…As Mbazulike, Ozobu, Obioha re-echo support for ex-gov
• We’ll resist rigging -CRAI

By Dickson Okafor
BARELY 48 hours to the Abia North senatorial dis­trict election rerun, for­mer Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ti­nubu, has praised ex-Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, describing him as a man who loves and fights for his people.
Kalu is a candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alli­ance (PPA) in Abia North senatorial district election rerun, which comes up on March 5.
Tinubu said this when he received The Sun Man of the Year Award, on February 20 in Lagos. the emeritus governor said he knew Kalu as a man who does not shy away from a fight, especially when it is in the interest of his people.
Describing the former Abia State governor as a good entrepreneur, Tinubu said Kalu is one of the big­gest employers of labour in the country, who, through his numerous companies, has given Nigerians employ­ment.
“Kalu is a good fighter. He does not shy away from a fight when it is in the inter­est of his people. He is also a good entrepreneur and one of the biggest employers of labour,” said Tinubu.
In another development, former president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igwe Justice Ezebuilo Ozobu has urged the people of Abia North to vote for Kalu, as a vote for the former governor is for the larger Igbo interest.
Speaking through Igwe E.C. Anichebe, Ozobu described Kalu as a prominent Igbo leader and one of the leaders in the country who is completely detribalised.
“He is the type every Igbo man would like to represent us in the National Assem­bly. He is a very fearless man who always represents and protects the interest of the down trodden and the masses.
“ At this material time, that is the type of person we want in Nigeria, who can help to make the country better. So, we are support­ing Kalu to go to the Senate to represent his people and Ndigbo in general.
Going by his antecedents, I have no doubt that he would do his people proud and restore the respect of the Igbo man.
“So, the people of Abia North should be wise and forget about party leaning for now. A political party is just like a vehicle that will take you to your destination; therefore, you must look for a vehicle that is in good shape and not one that will pack up along the road. You must board a functional vehicle that will take you to Abuja and still be valued by people and that vehicle is Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.”
Also, elder statesman and Nigeria’s first aviation minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, has thrown his weight behind Kalu in the March 5 Abia North senato­rial district election rerun.
Amaechi said support for the former Abia State gover­nor should cut across party lines, and also explained that this should be done in the larger Igbo interest.
According to the foremost nationalist, happenings in the country today demand that the Igbo should have somebody of Kalu’s stature in the Senate to genuinely speak out for the Igbo nation.
He said: “I am no longer in partisan politics, I’m no longer active in major poli­tics, but I am not apolitical. I’ve studied the situation in Abia North senatorial dis­trict as it is now and I had wanted an opportunity to talk to the leaders of that senatorial district; tradition­al rulers, councillors, leaders of various political parties, to appeal to them that, in this particular election, it’s in the interest of Ndigbo gener­ally and that it’s for a special reason that somebody of the calibre of Dr. Kalu should take the seat.
“It is an act of God that, that seat is vacant now. I don’t know the other can­didates. No doubt, they are good men and they are good Igbo men, but, there is a par­ticular reason, in the face of the present situation, in the country viz-a-viz Igbo situation, it is necessary, absolutely necessary and essential that somebody of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s calibre should be in the Senate and we want him in the Senate.
“I want people in that sen­atorial district to please sup­port him and vote for him; let him go to the Senate. It does not mean that the others, in my opinion, are not quali­fied or are not good, but, this is in the overall interest; a purpose that we want him to achieve there and I am ap­pealing to the voters in that constituency to do that for us in Igboland.”
Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Caretaker Commit­tee, Chief Ralph Obioha, while endorsing Kalu, said:
“ Having carefully re­viewed the antecedents of candidates for the Abia North senatorial district re­run poll, it is in the interest of the Igbo nation to throw their weight behind a strong advocate of the Igbo cause in the person of Orji Kalu. It should be noted that the Red Chamber is a platform for people with political clout and pedigree. Kalu will use his network of contacts to ensure the correction of the imbalance in the South East. The cap fits Kalu.”
Meanwhile, following al­legation by a political pres­sure group, Abia North for Good Representation (ANGR) that some senior Abia State government of­ficials are planning to rig Saturday’s Senatorial rerun election in favour of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Chief Mao Ohuabunwa, through bulk buying of voters cards, a Non-Government Organ­isation (NGO), Citizen Rights and Accountability Initiative (CRAI) has said it will resist any attempt to rig the election by anybody or group. Rising from an emergency meeting in La­gos yesterday, the group, in a communiqué signed by its National President, Chief Bright Edom, called on the Independent National Elec­toral Commission (INEC) to investigate its zonal com­missioner who has been ac­cused of holding meetings with the commission.
CRAI said its election monitoring team will be at every polling booth to en­sure that people cast their votes freely for any candi­date of their choice. Edom warned those planning to manipulate figures to give up the idea as such attempt would be resisted.
The group reiterated its support for Kalu, add­ing that he has earned the group’s acceptance..