Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is not knew to controversy. His political life has been a tale of the good, the bad and ugly. Since he parted ways with Chief T.A Orji, his political godson, he has been struggling to return to mainstream politics. Today, Kalu is back to political reckoning after winning the Abia North senatorial election in the just concluded General Election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. In this interview with News Critic, Kalu insists that he has what it takes to emerge as the Deputy Senate President. He spoke through his South East media assistant, Hon. Maduka Okoro. Excerpts:
How possible is Dr. Orji Uzor kalu deputy senate president aspiration given that APC has zoned the offices?
The issue of zoning by APC is a temporary thing, being that it is the people that decide not party. Most of the times people vote based on what you are and who you are not because of party. What matters is the candidate that has good package and Orji Kalu is coming with a good record. Don’t forget that it is Kalu that took Abia APC from a moribund state to a vibrant party. During the 2015 General Election, President Muhammadu Buhari polled less votes in Abia, this time he got over 27 percent votes because of the likes of Kalu who joined the APC. Beyond that we are saying that Kalu is not only qualified but he is the man that can make the senate to be vibrant, and bring synergy in the NASS especially after the exit of Dr Chuba Okadigbo.
What we are saying is that Nigeria is built on a tripod stand, so there is no way the president will come from the North, then the senate president from North and Vice President and Speaker from the South West. If we do that it means Nigeria has turned to Hausa and Yoruba society that promotes tribalism. If we look at it now Kalu is the only person that can bring peace in the senate, he is the face of new Nigeria and Africa. The man who the Igbos don’t joke with, the Hausas love and Yorubas understand. We need a senate that will bring peace and progress to Nigeria. We don’t need rancour again in the NASS where the legislature and the executive will not work together in harmony.
Don’t you think that his insistence on running against the party’s decision might pitch him against the leadership of the APC?
I don’t think the party has finally spoken, we still have room for changes. If you can remember, some weeks ago it was said that the senate president will come from North east, they also said that the deputy senate president will come from North central. They have changed that to say the deputy senate president will come from south-south, but there is nothing wrong with that. In politics you don’t sit down in your house and get power, we have to go out and fight for it, so let the people decide who they want. Let the senators decide who they want, it’s all about lobbying and negotiations. Kalu is among our best and brightest and he knows what is good for Nigeria. So, if after he couldn’t make it, so be it. He remains a party man. But we are very optimistic that the majority want Kalu to emerge as the deputy senate president so that Nigeria will become a better place for all of us.
What about the South east region has he been able to galvanize support from the senators?
As a reputable journalist that you are you will know that the South east senators have endorsed Kalu, and the APC but they will not make noise about it. That is why we are saying let’s go to the floor and fight it out and let the best emerge. He has what it takes to become the deputy senate president.
There are insinuations that this race is also about 2023 ambition?
This race has nothing to do with 2023 ambition. But there is nothing wrong being ambitious. If Kalu feels he can reposition Nigeria, then we shall all have cause to celebrate.
Is it true that Orji Kalu did not work for the victory of APC governorship candidate in Abia, Uche Ogah in the just concluded election?
It’s not true, how can you build your house and destroy it? It is Kalu who practically built APC in Abia State. Look at the calibre of people he brought into APC even PDP don’t have such personalities. Some of them are reaching out to us to join us. Anybody that is saying that is insinuating, it’s politics of rumour mongering. Don’t forget that Kalu has invested so much money into the party to make it vibrant. Most of them didn’t bring a dime when President Muhammadu Buhari came to Abia, and I know how much Kalu contributed to make the event a huge success. He worked hard to ensure that APC produced the next governor of Abia, but it wasn’t his fault that the party lost the election. The people who caused the defeat know themselves, Kau has no time for blame game. Kalu is a leader, and we are sure APC is going to move to the next level in the state.
We heard it that kalu is reaching out to Orji for possible reconciliation, how true is this?
I don’t know about reconciliation. As you know is it the duty of the father to go to the son for reconciliation or is it the son that will go to the father to make peace. Kalu made Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe to become the deputy governor of Abia, he made Senator T.A Orji to become the chief of staff for eight years. And without Kalu, Orji wouldn’t have become the governor. I want to let you know that over 96 percent of political appointees in Abia were made by Kalu. Look at the array of political appointees in PDP today, it was Kalu that made them including Chief Charles Ogbonnaya, Ukwu Rocks etc. In fact, when Kalu dissolved the Transition Committee Chairmen of Local Government Councils, Chief Charles Ogbonnaya almost fainted and what have they used to pay him back, nothing.
How do you see the PDP government in the state now?
How can you perform when you don’t have vision, how can you do better when there is no governor in Abia state? A government that does not care about the state and workers. They rigged the election and Abians saw it. People are suffering, the deputy governor don’t know what he is doing, no commissioner can say what they have achieved. Street lights are not working, pot holes are getting into government house, a classic case of charity begins at home. That is to tell you the state of Affairs in the Abia.
PDP government has not been able to do anything, even most of the commissioners and political appointees are not happy because they can’t even get their salaries. Look at May Day celebration, I’m surprised by NLC that it can’t lock up the ministries and stamp its feet on the ground that no one should go to work because of non-payment of salaries. Look at the teachers suffering, they can’t pay children’s school fees… the state is not working. Where is the governor, where is the deputy governor? No job, they talk about Golden Guinea, does it belong to Abia state? It’s private ownership if they don’t know. Come to think of it, even the Golden Guinea is not working. How many people have they hired, did they advertise? The people will continue to suffer because they were there when they rigged the election, except the Tribunal comes to their rescue. Abia is in a big mess, and we are praying and asking God to show us why this is God’s own state.