Ex-gov responsible for Abia North’s exclusion from 2016 budget – Ohuabunwa

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A member of the National Assembly, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, has accused a former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, of being the allegedly responsible for the exclusion of Abia North Senatorial District in the 2016 Federal budget.
Ohuabunwa who currently represents the district in the Senate, accused Kalu of working against the interest of the area, resulting in its alleged exclusion from this year’s budget by the Federal Government.
The senator in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Umuahia, the state capital, described the situation as worrisome.
The lawmaker alleged that the exclusion of the senatorial district occurred during his three-month absence from the Senate, following his sack by the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital and during which this year’s budget was prepared.
The victory of the Peoples Democratic Party senator is being challenged for the second time by Kalu of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, after he had once again been floored in the contest for the seat.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had, early this year, ordered a rerun election for the senatorial seat after the Court of Appeal had nullified Ohubunwa’s election, which had earlier been upheld by the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.
Ohuabunwa, however, listed some of the major challenges confronting the district to include bad road network, especially the Ohafia-Arochukwu Federal Road, lack of Federal Government’s presence, infrastructure decay and mass unemployment.
He stressed that the essence of representation in government was to give the people a voice in decision- making, adding that when the voice could no longer be heard, the people would be denied their rights and privileges.
The former two-term House of Representatives member noted that the legal tussle with Kalu had always amounted to unnecessary distractions to him and a huge loss to the district and the state in general.
Expressing the hope that he would come out victorious again, the senator appealed to the people of the district and his supporters across the country to join hands with him in seeking the face of God in the matter.
The lawmaker, therefore, called on elders and stakeholders in the district to rise to the occasion by prevailing on the former Abia governor to sheathe his sword in the overall interest and development of the district.
Ohuabunwa said, “The implication of this is that the Federal Government will not execute any new project or programme in the district throughout the period because there was nobody in the Senate to speak for it.
“The legal tussle between my major challenger and myself in the election, which is now before the Election Petitions Tribunal, has become a major distraction for me and it is not in the best interest of the district.”
Efforts to get the reaction of Kalu failed as our correspondent could not reach him on the phone. Also, he did not reply text messages sent to him.
But a member of the PPA and a staunch supporter of the former Abia governor, Mr. Henry Ogwo, from Bende Local Government Area of the state, described the claims by Ohuabunwa as “ridiculous, baseless and uncalled for.”