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Obasanjo’s ambition, threat to Nigeria – Kalu

Posted by DOTUN OLADIPO on 2005/12/27 | Views: 644 |

Obasanjo’s ambition, threat to Nigeria – Kalu

On December 18, 2005, the Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Kalu, at the Government House, Umuahia, hosted former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, and former Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, to a dinner to settle a rift between the two. Kalu spoke with newsmen on the significance of the dinner and other national issues. DOTUN OLADIPO was there.

On December 18, 2005, the Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Kalu, at the Government House, Umuahia, hosted former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, and former Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, to a dinner to settle a rift between the two. Kalu spoke with newsmen on the significance of the dinner and other national issues. DOTUN OLADIPO was there. Excerpt:

The quarrel between Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu and Dr. Alex Ekwueme, which you have resolved by bringing the two of them together many believe has caused a lot of damage to the Igbo race. In what direction are the two expected to work now?

In the next few weeks, we will form the biggest political organisation in Igboland that will be led by Odimegwu-Ojukwu and Ekwueme. I can assure you of that.

But how did you manage to convince them to attend the meeting?

It was not my job. It was God’s job. I know I spoke to Ekwueme and he agreed to come and I spoke to Odimegwu-Ojukwu, he also agreed to come. I went to Oko three times and I went to Enugu three times. Anytime I finish with one I go back to the other.

What is the role of Ohaneze in this reconciliation process?

Honestly, I want to tell you, I am not a cultural man, I am a politician. If I have left my business to do politics, I am a serious politician then. Anything that will not give us the presidential ticket I am not for it. If the meeting will give us a presidential slot, then I am for it. What I am doing has a lot of God’s hand in it. I am a jinx breaker. I like to get these people together which is very important to me in the quest for Igbo unity

Are they going to endorse your presidential project?

I don’t know if they are going to endorse me. But I know that I respect the two of them and the also respect me. Whether they will endorse me is what I don’t know. I have never discussed my ambition with them. They read it in the newspaper and I have not been able to sit down with them and discuss it. What I am looking for is Igbo unity.

But many feel it should be the turn of the South-South if the South is to retain the presidency after 2007…

I have all my sentiments for the South- South. But I believe in God. God is God while man is man. We will see what happens. Don’t let us ask God where his mind is.

You were not at the National Convention of your party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in Abuja. Why?

I have always been there. I am a member of the party. What flag do you see here? I am a member of the party. I did not go because I didn’t feel like going and nobody will force me to go there. I have a right to go to wherever I want to go or not.

Are you leaving the PDP?

That is not my problem. If I want to leave the PDP tomorrow, I will leave. If there is no PDP ticket, there will be British airways ticket or KLM ticket. They are all tickets we will have to purchase. There is Lufthansa ticket and there is Iberia ticket. These are all tickets that could be purchased. So my problem is not PDP. My immediate concern now is to build unity and I am happy that I am succeeding with what I have in my brain. It is working out for me. Not many people would have thought today that Odimegwu-Ojukwu and Ekwueme would sit together today after many years.

The North is bent on getting the presidency in 2007. Is there any move by the South-East to woo the North or is it going it alone?

I am sure you people in the press heard about three days ago in Abuja that General Muhammadu Buhari visited me. I am more popular in the North than I am in the South. Kano is the hub of the North and I am more popular there than people on ground. Coupled with my football team, Enyimba, I am now very popular all over the country.

With the exception of the alleged third term bid, your party seems to have made up its mind to shift power to the North. How do you intend achieving your ambition under PDP?

I have a political organisation, the Orji Uzor Kalu Political Organisation, which is formidable and has extended to all states and even wards in the country. If you go to your state, you will see that we have a formidable organisation down to the wards. No other person has such on the ground. I will win the PDP nomination any day if there is free and fair election.

In what capacity is this association you spoke about going to operate? As a political party or pressure group?

It is going to operate first of all as a pressure group. It will start operation in a few weeks from now. Then we will have political alignments. Odimegwu-Ojukwu and Ekwueme are going to co-chair it.

You said your concern is about Igbo unity. Bringing these two people together, does it solve the problem?

It is solving our problem that is the question. That two prominent leaders who have been divided over time have been united is a thing of joy. The political organisation is not about Igbo alone. It is going to be Eastern based.

To pursue your presidential ambition?

To pursue an Eastern agenda. There are nine states of the East. We are going to carry everybody along.

Do you foresee danger for Nigeria in 2007 the way things are going now?

The only danger will be if President Olusegun Obasanjo refuses to go. But as long as Obasanjo wants to go, there will be no problem. If Obasanjo refuses to go, it is a breach of our constitution, it is a breech of the law and anything can happen and people can break away to form their own country. But as long as he will go, there will not be any problem.

