Orji Uzor Kalu, the immediate past Governor of Abia State and Publisher of “The Sun” newspaper is a controversial politician and businessman who seems to court and enjoy controversy as it comes his way every now and then. Even before getting himself elected as Governor of the “God’s
It is a great tribute indeed that an Igbere-born barely-educated youngster could navigate through Nigeria’s shark-infested waters of corporate world from a humble beginning to become today a billionaire with chains of companies in Nigeria and abroad. Kalu had made it before becoming Governor of Abia State in eastern
Much after he took over power in Umuahia (after the swearing-in ceremony in 1999) Orji Kalu was exclusively interviewed by “Tell” magazine and the interview provided a lot of insight into the world-view of this political animal in his enigmatic excellence. Asked to respond to allegations of his modest academic acquisitions and fraudulent past OUK launched into a staccato of verbal grammatical somersault. The “Tell” reporter who did the interview reported how OUK almost ‘murdered’ the
As “action” Governor Kalu used his first term in office to mobilise Abians for a huge developmental tasks ahead. He set in motion mechanisms geared towards improving the lot of the masses from Umuahia to
From 2003 when he got re-elected for a second terminal term OUK became inactive almost abandoning the vigour with which his first term was characterised. Cities like
For this principled stand Kalu was marked out by the Obasanjo tenure elongation machinery as enemy number one whose political and economic fortunes must be given a deadly blow. Seeing danger of a political eclipse from the PDP Kalu dumped the party and created his political party, the Progressive People’s
Even out of office since May 2007 Kalu has been in the news for wrong or right reasons. Few months after guber immunity he had enjoyed for eight years elapsed the Ribadu-led EFCC cornered Kalu and three other ex-Governors and charged them to court for corrupt enrichment and looting of state treasuries. Kalu and his colleagues which included Jigawa’s Sumaila Turaki, Taraba’s Jolly Nyame and Plateau’s Joshua Dariye spent weeks in prison as they awaited bail. Among those ‘big men’ caught and caged Kalu was the most vibrant in detention consoling those shedding tears and playing table tennis. Kalu blamed Obasanjo for his travails as the Ota business tycoon blamed him also for his incest blues.
Orji Uzor Kalu has since argued that left for him Olusegun Obasanjo should be made to go back to prison to continue a second term of imprisonment for his many crimes against the Nigerian state and Nigerians. Rtd Gen. Danjuma has corroborated OUK saying in addition however that OBJ should be sent to prisons in far north where “the mosquitoes are far bigger and more entrenched”!
Just last week monday “ThisDay” newspaper in
The former Governor was challenged to a televised spelling contest with a promise by the pressure group to pay him N100,000 for every word he spelt correctly and another N100,000 for the one he knew the meaning! In a statement signed by one Uchenna Kalu, the Forum accused Kalu of masquerading himself as an intellectual when in reality he’s “anti-intellectual”. The statement read in part: “It is ironic that it is Orji Kalu’s latest gimmickry of being a newspaper columnist which has awakened interest in his character, or indeed lack of it. The column stunt is, of course, part of his anti-intellectualism, which delights in deriding scholarship, whenever he can. The reasoning here is to show that there’s nothing special about the writing of columns: Anyone can do it”.
And continuing in a deliberate attempt to cut Kalu to size the Elders’ Forum declared: “is not the writer of the so-called column, to which he appends his name. We know who the ghost-writers are; some of them [are] doubling as Kalu’s attack dogs. We in the Abia Elders Forum challenge him to a simple test: If he can spell five words, chosen randomly from each of two of his columns, and give their meanings correctly, we shall give him N1million. That works out at N100,000.00 per word, and ought to be attractive enough to even a self-proclaimed ‘billionaire’.”.
And to show its readiness for the televised debate the Elders’ Forum told Kalu point-blank: “If you are ready, we shall pay the amount to any appropriate account nominated. We are sure that the whole world will soon see that Orji Kalu cannot even spell, not to mention giving the correct meanings of word taken from a column which he pretends to have written”.
And moving away from the spelling contest the Abia Elders’ Forum accused Kalu of appropriating a national honour “MON” to himself. The statement read further: “As everyone knows, Orji Kalu appropriated the National Honour of ‘Member of the Order of the
“Then in 2003, it was discovered that Orji Uzor Kalu was never awarded any national honour by anyone. He had simply taken the honour. When confronted with the criminal app
ropriation of a National Honour, he turned around and claimed that his own MON was not a National Honour, but was derived from an Igbochieftaincy title of “Mmadu Oha Nile”, meaning “man of the people”. He never said who gave the title and when it was given. He has continued to parade himself as an MON”
Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is of course an intelligent man with a complex pedigree. He has successfully weathered many storms on his way to the top. Whether he had dismissed the recent challenge from the Elders’ Forum as a rant of rabid opponents or taken up the challenge to shame his critics is not yet known. But one thing is sure: OUK is a survivalist! Whether his ‘MON’ means ‘Member of the Order of the