By Odimegwu Onwumere
Even in politics and in the secular and spiritual business, former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who is the chairman Board of Trustee of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), is a success story. As a strategist who has a wand of gold, anything he touches turns to gold and his followers are in tremendous integer. Even to date, majority of people could attest to the fact that it is politically thoughtlessness not to be on the side of Kalu. Whether he is in the political office or not, his is the winning team.
This, perhaps, formed the ridiculous disrespect of the persona on the 16th February, 2012, when virtually all those that are by blood related to him in the murky waters of politics, were announced to have been suspended by the PPA, for what was described as ‘Anti-Party activities’. The party said that their suspension came on the hills of observation that those suspended were trying to put the party in disarray.
One shouts, oh! The news filtered into the unfriendly political air in Nigeria, where Pull Him Down (PhD) syndrome is fad. Orji Uzor Kalu was observed to be pulling down his own ‘house’? A party he doggedly formed and united when the Olusegun Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 1999-2007, was like a military garrison? The announcers of the suspension perhaps were showing some form of prejudices without taking into consideration the real and true spoilers of the party.
The embarrassed former Imo State governor, Mr. Ikedi Ohakim on Saturday, July 25th, 2009, formally left the Progressive People's Alliance (PPA) (the party whose ticket he became governor) and pitched his tent with the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Ohakim’s elevation of political philandrous in Nigeria perhaps was not noticed by the modern day members of the PPA parading themselves as chairman and executives who are down to business in bringing Kalu to the mud by all means, but Nigerians know that many before them who tried to bring Kalu down did not succeed. They should ask Ikedi who left the party because of lack of integrity what that has cost him today. It is time they knew that integrity is a good virtue to behold in politics and in all endeavours. Ikedi sacrificed PPA’s decency on the altar of aspiration, and exhibited political chicanery. Where is he today?
As a re-brander, Kalu furnished the PPA that it becomes the envy of some people today. Ohakim as a political opportunist left the party without any form of decorum and with no regards to constituent's opinion. Instead of pitying the people of Imo State when he left the party, many people pitied Kalu for Ohakim’s betrayal. But Kalu in his usual wisdom and maturity never said anything defamatory against Ohakim.
Instead Ohakim would tilt back into his slope and allow that defection buffoonery he exhibited for social-democrats to laugh at, he rushed to the media to report the 'hand' that fed him was assuming to choke his throat. Ohakim, in a letter made available to Aso Rock and Men of SSS and media reportedly said that “Kalu after my life”.
Like those parading themselves as suspenders of Kalu today, the exaggeration could be figured out, engulfed Ohakim and he exhibited how a guilty-minded man can run in a lorn-place without anything pursuing him. Ohakim was hounded by his own demon, even to date. Ohakim's politics of idiocy on the personality of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu by saying that Kalu was after his life was uncalled for and buttressed the mind of a betrayer and a traitor.
To make disdain of Kalu by traducers and political demagogues, in August, 2010, the removal of Chief Chris Akomas as deputy governor of Abia State was believed and peddled by scythe news runners to be fallout of between Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State (and his predecessor) Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
Governor Orji, like Ohakim, also betrayed PPA by his insensitive defection from the PPA to the PDP. He thought that Kalu’s political foundation would be rocked but Kalu waxes stronger. Even, Orji systematically uprooted Kalu’s men from his administration, of which Chief Akomas, Orji’s deputy, was Kalu’s intransigent loyalist. Yet, they are afraid of Kalu, because of his might in politics.
The modern day chairman and executives of PPA who do not see anything wrong with the party but Kalu also are betraying him just as Akomas was, on 2 August, controversially impeached by the state House of Assembly.
The allegation, like the PPA’s on Kalu, was that Akomas despoiled his office through romantic affairs with a female staff. There were other alleged offences because of his loyalty to Kalu? The evil hand, on 23 July, empowered Justice Sunday Imo, the Chief Judge of Abia State, to constitute a seven-man panel to look into the allegations brought against Akomas.
Six days later, the panel began sitting. The panel ordered Akomas to submit the names of his witnesses on 31 July. Akomas having seen the PhD handwriting on the wall resigned as deputy governor on 30 July, after he complained that the time was too short for him to prepare the list of ‘the names of his witnesses’.
