By Rubby Obinna
From one generation to the other, history has recorded where men and women have bamboozled themselves, while twisting the facts in order to make their points. This still persists in the present days. Those in this line of habit have equated the withdrawal of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the former Governor of Abia State, from his intent to contest for Abia North Senatorial seat, as a sign of irritation he has experienced from Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State authoritarian scraps. But after a thorough look at the reason why Kalu had to withdraw from the contest, it is palpable that the dude has the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he had rejoined some two years back, at heart.
It could be recalled that in a celebrated feast, Kalu was re-admitted in his Igbere Ward A after due process and was issued with membership card number 9787945. The card was issued to him on January 16, 2013. As an enduring fellow, even when some members of the PDP were jittery in December 2013, over the defection of five governors and 37 Representatives from People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressive Party (APC), Kalu who has always been optimistic that good would always prevail against evil, said on December 22 2013, that he was not afraid of any consequence of defection.
On that day at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, before travelling to Dubai, Kalu said that his return to the PDP was to help rebrand the party from the clusters of woes it was experiencing before Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu was elected the national chairman of the party. Kalu believed that the party would come out stronger and he was out to make this a reality. His belief was that Nigerians of goodwill like him needed Nigeria more than the country needed them, because the unity of the country could not be compromised.
He said that he was going to be one of the trustees of the country, something he has always shown in different ways. It was Kalu’s wish in seeing a stronger PDP that on January 28 2014, he bowed to pressure from the Apex Igbo Socio-cultural Group, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, to shelve his Presidential ambition for the 2015 general elections, since the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan from the PDP stockpile had an interest. Kalu did not betray his commitment of being a trustee for the progress of his party and the country; he announced his total withdrawal from the 2015 presidential race in his Abuja home, following an extensive meeting with the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo led by the president general worldwide, of the association, Gary Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey, after six months.
When this was done, the President of Ohaneze said of Kalu: “Ohanaeze deals with interest of the Igbo man. Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is a great Igbo man we so much have regards for. It was not by force that he agreed to hold on over his ambition. I know his interests. It is only fair for us to ask him to hold on. We have our strategic people. He is one of our interests. We are not saying any other Igbo person who wants to run should not run; we don’t have that kind of control. We have our people and we know those we want to strategize with.”
It was for the same peace Kalu had wished to reign in the country and in the PDP that compelled him onNovember 24, 2014, to issue out a letter unconstrained, “Withdrawal from Abia North Senatorial District Race”, and addressed to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Adamu Mu’azu.
In Kalu’s words: “Rather than be an intractable issue in Abia chapter of our great party, I would rather subordinate personal ambition for party cohesion…I hereby formally withdraw from the bid to represent the good people of Abia North in the Senate next year.
“I wish to state unequivocally, however, that I remain a member of the PDP, and a loyal one at that. I will assiduously work for the victory of the party at all levels, and carry out any assignment as prescribed by the leadership of the party. The PDP will continue to enjoy my goodwill and best wishes.”
Kalu had wished that in the PDP he was a foundation member, there would not be traits of tyranny as he buckled up in his second missionary journey in the party, but this is not the mindset of some of the members of the party, especially in his home state of Abia. If he had no good wish for the party, he would have started making troubles, after he found out that Governor Orji of Abia State was in to handpick his choice-candidates during the party’s primaries for the different elective positions in the state, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The perceived harsh dispositions by Governor Orji in the Abia State chapter of the party, made Kalu to contain the following in the letter that he addressed to Mu’azu: “In a democracy, this is downright outrageous, if not scandalous. And all the aspirants into these positions, not favoured by the governor, have collectively protested to the party national headquarters.
“The congresses to elect delegates did not hold in Abia State. The names were just written by the governor and his collaborators. This has forced many good people out of our party, and they have since defected into other political parties to pursue their ambitions… Mr. Chairman, it is needless to say that this holds very grave consequences, not only for our party in Abia State, but also for the electoral fortunes of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running for a second term in office.”
Kalu has been working tirelessly for the emergence of peace in the party he is also a great financier. This perhaps necessitated the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP, to grant him what was described in the media as a special waiver, one of its kind. It was part of Kalu’s determination to ensuring that the reform agenda of the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu, was fad.
After the waiver in November, Kalu had to say to journalists in a telephone conversation: “I believe our party, PDP, has been fair to all. The decision to grant me a waiver is a laudable effort of the leadership and members of the party. I am indeed, happy. Let me use this opportunity to inform our followers, supporters and party stalwarts that political differences in the state have been put to rest…We should all ignore the past and move forward in the interest of the party and Nigeria. We will ensure victory for Mr. President and all PDP aspirants, running for positions in Abia State.”
While Kalu has an open mind for the party, this may not be the mindset of Governor Orji, who had in different desperate moves against Kalu’s return to the PDP, stormed the national secretariat of the party with his co-travellers, to stop Kalu. A report in a national newspaper of November 20, 2014 captured the character of Governor Orji in the PDP thus:
“Amidst of jubilation over Kalu’s return to PDP, Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, yesterday stormed the PDP national secretariat to lobby against the special waiver granted his predecessor. Joined by former national chairman of the PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, and national vice chairman, South-East, Austin Akobundu, Governor Orji, who had left Abuja on Tuesday, hurried returned yesterday and drove from the airport to PDP headquarters.”
However, in an interview in Lagos, on April 08, 2013, Kalu had admonished that the leaders of this country should show conscience. He has often said this and no one should say that he did not say so. If he did not love the party and the country he would not have said that Mr. President should take the issue of insecurity very seriously. He said that the insecurity situation in the country was paining him, because he is an Igbo man, because he is a southerner, because he is a Christian.
For his love for the PDP, Kalu had asked the ruling party and the National Assembly to make laws that would benefit the people and, not just for themselves. He had wished that until the National Assembly will make laws to put themselves in part time, abolish one chamber of the Assembly and have only one chamber, Nigeria cannot make progress.
He was of the principle that the country could not be spending 25 per cent of its income on only 469 people. He had admonished that even the US congress was not earning the kind of money Nigeria was spending here. But on the happenings in Abia State, Kalu had said, “I am not very happy at all. I don’t believe that anybody created by God will be this petty. But I leave it to his conscience, I leave it to the hands of God.”
Rubby Obinna writes from Ohaji, Imo State.