Without Muslim-Muslim Presidential Ticket, APC May Not Win In 2023, Says Orji Kalu


 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, has proposed a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a critical factor for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the presidential election in 2023.

He believes the ruling party may lose the election if it fails to go for the option of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, considering the present situation it has found itself.

Senator Kalu made the remarks on Wednesday in an interview with journalists at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

READ ALSO: Choice Of Running Mate Lies With Tinubu, Not APC Governors – Uzodimma

“If we don’t play Muslim-Muslim (ticket), we are in trouble,” he stated. “It will be difficult to win the election because the only thing left for Ahmed Tinubu today is to play Muslim-Muslim.

“What is wrong with Muslim-Muslim ticket? I don’t see anything wrong. There is nothing wrong with a Christian-Christian ticket also, it depends on the condition.

“The condition that we have found ourselves today is that you cannot play two minorities – Tinubu is a minority Muslim from the South and if you put a Christian from the North, it is a minority Christian from the North. What I am telling you is sincerely from my mind; it is not the position of our party.”

 

A Deputy President?

The lawmaker stressed that there was nothing wrong if the APC decides to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the election.

He argued that it was impossible for a southern minority Muslim and a northern minority Christian to win a presidential election in Nigeria.

A file photo of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

According to Senator Kalu, the priority of the ruling party should be winning the presidential election in 2023 and not the religious and ethnic affiliation of its vice presidential candidate.

He thanked President Buhari for ensuring a level playing ground for all candidates at the party’s presidential primary election.

“If I am in Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s situation – the wife is a senior pastor in a Pentecostal church, I will go (for a) Muslim-Muslim ticket,” the lawmaker said. “The most important thing is for the party to win.

“Already the wife is a pastor and they have been living together for over 50 years. She’s already like a deputy president, if I’m to say; I am saying my opinion, this is Orji Kalu’s opinion. You cannot deny me my opinion, but you can also play a Christian-Christian ticket, depending on the scenario.”

Orji Kalu Formally Pulls Out Of Presidential Race, Picks Senate Form

A file photo of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, has formally announced his withdrawal from the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

As the days draw nigh to the end of the President’s second term, the lawmaker said he would no longer vie for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Rather, he revealed that he has purchased the nomination and expression of interest forms of the APC to represent the people of Abia North Senatorial district again in the 10th National Assembly.

[READ ALSO] 2023 Presidency: Orji Kalu Drops Bid, Gives Condition To Rejoin Contest

Senator Kalu announced his withdrawal from the presidential race on Monday in a statement to congratulate the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who is one of the presidential aspirants to obtain the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms recently.

He declared his absolute support for Senator Lawan and asked leaders and members of the APC to do the same in the spirit of equity and fairness.

The lawmaker explained that it was necessary to support the Senate President who is from the North East since the party did not zone its presidential ticket to the South East, stressing that only the two regions should be allowed to produce the next president.

Read the full text of Senator Kalu’s statement below:

I congratulate my friend, former roommate, and boss, Senator Ahmad Lawan as he picks form to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

I am most glad because he is from the North East, the only zone alongside South East that is yet to produce the President of Nigeria. I have always maintained an unambiguous stand that for justice, equity, and fairness in our country, the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari should come from the South East or the North East.

I have also told Nigerians that I would only run for president if the two major political parties (APC and PDP) zone their tickets to the South East. That is why I was disappointed with our southern brothers who are talking about fairness and equity but have zero tolerance for the same fairness and equity in the South.

In the absence of a South Easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North Easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness, and justice everyone is talking about. It further means that justice is on its way to the South East.

I thank those who said they have picked the presidential form for me because they meant well for Nigerians.

However, since there is no zoning and the contest is open to all Nigerians, I officially withdraw from the presidential contest in 2023. I have also picked a ticket to run for Abia North Senatorial zone and to complete the good work I started in Abia North.

I urge all my friends, allies, and supporters in the APC to toe the line of justice by supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, a North Easterner for the presidential ticket of the APC”

Signed

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu

Chief Whip of the Senate

Federal Republic of Nigeria

2023 Presidency: Orji Kalu Drops Bid, Gives Condition To Rejoin Contest

A file photo of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said he would no longer vie for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He made the announcement on Tuesday in a post on his verified Instagram page, where he gave reasons for his decision.