In his tearful resignation letter, which was contentedly sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, Orji, Justice Imo and Agwu U. Agwu, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Akomas accused Orji of humiliating the office of the deputy governor.
Part of the letter read: “For three years, I have performed my duty as the deputy governor despite excruciating, humiliating and difficult circumstances. Therefore, I invoke my full right and hereby tender my resignation as deputy governor of Abia State, effective from 30 July, 2010.”
He also points the finger at Governor Orji of withholding his accumulated allowances amounting to about millions of naira. Reportedly, even that Akomas was locked out of his office by the governor.
Like those parading themselves as Kalu’s suspenders from the PPA, observers noticed that Governor Orji was not only interested in removing Akomas, but had a plan to finish him politically, to deal a major blow to Kalu’s political strength in Abia State and make PPA irrelevant in the state. Yet, here is PPA making noise of suspending Kalu instead of strategizing and fighting the numerous battles facing it in the face in the Orji-led Abia State.
Having jumped from the APGA to PDP in an impudent manner, Governor Orji who was in the prison and Kalu mobilized Abia people to vote for him (Orji) and he became governor is not ashamed of paying Kalu with the other side of the coin. He sees his master as one who deserves ridicule by gasping to dismantle the PPA mercenary that mobilized people to vote for him. Orji today, has befriended some of Kalu’s political enemies, particularly in the PDP, to rubbish Kalu, but yet he has not succeeded, in the Abia Reunion.
Kalu’s followership is greater than the PPA. Governor Orji doing everything within his confine to rubbish the legacy Kalu left in the state, renamed two Abia State monuments bearing Kalu’s name: the Orji Uzor Kalu House in Abuja, was renamed Abia House; the Orji Uzor Kalu Township Stadium in Umuahia, is now known as Umuahia Township Stadium. They accused Kalu and his mother of controlling Abia politics, PPA and their wealth. And this was why they (Ohakim and Orji) said that they shamelessly genuflected to PDP.
The removal of Akomas nearly brought the PPA to the level of insignificance, but for the ever witticism of Kalu, the party continued to burgeon on. The Orji camp accused Kalu of being responsible for the rot that has bedeviled Abia State, and observers thought that after Orji jumped ship, Abia would have received a breath of fresh air but to no avail. This was also the case with Imo State under Ohakim. Rubbish, upon rubbish.
Governor Orji saw Kalu as the problem that Abia State had. Hmmmmmm! This is evidence in a press statement of Tuesday, 08 February 2011, by Kingsley Emereuwa, Chief Press Secretary Abia Governor, titled, “Orji Uzor Kalu Open T(h)reat To Abia State Governor TA Orji”. One Alaribe Ugochukwu also had this title, “Orji Kalu: The end of a Political Dynasty”.
With all that, instead Kalu’s famed political prowess would steadily be on the decline his name and reputation have been steadily adored everywhere in Nigeria and beyond. That his party, the PPA lost two states to the PDP, due to hindsight of interfering of those governors that genuflected, yet this has not make Kalu unpopular.
In the 2011 concluded general elections, Nigerians know that PPA ran for various positions in Abia state and was massively voted for, but the PDP that says it will rule Nigeria for 60yrs, always have its way.
Across the 5 local councils that make up the zone – Arochukwu, Bende, Isikuwato, Ohafia and Umunneochi, it was taken as a government project to diminish the famed political strength of Kalu, as the presence of armoured vehicles and personnel were not in dearth in these areas during the elections. This also happened in the race for the Abia North senatorial district which is clearly the most politically sophisticated zone in the state. This was where the Governor Orji wanted to bring Kalu on his knees, but the later refused to oblige, being a political wizard.
The result of the general elections was never a bitter lesson for Kalu, but the PPA, which has refused to maintain a distinct political impulse. It was PPA, not Kalu, which came third in most constituencies of the state. Not Kalu, but PPA was it, in Abia south, which lost to the PDP’s Enyinnaya Abaribe against Simeon Eme of the PPA. Not Kalu, it was PPA that lost to Chief Uzo Azubuike of PDP to humiliate the incumbent, Hon. Nnanna Uzor Kalu, for Aba Federal Constituency seat.
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu will never lose, but PPA, if the bigheaded chairman and the executives of the party do not suspend the selfish uncharacteristic way they are playing the PhD politics in the country.
Odimegwu Onwumere wrote in from Rivers State, Nigeria