure that the farmers have access to modern farming techniques and technologies. The senator appealed to the federal government to introduce an agricultural programme that will help the farmers in the rural areas who are in need of government assistance.

He urged the farmers to have hope in Nigeria and always pray for the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, assuring that the hardship will soon end. As expected, his dutiful constituents have since commenced farming in commercial scale, rest assured that their benevolent senator will never abandon them.

Kalu’s giant strides in providing infrastructure to his people, have also received the needed accolades. Ndi Ibe Ohafia Development Union recently commended the lawmaker for his massive contributions to human and infrastructural development of the Ndi Ibe Ohafia community.

In a letter of appreciation, signed by the NDU Secretary-General, Chief (Comr.) Stephen O. Idika, on behalf of the community, NDU applauded the former governor of Abia State for attracting the construction of a block of three-classrooms to Ndi Ibe Community School and for installing solar street lights in strategic locations across the community.

The letter read in part: “On behalf of the National Executive and the entire members of Ndi Ibe Ohafia Development Union, we hereby formally appreciate your decision to identify and allocate 10 solar-powered lights and a three-classroom block to our community, Ndi Ibe Ohafia, from among the numerous and other bigger communities in Abia North senatorial zone.

“We also appreciate the fact that you did not only allocate these facilities, but also ensured that they are actually installed and constructed in our community. Your action has demonstrated and confirmed the love you have for our community. We will forever remain grateful to you.

“The story of the development of the present day Ndi Ibe Ohafia cannot be complete without mentioning your name, as we recall that you were also instrumental to the construction of the asphalt road that passed through our community and the engagement of our sons in governance.

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“It is the wish of our community that God will continue to uphold you and give you the wisdom to carry out the plans you have for Abia North senatorial zone.”

He’s also described as a bridge-builder. Passionate about development, he recently called on Nigerians to give the Tinubu-led Federal Government more time to fix the economy. According to him, Tinubu was working assiduously to reposition the country’s economy and restore its lost glory.

“The APC government is cutting the cloth into pieces. Before you sew a cloth you will first cut it into pieces before you start sewing the cloth; so, Tinubu is busy cutting the cloth into pieces. So, give us another three years or two years; people are suffering we understand that, give us more two years for the cloth we want to sew to be sewn very well,” Kalu said.

Whenever duty calls yo defend the Igbo of South East extraction, Kalu rises to the occasion. At the peak of the ministerial screening when President Tinubu refused to cede an extra ministerial slot to the South East, Kalu, like the biblical Moses, rose. He begged President Tinubu, to give his region one more ministerial slot.

“For me, the president has demonstrated the capacity of understanding the diversity and geographical spread of Nigeria. I know many people will be complaining that some zones get more, and some did not get more, yes, it is in order, the constitution provides that every state must have one.

“But I appeal that he should give South-East one more to be able to have the sixth one that they used to have. To be honest with you, the ministerial list has shown that the president will understand the fundamental problems of Nigerians. Tinubu has shown an understanding of the rudiments of political processes,” pleaded.

Though Kalu has exceeded expectations as a seasoned lawmaker, some of the colleagues have also joined the league of active senators. Among the entire 109 senators , four of the 13 former governors and 21 other senators are yet to sponsor any bill since June 13, 2023 when the 10th National Assembly was inaugurated, Daily Trust’s findings revealed.

The other former governors on this list are of those thate have sponsored bills are Senators Seriake Dickson (PDP-Bayelsa West), Adams Oshiomhole (APC-Edo North), Abdulaziz Yari (APC -Zamfara West) and Simon Lalong (APC – Plateau South).

Following the former Abia Governor closely is Senator Gbenga Daniel (APC-Ogun East) who has four bills to his credit they are :the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024; the Federal College of Aviation Technology (Establishment) Bill, 2023; the Terminal Illness Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2023 and the Media Practitioners Registration Council of Nigeria (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio and former governor of Akwa Ibom State has sponsored the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2023 and the National Institute for Electoral Studies (Establishment) Bill, 2023.

Senator Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central), former governor of Gombe State, has so far sponsored two bills in this Assembly: the Federal University of Horticulture Dadin-Kowa, Gombe State (Establishment) Bill and the Federal Medical Centre Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Another former governor of Gombe State, Senator Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (PDP- Gombe North), has sponsored the Federal University of Education (Technical), Gombe (Establishment) Bill, 2023 and the Federal College of Forestry, Wawa Zange, Dukku, Gombe State (Establishment) Bill, 2023.

The immediate past governor of Niger State, Senator Abubakar Bello (APC- Niger North), has also sponsored two bills: the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Wushishi, Niger State (Establishment) Bill, 2023 and the Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria Act (Enactment) Bill, 2023.

A former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wammako (APC-Sokoto North), has also sponsored two bills: the National War College Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Pension Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The immediate past governor of Sokoto and former speaker of the House of Representatives, Senator Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (PDP-Sokoko South), is the sponsor of the Federal Housing Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

A former governor of Kebbi State, Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP-Kebbi Central) has sponsored the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi (Establishment) Bill, 2023.

• Itua and Udeh wrote in from Abuja