Umuahia – Abia State Governor, Dr Chioma Otti, has said he chose to celebrate the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, because of his contribution to the security and welfare of residents of the state.

Speaking at a reception organised in honour of Kalu on Thursday, Otti, described the federal lawmaker as “a good man with a good spirit who deserves all the encomiums and celebrations of Abia people”.

The governor, while describing Kalu as a brother and friend of many years, said, “What we have done today is what should be done. Ben Kalu deserves all the encomiums and all the celebration, and if we continue to celebrate him till the end of this year, we won’t have done too much.

“Why? Because, first and foremost, he is a good man with a good spirit. From my personal bias, he is my younger brother, my friend of several years, more than 15, 20 years.”

He said the lawmaker had distinguished himself and identified the purpose for which he was elected, hence, the state government decided to honour him despite political differences to appreciate his laudable contributions and selfless service to the state.

Meanwhile, the governor said the funds required to implement the 2024 budget were available.

“Some people are wondering where he (the governor) is going to find N567bn. My answer to them is that I have found the money already. So, you shouldn’t lose sleep because the money is there.”

He commended members of the national and state house of assemblies as well as residents of the state for their support, assured them of better things to come in 2024 and implored those with investments outside to bring them home as Abia was open to business.

“If you do have your investment sited somewhere else, this is the time to bring them down to Abia State. Abia is open for business, foreign investors are coming, and we don’t even need to travel.

“I’m sure you know that I hardly travel. Gone are the days when leaders would take a flight to relocate abroad and tell you they are looking for foreign investments. My message to all of us is that we must fix our home and when we fix our home, other people will come and invest,” the governor added.

In his response, Kalu said he was deeply humbled by the reception given to him by the state government and Otti and acknowledged the governor’s commitment to the advancement of Abia State.

He added, “We have seen, under your leadership, the intentionality for restoring critical infrastructure, especially with roads and urban renewal in concurrence with a renewed focus on education and healthcare. For Abia to flourish, we must all unite, regardless of party lines.

“I am proud to assert that my leadership philosophy revolves around the idea that we can only impact well when we partner, irrespective of political affiliations and I want to declare to Nigerians that the governor of Abia State is my truest partner in the development of the state.”

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