Abia politics gets messier as…T.A. Orji moves to revoke Kalu's ABSU degree

By The Citizen

Abia State governor, Chief Theodore A. Orji may have taken the fight against his predecessor and benefactor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to a more desperate level as Daily Sun reliably gathered that he is making subterranean moves to revoke the degree awarded the former governor by the Abia State University (ABSU) in 2002.

Gov. Orji who is invoking his powers as Visitor to the university is said to be behind a move compelling the varsity authorities to consider the recommendations of a kangaroo investigative panel that allegedly looked into a spurious petition lodged against the award of the degree to Kalu by the university several years ago. Kalu who had abandoned his degree programmme at the University of Maiduguri had his transcript records and other details transferred to ABSU while he was serving as governor and eventually completed the programme some eleven years ago.

In fact, photos of the then Governor Kalu sitting among other students to write his semester exams made interesting news for several newspaper houses then, as they lavishly splashed them in their publications. Eleven years down the line, however, Gov. T. A. Orji is said to be desperate to withdraw the degree to score a political point against Kalu whose return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sent cold shivers down the spine of the governor and his allies.

Daily Sun gathered that the Senate of the University met last Tuesday to consider the report of the investigative panel hurriedly set up to look into the curious petition filed by a yet to be unmasked petitioner. The panel alleged, in an excerpt of its report obtained by Daily Sun, that although there indeed 'was a student by name Kalu, O.U. with Matriculation Number 00/42226, who supposedly transferred to Abia State University,' the process of the transfer and the documentation was incomplete and that 'In effect, the said transfer of Kalu, Orji U. into Abia State University was irregular ab initio.'

The Senate was, however, said to have dismissed the report and recommendations of the panel, saying it was hurriedly put together and did not follow due process. Apart from the fact that the report was hurriedly done, the Senate also noted that the Vice Chancellor as at the time of the report, was never invited to give evidence during the so-called investigation. Similarly, the Senate noted, neither Kalu who is a central figure to the petition nor any other key figure to the matter was invited to testify.

Not satisfied, however, those believed to be bent on scoring cheap political point with the matter are said to have mounted pressure on most members of the Senate to re-visit the matter. Consequently, an emergency meeting at the university Senate has been convened tomorrow with Kalu's degree as the only item on the agenda. A member of the Senate who spoke to Daily Sun last night on the condition of anonymity said the development is dangerous. 'They should not bring politics into academics because it will destroy the institution,' he said.

Confirming that some members of the university Senate have been under pressure since Tuesday, the source said: 'Yes, offers have been made to some members after majority of us rejected the bid on Tuesday. With the way things are now, I doubt whether we will have quorum on Friday.' Reacting to the move yesterday, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who is abroad said that the Abia State government's latest move has shown the level of desperation of the government. Kalu who spoke through his aide, Kunle Oyewunmi, said that 'it is obvious that this shameless desperation was provoked by my return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

If the governor is popular as he claims, why is he jittery and desperate that one man is re-joining a party he co-founded.' Kalu called on well-meaning Abians and Nigerians to call Gov. T.A. Orji to order, adding that Abians are yearning for dividends of democracy and the governor has the responsibility to provide them. Sounding philosophical, Kalu said that he is confident that this 'move will also come to pass because no human being except God has the power to determine any other person's destiny.' The Sun