NIGERIA ELECTIONS 2007
Governor Orji Uzor Kalu
Nigeria Election 2007
OBASANJO HAS NOTHING TO SAY TO THE IGBOS – KALU
Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has taken a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign which took place in Aba yesterday (2/02/07) describing it as a woeful failure.
Governor Kalu, in a release signed by his Special Adviser, Media Affairs, Iyke Ekeoma, noted that for a crowd to boo a President while making a speech shows the extent of discontent of the populace with the current order.
He noted that the angry response of the crowd to the attempt by the President to identify non-existing projects his administration executed in the state is a pointer to the disenchantment of the people with his government and his party.
He noted that the unenthusiastic and distracted look of the crowd at the venue of the rally showed that they were paid to attend the rally and having seemingly justified the money paid to them, they were in a hurry to attend to other endeavors.
The Abia State Chief Executive expressed sadness and disappointment that the President of a people as intelligent and urbane as Nigerians would come to a Presidential Campaign rally and engage in gutter language and shameless display of uncouthness noting that it shows the shallow-mindedness of the PDP family.
He reiterated the resolve of his party, the Progressive Peoples Alliance to make a clean sweep of both in the gubernatorial and presidential elections coming up in April and disclosed that the PDP was exhibiting signs of mass panic.
Abia to contest census figure in court
How far can Kalu go?
By Biola Azeez
The reality that Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State is the only presi dential candidate of Igbo extraction in the forthcoming general elections dawned on Nigerians so suddenly but quietly. None of those presidential aspirants that campaigned for the position under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was able to get it.
With the ouster of such notable Igbo sons like governors Sam Egwu of Ebonyi State, Achike Udenwa of Imo State, Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, the former military vice president, Ebitu Ukuwe, Chief Rochas Okorocha, Chief Kalu Idika Kalu and Chief Horsfall, among others, from the race on the platform of the PDP, many had thought that the Igbo race would need to wait at least another four years to get another opportunity to present one of them for the number one position in the country. More so, when it was becoming more or less a consensus among many that the 2007 presidency should go to the North.
But on Thursday, December 21, 2006, Nigerians of different classes, tribes and even different political backgrounds came together under the platform of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Civic Centre, Abuja, to adopt Kalu as their candidate in the presidential race. Nigerian Tribune gathered that about 4,000 delegates from the 36 states of the federation, Abuja and another 2,000 delegates from the UK and America, participated in the party’s convention. Quite interestingly, the PDP, which boasts of being the largest party in Africa, has presented Governor Umar Yar’Adua of Katsina State as its presidential standardbearer, while the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) picked the former military leader, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) for the second time and the Action Congress (AC) chose Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The point to note here is that the PDP, ANPP and the AC presidential candidates are from the northern part of the country. Why this political arrangement came to being is best explained by those concerned.
However, judging by the calculations of Kalu’s supporters, particularly the Ibo people, it is a divine arrangement to actualise the dream of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction since the country got independece in 1960. It is held that the Igbo race had been in political wilderness since 40 years ago for reason partly owned up by the people and also blamed on past leaders in the country. Selfishness among the political class and love of money against collective interest of some Ibo politicians are some of the reasons, while the involvement of the race in the 1967 civil war is believed to be the main reason the Igbo people are being punished till date.
Judging by the arguments of Igbo politicians and the strongly held position by Kalu, Igbo people are the salt of the nation. They warned that people should be wary of staying in any environment where there are no Igbo people because they are found in all parts of Nigeria. They further argued that their large population could win for them the nation’s presidency if put to effective use. The general feeling among Kalu’s supporters in Igboland is that Ndigbo will vote for any candidate of South East extraction, irrespective of party affiliation, but will on the other hand, vote en mass for Kalu to become president, especially if there is a general acceptance of Kalu’s presidential ambition among the ordinary people in the country. Particularly, traders, transporters and civil servants are among those expected to support Kalu’s presidential bid.
However, same can not be said of the elite. Starting from Abia State, his home state, political opponents can be seen in the PDP. Such politicians as the national secretary of the PDP, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, former Ohanaeze president, Professor Joe Irukwu, among others, are among those believed to be die-hard loyalists of President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is widely held that these president’s men will want to do everything to deliver the state for the PDP and, on the other hand, scuttle Kalu’s bid. The stage is, therefore, set for the battle royale.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, a former legal adviser to Kalu, Barrister Ifeanyi Iboko, described Kalu as the wisest governor among his colleagues. He said Kalu, as an astute politician and leader with foresight, had foreseen the antics and the attempted plans to prosecute sit-tight leadership and tenure elongation by the present government. He further maintained that Kalu will be president just as he emerged governor in 1999 against skepticism and opposition. “Forget all the opposition. They will come together to support him at the right time. I will only advise that people should come out to vote for the right candidate or else the wrong candidate will emerge.”
In the words of the information officer of the Orji Uzor Kalu Presidencial Campaign Organisation, Chief Eze Chikamnayo, with free and fair elections, Kalu will be president judging by his acceptance in all parts of the country. When you weigh all other presidential candidates side-by-side with Kalu, you would clearly see that he’s the only political heavyweight in the country. He was not prepared by any party to come out, nor was he frustrated to signify his intention. He came out first before all of them. He represents a pure civilian population and the young generation.
Also speaking, the PPA national secretary, Dr. Iboko Imo Iboko, reminded that all other political parties in the country have picked their flagbearers from the North, adding that PPA is the only one that has picked its from the South East. He said the chances of the party are high and bright. “We have candidates for all elective posts in the coming general elections and the list of successful candidates had been submitted to INEC. We are a formidable team”, he added.
A former Aba South Local Gorvernment chairman, Dr. Christian Okoli, admitted that Kalu will be president. “You can see how the political equation is unfolding. At the end of the day, you will see how he will emerge. It will look like a miracle. He has all the qualities it takes to be a good president. He was the first to come out for the position and he has all the local and internationl connections to pursue it.
Interestingly, the only factor that could bring opposition against Kalu’s ambition in Igboland had been settled. It will be recalled that the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) presented the Biarfa warlord, Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu as its presidential flagbearer. However, speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie, confirmed that there is a solidarity and working arrangement with the PPA and Kalu’s bid to rule Nigeria. “APGA and PPA are lions of one mother. The North West and the North East have presented their presidential candidates and we all know them. But, I want to say that the barking dog is preferred to a dead lion. Our coalition will ensure that Igbo is counted in the nation’s democratic equation. And only a coalition of parties can do it as we saw it in Germany, Israel and other countries of the world.