Kalu, who was a two-term governor of Abia State, explained that there was no point in joining the contest without the full support of other regions.

According to him, four of the six geopolitical regions of the country have produced the President and Vice President at different times, leaving out the South East and North East regions.

The lawmaker stressed that should there be any fair clamour for the zoning of the 2023 presidency, such a person ought to emerge from either of the two regions that have yet to enjoy such a privilege.

[READ ALSO] 2023: Only Jonathan Can Make Me Reconsider Presidential Ambition – Bauchi Governor

Amid the call that the ticket be zoned to the South, he believes now is the time for leaders in the region to throw their weight behind the South East to produce the next President.

Kalu faulted the declaration by the non-Igbo politicians in the South – not just within the APC but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – who have announced their interest in the highest office of the land.

Should that be the case, he stated, it would no longer be unfair and unjust should the next Nigerian leader emerge from Daura, the hometown of the President.

Having pulled out of the presidential race, the lawmaker hinted that he would rather channel his energy towards return to the Senate at the end of the 9th National Assembly.

Read the full text of his message below:

2023 Presidency: The Fairness I Know

It is my desire and intention to run for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am committed to this pursuit, but I can’t make an official declaration to this regard without the full support of other regions.

Everywhere in the world, politics is situational and that of Nigeria is exceptionally situational. The situation in Nigeria is that without the support of other regions, it would amount to a shadow chase for a South Easterner to be President.

This is the reason I have been in the frontline of the call that the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should zone their presidential tickets to the South East as they did for the South West in 1999.

In the absence of this zoning, I shall return to the Senate and stay away from the presidential contest. The reality is that the North is more advantageous to winning elections in this democratic setting. I am even shocked with the number of aspirants coming from the South West and the South South.

It is embarrassing that these aspirants (APC and PDP) have no single respect and concern for the South East. I had thought they would think about the South East; I thought they would support us. The amount of money being spent by these aspirants is alarming and they have forgotten that money alone cannot buy the presidency.

It has become a joke to an ordinary Nigerian who hears Southern commentators and aspirants rooting for a Southern President on the premise of fairness, equity, and justice. How can you talk about these morals when you are not even fair to your own brothers?

If there is anything like “fairness”, “equity” and “justice”, it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South East extraction. Anything less than that is “hypocritical”, “unjustifiable“ and “inordinate”.  Some ‘persons’ are even claiming God’s anointed choice in 2023.

Unfortunately, it is not all prayers that God answers; at least not inordinate ones. What moral justification does a Southerner who refused to be fair to his brothers have against a Northerner running for president?

It will be very insensitive, unreasonable, and disrespectful for any Southern man to criticise a presidential aspirant from the North on the ground that the North has done eight years and power should return to the South.

The South West and the South South have successfully completed their tenures as ‘President and Vice President’. They should have the courage to support their brothers from the South East. If the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari does not come from the South East, there would be nothing unfair and unjust if he/she comes from Daura.

This country belongs to all of us and the unity of the country should be paramount. If not for selfishness and greed, how can you say that where a president comes from does not matter simply because you don’t want to support a president of Nigeria from the South East, but turn around to clamor for a power shift to the South? How do we explain this to the younger generation? Let the wise and courageous stay firm on their convictions and not swing on the two sides of the Atlantic.

If you are convinced that where a president comes from does not matter, let Nigerians not hear you clamour for a power shift. Be brave to encourage everyone to run, including President Buhari’s kinsmen. But if you have a conscience and believe in equality, then you should support the South East region that is yet to produce a president. That is what I consider fairness.

The two regions that are yet to produce a President are South East and North East. If this means anything to Nigerians, the APC and PDP should be fair enough to prioritize these regions. If power should come to the South and not the South East or North and not the North East, the essence for which the six geopolitical zones were created is long dead.

To Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark, Deji Adeyanju, and a host of others, who have stood firm in their support for their brothers in the South East, posterity will be kind to you.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu MON

Chief Whip of the 9th Senate

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Why Every Politician, Civil Servant Should Go To Prison – Orji Kalu

 

Former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, believes it is necessary for politicians and civil servants in Nigeria to go to prison.

Kalu, a presidential aspirant and lawmaker representing Abia-North senatorial district, described the prison as a learning facility.

“I am not guilty, I am as free as anything,” he said on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today where he responded to questions bordering on corruption allegations against him.

“They put me in prison to the glory of God and Nigerian people should thank them because I am better off today being there.

“I lost nothing, I went there to learn, it was a learning institution, and every politician and every civil servant needs to go there and learn; they will have another perspective of life.”

 

Blessing, Not Setback

A Federal High Court in Lagos had sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in a judgement delivered in December 2019.

But the judgment was later nullified by a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict in May 2020.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Not A Threat To My 2023 Presidential Bid, Says Orji Kalu

Declaring the conviction of the former governor null and void, the apex court had held that Justice Mohammed Idris was already a justice of the Court of Appeal as of the time he delivered the judgment sentencing Kalu.

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu.

 

Barely a month after, Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered the release of Kalu from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.

During Friday’s interview, the lawmaker alleged that some persons, including a former president, were responsible for his predicaments.

Rather than being sad for going to prison, he stressed that his detention for about six months was a blessing to him and an opportunity to view life from a totally different perspective.

“The average Nigerian knows that I have committed no offence,” said Kalu who insisted that he is not corrupt. “There were 19 witnesses in court, and nobody mentioned my name, and somebody paid somebody to put me in jail for six months, and I thank God I went.

“It was a glorious thing; that is the best thing God has ever done to me, to be able to put me in the lowest end of the world. Mind you, I was meant to be in Wuhan on December 9, 2019, and the people put me in jail on December 5; it is to the glory of God.”

Tinubu Not A Threat To My 2023 Presidential Bid, Says Orji Kalu


A presidential aspirant, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, says former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, will not be a hindrance to him in his bid to become the next president.

He stated this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today where he spoke about his plans for the country if elected to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

Asked if he sees the former governor as a threat, Kalu answered, “No! and I am not a threat to his ambition. By the time we meet in Eagles Square, this issue will be settled.

“Mind you, politics is not only about money; it is about the people you are going to govern …  the people of the north-west, the people of north-east, the people of north-central, the people of the south-east, the people of the south-west, and the people of south-south, and we have the people. I can move the people and the people are with me.”

READ ALSO: I Have Informed Buhari Of My Intention To Run For President, Says Tinubu

Square It Out

Both Kalu and Tinubu are chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and served as governors between 1999 and 2007.

Last November, Tinubu visited Kalu at his Abuja residence where both held a meeting behind closed doors, amid speculations that the former was eyeing the highest office in the land.

Orji Kalu                                                                                                                                   Bola Tinubu

 

Barely two months after the meeting, the former Lagos State governor put an end to the rumours after he said he had informed President Buhari of his intention to succeed him.

Although Kalu admitted that he had no plan to become president when Tinubu visited him, he explained that certain circumstances prompted him to have a rethink.

“I told Tinubu that I was not going to run, that is the truth,” he revealed. “It was circumstance from the south-east, south-west, north-west, north-central, and north-east that made me decide to join the race. I was governor with him (Tinubu), there is nothing difficult in challenging anybody.

“We are all going to meet at the Eagle Square, and we will square it out there. There is no difficulty. I am the only political businessman that is first recognised as a billionaire, and I am not sure that there is anything those people can do, in terms of money, that I cannot do. I don’t think they can speak to anybody in Nigeria or in the world that I cannot speak to.”

On what President Buhari has to say about his decision, Kalu added, “I have not even discussed with the President that I want to become President.

“The Last time I met President Buhari, I was able to discuss issues that concern the nation – terrorism, banditry, and how to stabilise our country, and other major issues in the National Assembly like the electoral law.”

Senator Orji Kalu Declares Interest In 2023 Presidential Race

 

Former Abia State Governor and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, on Tuesday said he is ready to contest the All Progressives Congress Presidential ticket with Former Governor of Lagos State, Mister Bola Tinubu if the party zones it to the South.

