Paul Yovo writes on the reaction trailing former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s comments on the last governorship election in Ebonyi State
A group, the “Ebonyi Renaissance Group,” has reacted to the comments credited to the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, to the effect that the Igbo did not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election in the South East and that the election was massively rigged by the PDP.
The group noted that while it agreed with the former governor pertaining to the massive rigging by the PDP in the zone, which did not reflect the voting pattern of the Igbo, it was shocked that he veered off to declare that the PDP had what he called “very good outings in Enugu and Ebonyi States”.
In a statement signed by the National President of the group, Dr. Chidi Nwankwo, the group expressed dismay at the comments particularly the last governorship election in Ebonyi state.
The statement read in part, “We watched with consternation the blatant contradictions from a former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu while appearing on a Channels TV programme on Monday (yesterday) titled “View from the Top”, where he said the Igbo did not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election in the South East and that the election was massively rigged by the PDP.
“While we agree with the former governor pertaining to the massive rigging by the PDP in the zone, which did not reflect the voting pattern of the Igbo, we were shocked that he veered off to declare that the PDP had what he called “very good outings in Enugu and Ebonyi States. The Ebonyi Renaissance Group sees this particular summation of Orji Uzor Kalu’s statement as the conclusions of toa befuddled political jobber seeking to curry the favour of new friends.
“But coming from a highly respected Igbo leader who had been resolute in fighting for his people, we are outraged that Kalu is fast descending the valley of political confusion and attention seeking. It is on record that several candidates in Enugu and Ebonyi States have approached the election tribunals to contest PDP’s victory in National and State Assemblies especially the governorship where Barrister Okey Ezea of All Progressive Congress (APC) and Sir Edward Nkwegu of Labour Party (LP) respectively maintain that they won the polls and should be declared winners.
“Ordinarily, a circumspect politician should have respected the cases before the tribunals in making his remarks but perhaps carried away by the fact of Channels generous airtime, Orji Kalu’s approbated and reprobated as he assumed the role of the election tribunals. And coming barely weeks after the Governor-elect of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi; paid a courtesy visit on the former Abia State Governor, Kalu showed himself as good trader and less of a wise political leader.
“However, whatever business considerations that may have propelled Kalu’s analysis of the voting preferences of South East people, we wish to advise our own respected Chief Orji Uzor Kalu not to dabble into issues of who actually won the election in Ebonyi; be it the national or state election.
“Most importantly, in as much as our dear OUK is free to rue his loss of Abia North Senatorial election and his misreading of the political handwriting on the wall, he should come down from his high horse and take stock of his dwindling political clout in Abia State.
“It is still a matter of great national consternation that a man who founded the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) jumped ship to scramble for a space in the sinking ship called PDP would turn around to put himself in the same level wiith Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Even when his colleagues in the South West pleaded with him to take over the APC structure in South East, perhaps out of fear of possible resuscitation of his pending matters in the EFCC, Orji decided to dangle on the middle of the road, jugging with Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the morning and dinning with President Goodluck Jonathan in the evening.
“Yet, he has the boldness to entertain Nigerians with the story of how he had in 2007 ‘planned what is happening in the country today with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’. Who knows OUK may be fulfilling conditionalities to join APC now that President Jonathan has lost and General Muhammadu Buhari is set to be inaugurated as Nigeria’s next president.
“It is this kind of warped political analysis by some highly placed Igbo leaders that make other nationalities wonder what Ndigbo want. With due respect, we implore Chief Orji Kalu to leave the election tribunals sitting in the South East especially in Ebonyi and Enugu States to determine who won the elections and not seek to corrupt the minds of Nigerians about what truly transpired in South East.”
The former governor had said that he and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu plotted PDP’s fall.
Kalu who disclosed this during an interview on Channels TV’s View from The Top, on Monday spoke extensively on the last election in Abia State and the waning popularity of the outgoing Governor Theodore Orji, adding that he would soon roll out a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that would be in the forefront of a campaign for extension of tenure of Nigeria’s President to six years following the huge amount Nigeria spends on election.
The tenure extension campaign, he said would start with President Buhari’s government. He however expressed dismay at the huge amount of money spent to execute the last election which he claimed nearly ran the country’s economy aground.
The sweeping victory of the APC at the last general polls, he disclosed, was a grand design between him and Tinubu. “He is alive you can ask him.”
He said both of them planned the realignment of forces and parties to wrestle power from the PDP, which he said did not win the election in Abia and some other places.
He blamed his past political woes on the clash between him and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he had several battles with in the court of law.
Asked to look back at his administration in Abia and what he would have done differently if given the chance again, he said: “I think I was very young then. I was just 38 when I became the governor. The only mistake I made was ignoring the elites. I was only thinking about the masses on the streets and not the comfort zone of the elites. The greatest mistake I made was ignoring the elite. I would have formed a committee comprising the elites to bring them on board.”
Orji recalled the circumstances surrounding his decision not to go back to the University of Maiduguri where he was expelled alongside others but later recalled.
“I did not drop out of school… I was the President of the Students Union’s Caretaker Committee; the Varsity authorities called me back. I had just two courses to write in the final year. I was called back and some people were not called back. I cannot betray anybody.
I felt since the other leaders that were called back did not go back, why should I go back.”