Orji Uzor Kalu: A Failed Second Term, And A Wobbling Presidential Ambition

by Nnaemeka Oruh

No doubt the Abia State Governor Dr. Orji Uzor, Kalu was one of the best performing Governors of the 1999-2003 tenure. In terms of developmental projects Orji Uzor ranked amongst the best out of the thirty – six State Governors. It was an achievement conditioned by – I believe- a deep seated desire to make an impact on the lives of his people. Some however believe that it was a businessman-politician’s market gambit an assertion which Orji Uzor Kalu’s present stance seems to be underlining.

Whether or not he has an ulterior motive for his initial developmental efforts, in Orji Uzor Kalu’s Abia State, people began to feel the impact of Government in a more integrated form. Tarred roads emerged over night, Electrification projects were extended to many rural areas, Bore-holes were sunk and indeed poverty alleviation got a little boost especially from the DR ORJI UZOR KALU TRANSPORT LOAN SCHEME.

Critics will say that the type of tarred roads that the Orji Uzor administration provided us with are inferior especially when compared to the legacy of the Mbakwe era, – this is largely true –but one can easily muster the excuse that it is better to have the type Orji Uzor’s government provided, than to have none.

Indeed when Orji Uzor Kalu made public his intention to vie for the 1999 Governorship elections in Abia State, many people did not give him a chance. Most of us believed that his more educated rival Prince Vincent Ogbulafor who was a relatively better known man in the state would emerge victorious. But like a determined fighter and a dogged politician, Dr Kalu elbowed his way to the governorship position. He did not stop there, he made sure his praises were sung by people who saw his handiwork. So loud was the song that in 2002, a few months before the 2003 elections, Orji Uzor, was already confident of his return to the Governorship seat.


It is not too early to assert that Orji Uzor Kalu’s second term as the Governor of Abia State has been marked by gross failures. Very few people in the state would claim ignorance that Dr. Kalu is no longer ruling the state. One is forced sometimes to say that Dr. Kalu’s second term serves as a compensatory period for his retinue of thugs. A period of aggrandizement for them all, and a callous watch on the exploitation of the masses who temporarily witnessed a new lease of life during Orji Uzor Kalu’s first term in Office.

In the Umuahia North Local Government, where the World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia is Located, one witnesses the flagrant conjuring up of bills attached to shop ownerships, Business centre operations, bills on sanitation and even street number allocations. This is from a people who had paid the exorbitant and indeed fast increasing Development fee attached to plot ownership in the estate. The most Unruly thing is the manner of enforcing the payment of these bills. Over night, motor parks touts have been transformed into Government workers, and now parade the streets of World Bank, with keys looking for who to pounce on. Try and prove uncooperative either in paying the fees or bribing them, and they will descend on you with the fury of the hungry lions that they are. A case of disorder in the capital city of Orji Uzor Kalu’s State, an eloquent display of what follows the government of a crude businessman

Some may point out that the collection of bills mentioned above is the brain child of the Umuahia North Local Government Council. This may be true to an extent, but I have two questions to ask: Have we forgotten that the taxing of small time business premises (indeed retail shops) and residential buildings in the state was the brain child of Orji Uzor Kalu’s first term?

Secondly, what has Dr. Kalu done to quell this ugly trend that is raising its head in the heart of his capital city?

Nor is that all, almost all the projects put in place by the Kalu administration during his first term in Office are crumbling under his very nose. The roads in Aba speak volumes. What has happened to maintenance policies and indeed to the execution of further developmental projects? Are we to believe that having secured a place in the governorship position of the state, that the young governor is now more interested in conquering new domains, hence his 2007 presidential ambition?.


Even at that, one witnesses a short sighted incursion into the presidential bid. A novice as Orji Uzor Kalu cannot afford to say that he is overtly sure of his ability to win the presidency come 2007. Despite the fact that he appears to be the only Igbo presidential a

spirant at the moment (forget the comical show of one Chief Muscle) one knows that even with the pulling together of all Igbo votes, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu cannot see the presidency. Apart from that, Orji Uzor Kalu cannot even boast of being able to capture all the Igbo votes. Reason: Orji Uzor Kalu has a track record of many betrayals of Ndi Igbo. The most glaring one is this:

In 1999 during the Igbo convention, Orji Uzor blazed into the limelight with his assertion that it was high time an Igbo president was elected. 2003 was his target year, but some months after making that utterance, Orji Uzor was to recant it by endorsing Obasanjo’s Second tenure and asserting that it was not time for Ndi Igbo to produce the Nigerian president. Now he is aiming for the presidency, does he expect Ndi Igbo to forget so easily his betrayal and take him as their candidate.Besides; is it really time for Ndi Igbo to produce the country’s President considering Kalu’s earlier position? Is it that the time for an Igbo president must conform to the time Orji Kalu is ready to go for the presidency? One more question: Is Orji Uzor really serious?

I say no to the last question for in the manner of Chief Rochas Okorocha, Orji Uzor has emerged with only one intention: advertising himself, and getting compensated with a political appointment. Who would say he does not know that this is true?

During Chief Okorocha’s 2003 presidential campaign period, many believed he was serious, and actually began to perceive his as the Voice of the young Igbo generation, a hope for Ndi Igbo’s much desired hold on the presidency. I was sceptical from the outset. It was so easy to see through Okorocha’s charade.

