THE LIES AND LIES OF ORJI UZO KALU.
Orji Uzor Kalu, a former civilian governor of Abia State murdered sleep in REIGN OF TERROR BY ABIA TRIUMVIRATE, Saturday Sun, August 9, 2014, p.71 which appeared in KALU LEADERSHIP SERIES (KLS), a regular weekly column. The need to challenge the preposterous claims and set the records straight is the raison d'être for this intervention. It is my sincere expectation that the conversation will be unhindered in the interest of developmental politics founded on facts and not fiction. But, first thing first! Let me hoist a tapestry of the character disposition of Orji Uzor Kalu in order to foreground our discussion.
I need to state immediately that I do not buy Sun Newspaper. This is because the alter ego of the stable, Orji Uzor Kalu, for reasons that will appear clear hereunder, is an un-serious character with grandiose disposition carefully crafted to hoodwink the unwary.
Again, I also doubt the propriety of a newspaper owner creating a column for himself in his newspaper where he enjoys the uninhibited license of publishing his articles at will, without regard to quality whilst enjoying an unlimited access to those who will permit or deny a rejoinder. This is an issue which I think the NPAN should look at.
Finally, KLS is one of those crafty designs for image-laundering of Orji Uzor Kalu. The truth is that he has no leadership credentials except as is enough to deceive and cheat. When he celebrated his one hundred in office during his first tenure I published a letter to him where I predicted that he will bring unmitigated disaster upon Abia State. I regret that I was proved right.
Leadership is reflected in family and public life. On both fronts Orji Uzo Kalu is not a good market. That is why he cannot teach any positive values. If you listen to Orji Uzo Kalu speak ex tempore in public you will know that even the KLS is a product of faceless writers who are in his payroll. It is not a case of somebody knowing how to write but being handicapped in public speaking. He simply cannot deliver a coherent message with the same erudition that characterizes KLS.
The capacity of Orji Uzor kalu to lie is legendary. But it has served him so well that he has elevated it to an arts form. This was how, growing up in Aba in the 70s', he grafted Kalu to his name because he wanted to be seen as the son of Chief Nnanna kalu, a business mogul from Abiriba who at that time was a household name in business circles in Aba. In Igbere, the Village of Orji Uzo kalu, every one knows that “Kalu” does not feature in the family tree of Orji Uzor kalu.
The same trait was again at play when Orji Uzor Kalu mounted the podium in Bornu State of old at a launching of a development fund and made a donation of a sum of money that was mind-boggling. As it later turned out, when the cartons with which the money was delivered were opened, pieces of papers were the content.
Of course it is all well known that Orji Uzor Kalu falsely claims to have been a student in University of Maiduguri. According to the fable, which he craftily weaved, he voluntarily abandoned his course of study because some of his co-students who were expelled following a students' protest were not recalled with him. This story line is of a course a tortoise-said-this-and-that story. It is a historic fact that the students who were expelled went to court and the titanic legal battle they waged moved from the High Court to the Supreme Court.
Again, it is an established fact that Orji Uzor Kalu remains the only Nigerian who flaunts a High Court Order that validated a WAEC result in the name of one Orji Uzor Johnson as his WAEC Certificate. For those who might have forgotten, the story is worth retelling, albeit, briefly. While Orji Uzor Kalu was Governor, a certain character whose whereabouts is presently unknown claimed that the WAEC result of Orji Uzor kalu did not belong to him. Pronto, Orji Uzor Kalu approached the High Court presided over by Hon. Justice S. N. Imo, who was the Chief Judge at that time. In the suit he filed against WAEC he claimed that a WASC result in the name of Johnson belonged to Orji Uzor Kalu. In the fastest legal proceedings ever conducted in any judicial system the Chief Judge granted all the reliefs.
It is worth recalling that it was the WAEC result and the Court judgment that Orji Uzor Kalu later used to procure admission for a full-time degree course in Abia State University whilst being the visitor to the said University in his capacity as the Governor of Abia State. Interestingly with the severance of his fraudulent influence the Senate of the University has since recalled his certificate.
The unimpeachable truth is that all the core assertions in the said article are false in the extreme. They represent the quintessential trait of the character flaw of Orji Uzor Kalu: a capacity to lie and lie with a aplomb.
In the very first paragraph of the article Orji Uzor Kalu claims that Chief T. A. Orji, the Governors of Abia State, is engaging in “campaign of hate against, me and the people of Abia State”. This is an absolute lie. Orji Uzor Kalu is a victim of the repercussions of his misdeeds in Abia State. That is the reason why he cannot freely walk the streets of Aba and accordingly has carefully avoided a visit to the town he grew up and, I dare say, loved to be.