Speaking with reporters, Senator Kalu said while he has nothing against the aspiration of Mr Tinubu, he believes that the SouthEast is ripe for the Presidency and that it should be the turn of the region to produce the next President.

Mr Tinubu had on Monday declared his ambition to become Nigeria’s next President.

READ ALSO: Shehu Sani Backs Rotational Presidency, Consensus Candidacy

The current Governor of Ebonyi State Dave Umahi on Tuesday also declared his interest to run for the nation’s top post in 2023.

What Mr Orji said

“I do not see Tinubu’s aspiration having any effect on the President of Nigeria coming from the Igbo area. Because we are talking based on what Nigeria should be. We are talking based on what people should believe. Obasanjo has been President for eight years. Osinbajo is doing eight years as Vice President. And no Igbo man since independence has been a democratically elected President. So it is always good to think of what is reasonable and what will be more sellable.

“I’m the most prepared Presidential candidate in Nigeria. I’m capable healthwise, I’m capable as a person, I’m capable in my pocket. I’m capable to face anybody. But the party is supreme. I only wait for APC as a party.

“For me, contesting for President is not the issue. The issue is who is going to lead the country into an economic miracle, into a turnaround. I’m not against Tinubu. If it’s zoned to his area and the party said he should go. Well, the party is supreme. I’m only waiting for the party.”

Orji Kalu Urges APC To Postpone Convention, Calls for Simultaneous Presidential Primaries

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has urged the National Chairman Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai Mala Buni, and members of the planning committee to consider postponing the earlier scheduled plan of holding a National convention in February 2022.

In a letter addressed to the national chairman, Senator Kalu, warned that holding the convention in February without sorting out the minor disagreements that arose during the congress would lead to an implosion.

He noted that some states are embroiled in crisis with multiple factions and it is important to put into consideration the consequences of these factions during and after elections.

READ ALSOGarba Shehu Lists Buhari’s Achievements, Challenges Ahead Of 79th Birthday

Senator Kalu further stated that it would be devastating to continue with the convention without settling the differences in various states and, sort out the issues of zoning which cannot be addressed in two months.

He said it is important to first postpone the convention with all peace and reconciliation machinery fully put in place.

Senator Kalu also proposed that a simultaneous event of having the presidential primary and election of National Working Committee (NWC) members on the same day and venue to avoid rancour and litigations.

EFCC To Appeal Court Ruling On Orji Kalu’s Retrial

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it will appeal the ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court stopping the Commission from retrying a former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.

Kalu was serving a 12-year jail term for N7.1 billion fraud when the Supreme Court, ruling on an appeal by his co-defendant, Ude Udeogu, on 8 May 2020, nullified the proceedings leading to their conviction.

The Supreme Court had ordered a retrial at the Federal High Court.

But Kalu who profited from the ruling to secure release from the Kuje Correctional Centre, filed an application before the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his retrial.

Earlier today, Justice Ekwo had granted the ex-governor’s request on the grounds that the apex court’s judgment did not order his retrial and that by virtue of Section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution as amended, or Section 283 (2) of the ACJA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act), “no person can be retried on the offence upon which he has been convicted”.

Read Also: Court Prohibits FG From Retrying Orji Kalu Over Alleged N7.1bn Fraud

The EFCC in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, however, believes the judge erred in this ruling as it says Section 36(9) of the 1999 Constitution is applicable only where the previous judgment was by a court of competent jurisdiction.

In this case, the apex court had in the said judgment, described the process that led to the conviction of Kalu as a nullity because the judge came from the Court of Appeal to decide the matter.

The Commission further averred that the court erred in its ruling that the Supreme Court did not order the retrial of Kalu; that it amounts to cherry-picking for Kalu to profit from the decision of the apex court nullifying the conviction of his co-defendant, Ude Udeagu but is not prepared to face the burden of retrial.

Alleged N7.1billion Fraud: EFCC Asks Abuja Court To Transfer Orji Kalu’s Case To Lagos

Screenshot from the video showing Senator Orji Uzor Kalu inside the courtroom for his arraignment on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking the transfer of Orji Kalu’s case file from the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to the one in Lagos State.