Simply, I checked his antecedents and found no solid political structure to underscore a serious presidential bid. It did not take long for Okorocha to prove me right, that he was only one thing: Obasanjo’s political tout. The rest is history. A come – and – share position as an adviser to OBJ turned out to be the means of unmasking the masquerade Okorocha.

I sincerely think that Okorocha’s position is also Orji Uzor Kalu’s position. The difference between the two, which will soon become manifest is this: while Okorocha was matured enough to allow us guess the reason behind his action, when the time comes, Orji Uzor will embarrass us all with uncalled for excuses that cannot hold water, and that are worse still, self contradictory!

The problem with the young governor is that his excuses are bound to change depending on who interviews him at particular times, and whatever new goal he aims at.

Despite all these, Kudos need to be given to the young governor for his magnificent strides in Nigerian politics even if the common – people affecting strides were only witnessed in his first term in Office.

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Boniface Eke Agalaba July 30, 2005 - 10:24 am

Orji Uzor is seeking for vacancy of Vice President and nothing more. He is not serious and his words will never hold.


Of course Chief Orji Uzor KALU is not serious.

He is a political joker.

He cannot even govern an ordinary state and he wants to be the President of Nigeria

What an insult on the intelligence of Nigerians. Well I don't blame him. If the evil genius is convinced that he can fool Nigerians to vote for him in 2007 to complete the collateral damage he started as the military head of state from 1984 to 1993 then anybody can fool Nigerians. Since the majority of Nigerian voters don't know their right from their left. Because the illiteracy of the majority of Nigerian voters is actually responsible for the mediocracy of the political leadership of Nigeria.

Look at Aba the commercial nerve centre of Abia State then you can use the horrible and terrible environment of Aba to judge the psyche of the governor Chief Orji Uzor Kalu. He is a disgrace to us.

Chief Orji Uzor Kalu should visit Calabar and the rest of Cross Rivers State and learn from Donald Duke who is the best state governor in Nigeria today.

Chief Orji Uzor Kalu would be better appreciated as the team manager of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Anonymous July 28, 2005 - 1:28 pm

The article is well written and the salient points were presented without wasting words. Its concise and precise.

adejarelegal@yahoo.com July 27, 2005 - 5:54 pm

NOBODY can give a guaranty that he will not step down when it comes to the Nigerian Presidency. What is irritating is someone who wants to be a Vice President using others that innocently support him for Presidency (and sabotaging genuine candidates from his zone). It messes up the Political landscape and confuses everybody and gives room for "horse -trading" instead of election. There are others who secretly believe that the monied candidates would buy them and their supporters! Kennedy the Commentator above has rightly identified a weakness in Kalu's effort. I too think the man is visiting Emirs when he should be visiting Obis and Kabiesis and with greater maturity he will learn to be more circumspect in speech.2007 is an all -comers game. Inspite of Kalu's flip-floping and wobbly campaign I would not rule out a man with such determination. The SECOND TERM SYNDROME is an affliction imposed upon the polity by Adbusalam Abubakar. Governor Kalu did not need it and I do sincerely hope the National Assembly would rescue Nigerians by legislating a single 5-year Gubernatorial Tenure and a 6-year Presidency. This write-up is an objective assessment and I commend this writer for his industry. A people deserve the kind of Governor they get! The young Governor (Orji Kalu) has tried his best for his people and as we say in law – "res ipsa locquitur"- his achievements would speak for him.As for an answer to your qestion I will say(in the immortal words of Jimmy Cliff) "time will tell"

prince kennedy Iyoha July 25, 2005 - 12:58 pm

Helo Nnaemeka. and goodday.your article is interesting and it gives room for concern. i think Governor Orji uzor Kalu is a youngman that should be representing the average nigerian youth.though i am convinced that it will be diffecult for him to understand the problems of the youths. he has never be hungry all his life. besides he has alway gotten what he has wanted

As for the tax collecting proces i think the Government of Abia state has or should open a current account where taxes and revenues are to be deposited through bank transfar without the need of sending garrage boys to collect taxes on the street.

The Edo state Governor has the very same problem. insteed of collecting taxes through the propa mediumtheir boys are sent to the street to collect taxes that eventually ends in their personal account.

here in spainevery eligable man or women that is working or that has some kind of trade are obligated by law to contribute to both the proces of state development and for the socio services.this is the contrary in Nigeria.Every Nigerian require of the Government some kind of responsibility without reciprocating.Ask any Nigerian that lives abroad how much of his salary is deducted for the above mention purposes every mouth. Representatives of Governments make it even worse when they send tuats garrage boys or ex-military officers to go collect revenue and taxes from the people money that will end in mama iyabos drinking salon.

Orji uzor kanu has a possibility to make history if he can just setback and thing for a moment about the Nigeria youths and the problems they face day after day and try to find a solution to this problems come up with a resonable program that will be accepted by all youths in Nigeria and not only the Ndigbo comunity. my diaagrement with Governor Orji uzor Kalu is that he is focusing his campign as if its only the Ndigbo comunity that will make him win the office of the president come 2007.

Anonymous July 25, 2005 - 9:53 am

I rated this way because I believe this is a balanced accessment of the realities on ground in Abia State. I am from there and also being someone that has a vast interest in international and local politics and current affairs I believe this article to the best of my knowledge is correct.


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