Few years ago he was booed at a popular road junction in Aba-Owerri Road when he was identified in a pothole-induced traffic jam. On that fateful day sachet water and oranges were freely hurled at the vehicle of the former Governor. Trust Aba people in their disavowal of evil! It is the detaste by the people of Aba for the eight years of waste under Orji Uzor kalu that he attributes to the Governor. As I write I challenge any one who cares, to visit the numerous drinking joints in Aba and mention either the name of Orji Uzor Kalu's or his mother.
The claim that Chief T. A. Orji is engaged in a campaign of hate against the people of Abia State is a lie taken too far. There is nothing at all no matter how minor to support such wild accusation. It is thus not surprising that Orji Uzor Kalu could not cite a single example of such campaign. As somebody who has lived in Aba since 1972 I have no hesitation in saying that the assertion that Abia State is under siege is a make-belief.
However, one thing is clear. The havoc Orji Uzor Kalu and the mother wreaked on the people of Abia State is far too fresh that they have reason to fear for their lives. What are the facts to back up this assertion? Under Orji Uzor Kalu and mother several hapless political jobbers were railroaded to different shrines where they took oath of personal allegiance. The victims of this idolatry are very much alive and they are bitter.
Again, it was Orji Uzor Kalu that masterminded the storming of the Abia State House of Assembly sometime in his first tenure in his office. The House of Assembly was damaged and several house members wounded by the thugs who were openly identified. The reaction of Orji Uzor Kalu was predictable. He donated ten Million Naira only for the repair of the damaged property. No body was arrested and no body prosecuted.
Again, Orji Uzor kalu should remember the “Orie Ohabiam 32”. If he has forgotten I need to remind him that thirty two young men died in a cell maintained by a Vigilante group midwifed by him. No body was arrested. No body was prosecuted. The families of the victims were never compensated. Their bitterness against Orji Uzor Kalu is so portent that it can permeate his high security walls.
Also, Orji Uzor Kalu should remember the two youngsters from Ubakala, aka the Ubalala two, who were killed at White House, Umuahia. Every hand pointed at the Governor and the mother and until now no body was prosecuted.
There are several other cases of mysterious deaths under the nose of Orju Uzor Kalu. However, let me not bore readers with such other examples. Let me just conclude by challenging Orji Uzor Kalu to cite one examples of mysterious death since 2007 which can be traced, even remotely, to Chief T. A. Orji.
Let us remember our initial thesis: that Orji Uzor Kalu is a pathological liar. Thus when he asserts that “what we have in Abia State is total siege”, you can be assured that a spin doctor is at work. When Orji Uzor Kalu and his mother were in charge they looted several lands meant for public purpose. A clear example is the scramble for Ayaba Umueze land which was acquired for a Teaching Hospital. In a brazen display of non-pareilgreed Orji Uzor Kalu shared out the land to Slok Nig. Ltd., his company, his brothers, mothers and co-travelers in perfidy.
Still in their demonstrable lust for money Orji Uzor Kalu's mother converted every open space in markets in Aba for the building of stalls which were allotted, for re-sale, to members of Nweke Cabinet - a reference to all the favour-seeking hangers-on who regularly thronged the residence of Orji Uzor Kalu mother at Nweke Street, Eziama-Aba, a sub-GRA in Aba.
In addition open spaces were converted into Motor Parks, Kiosks stands and shops which ensured the environmental defacement of the entire Enyimba City. It is these illegal structures, the manifestation of the debasement of values under Orji Uzor kalu, that are being demolished. Orji Uzor Kalu is only crying because when they erected the structures they knew of the illegality but had proclaimed to the beneficiaries that nothing could happen. In the celebrated language of that accursed era: Usu enwegi onu ( bats cannot bite).
Accordingly, when Orji Uzor kalu contends that Abia State is no more congenial he is right in a way. For evil men, fraudsters and idolators Abia State is no more congenial. However, for persons who are genuine in their aspiration for development Abia State remains the destination for good returns on investments. It is a known fact that Aba houses the highest number of SMEI in sub-Sahara which is the reason why the biggest private electric power generating plant is being established in Aba.
I must, however, concede that the sacking of non-indigenes by the Chief T. A. Orji administration was inconsistent with the status of Abia State as a cosmopolitan state. Accordingly, I was one of those that urged for a reversal of the policy. It is heart-warning that the policy has been reviewed leading to the on-going re-engagement of the workers.