It will be recalled that Senator Kalu, who was the governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007, was earlier found guilty and handed a 12-year jail term by the Lagos Division of the court.

The trial court convicted him alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from the state treasury.

At the court session on Tuesday, counsel for the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, informed the court of a pending letter before the Chief Judge asking for the transfer of the case to Lagos.

Okoroma said the Chief Judge is yet to respond to the letter which was written in line with the judgment of the Supreme Court ordering the prosecution to try Senator Kalu afresh.

Okoroma said none of the offences allegedly committed by Kalu took place in Abuja and that the Supreme Court has held that the case cannot be heard in the FCT.

READ ALSO: Orji Kalu In Court For Arraignment On Fraud Allegations

He asked the court to adjourn the matter pending a reply from the Chief Judge.

Although the Prosecution was unavailable for comments, the lawyer to Senator Kalu insists that the proper place for the trial of his client is Umuahia, Abia State capital where the offences were allegedly committed.

Ruling on the application, Justice Inyang Ekwo held: “Even without your application, the matter cannot go on.

“But I cannot adjourn the matter sine die. There must be a specific date for the report,” he said.

The judge then adjourned the case till June 7.

Kalu who is the current Chief Whip of the Senate and former governor of Abia state was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in December 2019 after he was convicted of diverting N7.1 billion from the coffers of the Abia State government for personal use.

However, the Supreme Court, in a judgement delivered on May 8th, 2020 nullified the entire proceedings that led to Senator Kalu’s conviction, stressing that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was already elevated to the court of appeal, as at the time he sat and delivered a judgement against the defendants.

It noted that Justice Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as of December 5, 2019, the day the former governor and his co-defendants were found guilty of the money laundering charge against them.

The apex court ordered a retrial of the defendants.

Kalu Visits IBB, Abdulsalami, Faults Zoning Of 2023 Presidency

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, visits former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at his residence in Minna, the Niger State capital on August 31, 2020.

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has faulted the zoning of the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.

He described the office as an open basket for intending contestants, stressing that the idea of zoning was never constitutional nor contained in the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Kalu made the remarks on Monday in Minna, the Niger State capital where he met with former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at their residences.

“Zoning is a party issue, every party has the right to say where they want a position to come from but in APC, there is no issue of zoning. Anybody can contest for the presidency,” he told reporters.

The former governor of Abia State added, “It has not been zoned to any region and zoning is not in the constitution of APC and as long as it is not a constitutional matter of APC, the Presidency is an open basket which anybody can fight for.”

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, at the residence of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), in Minna, the Niger State capital on August 31, 2020.

 

On the issue of insecurity in the country, Senator Kalu believes there is sabotage in the system which must be urgently addressed by the authorities.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts on security and gave an assurance that the Senate would continue to push for efficiency among the security organs in the country.

The lawmaker said, “Security is a big challenge to everybody and the Senate is going to address this issue.

“Insecurity has defied any solution. I see a lot of sabotage in this issue of insecurity and I can assure you that the Senate will address the issue of sabotage.”

“The President must be very angry about what is going on; he is a known army general, top-class General and Commander in Chief. He is not happy at all and I am sure he is working to address it,” Senator Kalu stated.

He explained that his visit to the elder statesmen whom he described as his bosses was to rejoice with the former military president who turned 79 recently and to welcome the former head of state back from his medical trip.

While no journalist was allowed into General Babangida’s residence, reporters were allowed to take some footages at General Abdulsalami’s house before they were asked to leave.

NDDC Contracts: Orji Kalu, Uduaghan Deny Wrongdoing

A photo combination created on August 3, 2020, featuring former Niger-Delta state Governors, Orji Kalu and Emmanuel Uduaghan
A photo combination created on August 3, 2020, featuring former Niger-Delta state Governors, Orji Kalu and Emmanuel Uduaghan

 

Former Niger-Delta states Governors, Orji Kalu and Emmanuel Uduaghan on Monday denied any wrongdoing regarding their involvement in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, had reportedly mentioned both former Governors as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.

However, Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 to 2007, said his involvement in NDDC contracting had been based on community interest.

“Between 2016- 2018 during my tour to several communities;  leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads,” he said, in a statement signed by one of his aides, Emeka Nwala, “I wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.

“The  NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.  Whatever link I have with the  projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”

Meanwhile, former Delta State Governor, Uduaghan, described reports linking him to an NDDC contract as “mischievous” and a “falsehood.”

“In the said publication, it was stated that ‘Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429m’,” a statement signed by Uduaghan’s spokesman, Monoyo Edon, said.

“We want to state very clearly that the said accusation is FALSE. Dr. Uduaghan has never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever. It is even more ridiculous that the said contract is a road inside Port Harcourt town.”

Unpaid Contractors

In his statement on Monday, Kalu, who is now the Chief Whip of the Senate, alleged that the NDDC is yet to pay contractors who built the roads he facilitated for the commission.

“The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the Honourable Minister were repairs of  Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road; Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze;  Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road; the Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road,” he said.

Kalu is the current Chief Whip of the Nigerian senate.

 

“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads a long time ago except Abam-Atani road which I learned from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.

“Meanwhile,  it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime. It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC.”

A Troubled Commission

The NDDC is currently undergoing a forensic audit over allegations of financial misappropriation within the agency.

Supervising Minister for the Commission, Akpabio, had appeared before a House of Representatives Committee in July where he said lawmakers were the major beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.

The Minister of Niger Delta appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.
The Minister of Niger Delta appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila then challenged Akpabio to provide a list of lawmakers who have benefited from the agency’s contract.

Kalu, on Monday, said the linking of his name to the contracts will not push him to stop his interventions on roads in NDDC states.

“Good roads help to drive the economy,” he said. “Therefore,  I believe the NDDC forensic audit should focus on the missing funds and not works done.

“They should focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs and not using my name indiscriminately to sell newspapers.

“The Honourable Minister,  Senator Godswill Akpabio is my good old friend.  We have been friends even before I became a governor.

“I hope he doesn’t expect me to stop seeking road interventions in our communities.

“It is his civic responsibility to support the communities and I am very confident he will oblige our future requests especially in areas of good roads.”

Why Senate Didn’t Bow To Pressure To Declare Orji Kalu’s Seat Vacant – Lawan

A file photo of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu exchanging pleasantries after the former Abia State governor was released from the correctional centre.

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has revealed why the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly refused to yield to pressure to declare Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat and position vacant during the period of his incarceration.

He stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of the leaders of thought from Abia State at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Lawan explained that what the Senate did by preserving Kalu’s seat and his position was not extra-ordinary but the right and just thing to do.

“He (Kalu) was on several appeals and until he exhausted all the opportunities available to him, that seat remained his seat. Similarly, the position of the Chief Whip, we didn’t even appoint an acting Chief Whip.

“The Deputy Chief Whip continued to play that role until he was released,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.

He added, “We came under pressure, of course, but we thought the right thing to do was to keep that seat, that position until he was able to get his judgement.

“It would have been premature, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.

“So, we didn’t do anything extra-ordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”

Senator Kalu was the Senate Chief Whip when a court in Lagos sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in December 2019 for a fraud he was said to have committed while he was the Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007.

He spent six months at the correctional facility before he eventually regained his freedom and returned to the Senate, following the Supreme Court judgement which nullified his conviction on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the trial judge.

Addressing his guests, Lawan said there was no way anybody could convince the members of the Senate that someone else should take the Abia North Seat, stressing that it was not vacant.

He commended the leaders for unity and understanding among them and their followers in the state.

“Our people need us to give them leadership. They need us to give them good governance. They want to have a better life and particularly in Abia State, you have a lot of businesspeople.

“They would like to see their businesses grow and do well. Once the leaders are united, it makes it much easier for the followership to remain united and supportive so that reaching the promise land can be quite easy,” the Senate President added.

In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Senator Chris Adighije said the visit was to appreciate the Senate for their concerns for the former governor.

He said, “We want to thank the Senate. It’s something that the entire Abia State and indeed the South East appreciate very much.”