What is you view of the Movement for the Defence of Democracy and the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy?

I am neither a member of the MDD nor MRD. I am a member of the PDP and I am not going to be a member of the new organisation that is going to be coming. I am a member of the PDP.

There is a new PDP chairman in your state, Alfredo Awa…

You cannot be a chairman without having the populace with you. He will not go back to his house if he stands on the streets of Aba or Umuahia to say he is the chairman of PDP in Abia State. We are close to the people we govern and the people listen to us. You cannot take somebody to compare with Michael Okpara’s son. His son, Uzodinmma Okpara, is the chairman of the PDP and will remain as far as we are in this struggle together. If you were at the Aba Stadium today, you will hear their song that they are defenders of non-third term. The crowd said they support anybody who is not going for third term.

What does the emergence of another chairman portend for democracy, especially since most governors are not in charge of the party machineries in their state?

I can’t decide who becomes governor here. What I am saying is that our people have confidence in us. Who will be governor, I don’t know. But I know that we have the support of our people. Whether they will translate it to who becomes the next governor, I don’t know. It is only God that gives power. I don’t know who will replace me but I know those whom I will work against not to replace me.

During the last PDP state congresses, three chairmen emerged. As the leader of the party…

I am still the leader of the party. It is only when it suits our President that you are called the leader of the party. The only leader of the party that we have is the President. When it gets to the states, anybody can be leader. That’s the type of Nigeria we are today.

But with this division, how do you intend to survive since you said you are not leaving the PDP?

The Abuja group is the Abuja group and they will continue to be the Abuja group. Abuja is Abuja and Abia is Abia. The Abuja group will remain in Abuja, while the Abia group will be in Abia. We are the Abia group and we have the sentiments of Abia people. The Abuja group has no sentiments for our people. They only think of their pockets. We think of the well being of our people here. That is where we are. Somebody who is not in a house will not know what is inside the house. You can’t be in Abuja and know what is happening in Abia. So, these guys are not sincere. They are only fighting for their pocket.

What do you make of the travails of the removed Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Dipreye Alamieyeseigha?

The Bayelsa governor was my friend and is still is. Whatever he has done is in his private capacity. I want to say that I will not discuss my friend. He is my friend and I will cherish him till the end of my life. It is only unfortunate that the Governors Forum was not able to discuss Alamieyeseigha’s problem. I am disappointed with the Governors Forum and I may never attend any of their meetings. When the governor was in trouble, the forum ought to have discussed it, whether for or against. We are a sovereign state. If anybody gets to London and says we are not sovereign, it is his problem. I don’t support stealing and I don’t steal here. I don’t encourage people I work with to steal government’s money. People that live in glass houses must not throw stones. But I can see many people living in glass houses in Abuja, trying to throw stones. I am shocked that no governor was able to defend Alamieyeseigha or talk negatively about his actions except the Kano State Governor who is my friend and I respect him. I am very disappointed in our colleagues. What they are afraid of is what I don’t know. If anybody deals with Abia unconstitutionally, Abia will deal with the person unconstitutionally. Don’t violate the law where I am involved because I will help you violate it the more.

But some are worried about the arrest of Alamieyeseigha considering the immunity clause governors ought to enjoy. Are you not bothered?

But I am telling you that if you violate the laws against us, we violate the law with you. That is what I am saying. We are a law-abiding state and people. We live by the law. To me, I have challenged the law of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. That we are a sovereign state, that the only armour we have is the constitution. That whenever there is a conflict with any law, the constitution will prevail. The interpretation is at the Supreme Court. Nigerian are cowards and sycophants. They lean to anybody in power. I don’t do that. The only thing binding this state with Nigeria is the constitution, not EFCC. I will not obey any EFCC or Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission laws because they are in conflict with the constitution, which Abia State has already challenged many times. We are not bothered by the laws establishing them because they are in conflict with the constitution.

The PUNCH, Monday, December 26, 2005

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Comments (23)

emilia(Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)says...

Wow,trying to get across to Ekene jnr he happens to be my old friend,lost his contact.any info would do me good

Valarie(Nairobi, Kenya)says...

What’s your point?

robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

hahahaha u r a wierdo…hehehe

ur so boring(To, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

have u ever thought the garbage or the toilet might be jealous? Ur so full of shiz- white piece of shiz BET lol. That's where ppl like you belong (toilet garbage etc), ik the truth hurts but dont take it as an insult im just trying to describe you; ik im good at it ty-The truth hurts right. JSYK black ppl aren't nerds were just smarter than you oops Btw BLMM!!!

robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

wow so bad.


U r weird gus

yawning(On, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

Hmmm define weird plz