For the umpteenth time let me say that it is not true that we live in fear in Abia State. On the contrary the air of freedom is unprecedented. Today, a private radio station in Aba offers every body the platform to air views that were not possible in the heady days of Orji Uzor Kalu's administration. In 2013 the Aba Marathon became a symbol of the air of freedom in Aba. The claim, therefore, that no where is safe in Abia State is the figment of a mind that is haunted by the evil deeds of the past. Think of Lady Macbeth seeing spots of blood in his hand or Great Birnam Wood charging towards Macbeth in battle.
Let me at this stage address the issue of double-taxation in Aba . I agree that this is a major issue in governance. As a tax practitioner and a legal practitioner it is real. However, two quick points are necessary. It is a national problem as all the states are involved. Again, it was worse during the time of Orji Uzor Kalu. I can recall vividly that the regime of illegal tax started with illegal levies imposed on landlords in Aba. Without any law in place the agents of Orji Uzor Kalu moved into action and started forcing payments of diverse sums. At the same time commercial bus drivers started paying what was then known as "thirty naira", for short, which was said to have been approved by “mama” – a reference to the mother of Orji Uzor Kalu. The ferocity with which the payment of levies was enforced, when Orji Uzor Kalu was governor, is still recalled with anger in Aba.
Let us fast forward to now. Recently, Governor T. A. Orji convoked a tax summit in Abia State. The summit was a reaction to criticisms of the regime of multiple taxation in Abia State. During the time of Orji Uzor Kalu such a platform was not possible because “bats had no mouth”. The outcome of the summit has not been made public but Governor T. A. Orji has already directed the suspension of all revenue agents pending when all the taxes are harmonized. I dare say that such directive was not possible under Orji Uzor Kalu arising from the insatiable appetite to grab.
I am honestly amazed at Orji Uzor kalu's complaint about the air waves being inundated with praise-singing and booth-licking. When he was Governor his mother became on radio, a political Amazon of our time. She was daily equated with having equal intellectual and political prowess with every great woman in history. Such was the time! Today, while it is generally accepted that the tone of some pronouncements on the air waves are handiwork of over zealous fans of the Ochendo Magic there is nothing near the absurd level that heralded the Orji Uzor Kalu era. It is not for nothing that the NBC, at that time, imposed a fine of =N=500,000.00 on the state radio station in lieu of revoking the license.
I dare say that the comparison of Abia State and Bornu State is absurd in the extreme. This is the reason why I can safely say that Orji Uzor Kalu is living in a make-belief world. The camaraderie in Abia State is palpable. The Youth Empowerment Scheme of Chief T. A. Orji has put smiles on the faces of uncountable families. Orji Uzor Kalu,, as governor distributed wheel barrows, old vehicles abandoned by his aides and motorcycles. Today, what Chief T. A. Orji is distributing are vehicles that are in good stead for transportation. The difference, as they say, is clear!
Orji Uzor kalu claims that when he was governor he “treated people with dignity, respect and love”. This is absolute nonsense. We need to know whether oath-taking before diverse shrines was consistent with respect for the dignity of the human person. It is also worthy to recall that Orji Uzor Kalu insulted every known politician in Abia State. His caustic attack on Chief Ojo Maduekwe is a metaphor for the point I am making. In this respect it will be recalled that, out of clear mischief, he stoutly claimed that the name “OJO” was not of Igbo origin and therefore that Chief Ojo Maduekwe was not an Igbo man.
While America was fighting the evil of Taliban, Orji Uzor kalu conjectured it as a fitting name for all other politician who refused to kiss the poisoned chalice of mother and son for filthy lucre. With the toga of Taliban stuck on every politician, except his ilk, the message to his agents was clear: treat the opposition in the same manner Americans were treating the Taliban in Afghanistan! For Orji Uzor kalu to turn round few years later to claim a behavioral pattern that is inconsistent with his avowed public stance is another manifestation of the lies and lies of Orji Uzor kalu.
It is laughable that Orji Uzor Kalu can claim he groomed Governor T. A. Orji. As I write this piece Orji Uzor Kalu has no graduate certificate from any University in the world. Yet he has the effrontery to claim that he groomed a graduate of a foremost University in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan! This is absolutely unbelievable. Orji Uzor Kalu grew up in the ghetto of Aba and by the time he became Governor all he had to his name, as shown in his certificate with which he contested elections in 1999 and 2003 was his WAEC certificate. Another known attribute then was that he was wildly traveled and a close friend to some military autocrats. Some also falsely thought he had money, not rich, because even today his character flaws betray him as being poor. How then it is possible that Orji Uzor Kalu groomed Chief T. A. Orji. On the contrary, it was Chief T. A. Orji that did all he could to attain a turn-around of Orji Uzor Kalu from seeing everything as “business” and “game” to the real issues of governance. Regrettably, Orji Uzor kalu was and remains merely a “game man”: somebody who cheats, deceives and lies for personal advantage or gains!
