The people of Abia have moved on and the former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, constitutes but a part of a forgotten history. The insult by him and his hireling, Ebere Wabara, against the person of Governor Theodore Orji and the elders of Abia State is nothing but a display of intellectual thuggery. But, nobody in Abia today can come down to that pedestrian level with them. This is the attitude of all well-meaning people of Abia towards Kalu, his mother and all their cohorts today.
The reason is simple and self-evident. Kalu has gone into an untimely political menopause. As it stands today in Abia, he can only win election on the pages of his pet tabloid, The Sun. We win election on the ground. It is only the members of his family and his secret fraternity that can answer an invitation by him . Thus, there is no basis of comparison between him and the man who liberated us and brought us out of captivity. Since after being banished to Siberia, the Igbere emperor has been living like a recluse, cocooned in solitary confinement. He has been nursing his wounds with dignified silence. If the well-meaning elders do not want to associate with him or bring him into their noble fold, it is simply because of the odour around him which he needs to clean off . His reputation is stinking.
Perhaps, he might be thinking now that it is time to re-launch himself, to step out of his enclave. Like the ancient mystical phoenix, he wants to emerge from hibernation to take on a new life. And in this calculated mission of self re-invention, he has found a good strategy in insulting Governor Orji and his son, Ikuku. But, as he indulges in this dance of shame, there is a heavy load of moral burden hanging over him like the sword of Damocles. His preachments about leadership have ended as a self-directed sarcasm, a kind of self-mockery. The reference to his presidential ambition for which a leader of Ohanaeze was said to have visited to dissuade him is the same old gamji that climaxed with his speech at the palace of the monarch of Enugu Ukwu in Anambra State, entitled: I am the Face of the new Igbo, but which ended with the monumental “summersault “of 2003 when his second term bid came under threat. It’s all a script to seek relevance.
The main irony or humour in the current moves by Kalu is that his case is still pending with the EFCC. He is being prosecuted over crimes bordering on abuse of office and embezzlement of public funds. Unlike his co-travelers who are facing trail by the EFCC , he is the only one with the effrontery and temerity of embarking on this open grandstanding. Others have chosen the honourable path of, at least, maintaining a dignified silence.
It would seem, by this current insult against Governor Orji, that Kalu is bereft of any sense of honour. How can somebody who threw Abia State backward for eleven agonizing years have the moral guts to stand on the podium and talk about leadership? How can somebody whose eight-year tenure as governor was characterized by outright fraud and recklessness have the peace to mention the word leadership? The truth is that the Nigerian public is fully aware of Kalu’s antecedents and therefore cannot be deceived by his current moves. But, the major blame goes to the EFCC which has slumbered on these cases and have, in the circumstance, given the room for this insult on our sensibilities as a nation.
As a reminder, Kalu’s trajectory in the political corridors of Abia State remains the worst tragedy that befall Abia people. It was an ugly throwback to the gains humanity has made through the ages. And today, his successor, Governor Theodore Orji has struggled to put the disordered house in order. Governor Orji has struggled to bring decorum to the state after those locust years of kalu. During his eight-year reign, Kalu elevated recklessness into statecraft. Within this period, he expended three deputy governors, 262 commissioners and countless number of transitional chairmen. Everything was a game. The ‘wonder roads’ he brought Obasanjo, Atiku, N’Abba and other personalities to commission in Aba could not last for one year. He could not bring in one crane to construct a single outstanding public building in Abia state.
He rather introduced a new lexicon to the political dictionary of Nigeria known as Mamacracy. It was a system where his deputy, Speaker of the House of Assembly, traditional rulers, commissioners, permanent secretaries and anybody of worth must take instruction from his mother. This way, he humiliated and dehumanized respectable elders, stakeholders and even men of God all of whom must go and ‘see’ his mother before they could do any meaningful business with government. From his mother’s enclave at Nweke Street in Aba, Kalu engaged in diabolism by taking commissioners and other state officials to swear fetish oaths in satanic shrines. Okija shrine in Anambra State became a Mecca for political appointees.
Abians and indeed, the whole world are not in a hurry to forget his reign of terror orchestrated by his special terror gang known as Bakassi, a murderous outfit that killed and maimed countless souls extra judicially for mostly political reasons. The highpoint of the activities of this group came when forty people died after being locked up overnight in an abandoned shipping container in Aba. For this case, his Chief Security Officer was locked at Kuje prisons.
Even before he came to power in 1999, kalu’s past records were a spiral ring of inconsistencies and controversies. It is obvious he is merely trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the discerning publics. He seems to think that Nigerians are caught by a collective amnesia as to have suddenly forgotten his dark era.
If the EFCC had accelerated the case on Kalu, we would have been saved from this grievous insult on our sensibilities. But, let him be assured: Abians will resist him.
By: GODWIN ADINDU