That Orji Uzor Kalu attempts to stick on Governor T. A. Orji the “traits of arrogance, meanness, brutality or greed” is shocking because there is no action of the Governor that can be cited in support except in respect of the absolute and damning rejection of the Orji Uzor kalu's negative tendencies. It was the negative tendencies highlighted by Orji Uzor Kalu that garlanded his administration. Every Abians recalls that at the height of his infamy Orji Uzor kalu asserted that his family will be in charge of Abia Governance for fifty years. It was also at this time that he threw up his brother, over night, to run and win election under Action Congress to represent Aba North/South Federal Constituency. The hapless brother, thrown up to highlight Orji Uzor Kalu”s political dexterity, was later referred to as “deaf and dumb” because not for once did he make any contribution in the House of Representatives.
Let me remind Orji Uzor Kalu that rejection of evil is obedience to God. And he who loves God has no business with die-hard sinners. The position of Chief T. A. Orji, as I understand it, comes to this, metaphorically speaking, : I either serve (nay work) with God or mammon and because I am serving (working) with God I will show absolute and irrevocable rejection of mammon.
Orji Uzor kalu claims he openly fraternized with everybody when he was Governor. This is absolutely false. I can attest that he once attended Chief Ojo Maduekwe's daughter's traditional marriage when no invitation was extended to him. That was a clear example of an uncivilized man who saw the whole thing as a game to bemuse his host. It is remarkable that even after that visit the political darts they hauled at each other because more furious. So, what was the aim of the visit? Pretended love by a hypocrite. I do not think a well bred technocrat like Chief T. A. Orji, is caught out for such charade!
One of the attributes of Orji Uzor Kalu, as earlier highlighted, is the uncanny ability to make assertions that will appear true to the unwary. He came up with this strategy when he rhetorically asked if Chief T. A. Orji “will have the courage to walk the streets as many of us do today when he leaves office as Governor.?" Inherent in this statement is that Orji Uzor kalu can walk the streets freely. I know he can do so in the streets London, New York, Washington and even Lagos. Let him try it in Aba or any other part of Abia State except Igbere.
Before Orji Uzor Kalu became governor he was the poster boy of good life in Aba. He was the stand-by boy of the rich with whom he enjoyed to associate with. Because he attended Primary School in CKC, Aba, Secondary Schools in Eziama High School, Aba and Government College, Umuahia he walked the streets with joy-filled approbation. Even as governor he enjoyed this sociable image which he cultivated as a facade of deceit. But that was then. Today, his person throws up disdain and opprobrium. I challenge him to test the water.
For clarity it needs to be said that each of the assertions of Orji Uzor Kalu in his article are either premised on false ground or intentionally skewed. He claims he never visited government house after he left office. That may be true. But he always desired Government House to be visiting him and his mother. The competence and moral fortitude of Ochendo are evident in his ability to reject such contraption; an attitude that Orji Uzor Kalu calls meanness.
It is right to underscore the fact that Orji Uzor Kalu claims that he does not embark on wild-give chase. But that is exactly the opposite of Orji Uzor kalu. While Governor of Abia State he demonstrated this character flaw. In his first 100 days in office he set up a committee headed by the venerable Chief Akwiwu (SAN) to investigate illegal sale of property in GRA, Abia State. The report was never made public. Also, Orji Uzor Kalu, as governor, set up a Panel of Inquiry into what was known as Igbere crisis. Of course not a word was heard of the report. Also, it was the same “game-man”-trait that made the Governor to set up a committee on hand over of Schools to their owners. Of course no School was handed over to the original owners until the end of his tenure. Several other examples could be pointed out but the above three are, in my view enough, to support our contention.
It is right that Orji Uzor Kalu is preaching moral rectitude, peace and harmony. But he has to step out now and apologize to Ndi Abia. His Government of deceit, blood-letting and idolatry are still fresh. His was the typical Egypt. His write-up shows that he is an un-repentant sinner. He needs our prayers only but not our association. We in Abia State have long left Egypt. There is no going back “Enyi Abia Alawala! .
Finally, it is apt to stress that Chief T. A. Orji is humane, honest and caring. These are attributes that are rare is most leaders. He should not be distracted by the likes of Orji Uzor Kalu. As the great Zik said “History shall vindicate the just”.
UKPAI UKAIRO ESQ.
PRINCIPAL PARTNER, UKPAI UKAIRO AND ASSOCIATES, LEGAL PRACTITIONERS,
118 TENANT ROAD, ABA,