A former Governor of Abia and business mogul, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, on Thursday, faulted former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to president Muhammadu Buhari criticising his alleged poor handling of security and the economy and urging him not to contest the 2019 presidential election.
Kalu said that the former president lacked the moral right to comment on such national issues. Dr. Kalu is a national chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The business mogul also said it would be unfair to the South East , South South and South Westerns part of Nigeria not to support the second term presidential bid of President Buhari, given the benefit it holds in ensuring the return of power to the southern part of the country in 2023.
Speaking in an interview at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two ( MMA2), in Lagos, Kalu called on President Buhari to speak up on the challenges of insecurity affecting the country, especially as it affects the attack of some section of the country by Fulani herdsmen.
He said as much as he does not agree with the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter, he would, however, consult first with the intelligence and international community before issuing an official response to the Obasanjo’s letter.
Kalu , however, said the challenge of herdsmen/ farmers clash was lingering in some states because their governors lacked capacity to handle the situation.
He said although the President Buhari’s government might be slow in taking critical socio-economic and political decisions, it has nonetheless done well in stemming the high rate of corruption that was prevalent under the 16 years that PDP ruled Nigeria.
He alleged that the PDP plundered the NNPC and CBN at will, insisting that the APC would open the books to show the level of rot it inherited from PDP in 2015.
Kalu said President Buhari has recorded some achievements in his two and half years tenure, which necessitates calls for his re-election, listing the commencement of work on the Second Niger Bridge as a big project that would benefit the people of the south East and South South regions.
On the Obasanjo letter Kalu said, ” I am not going to talk about former President Obasanjo’s letter because I am going to make some consultations with the United States, Germany, China and the United Kingdom. Then I will come back and speak on that letter.
“I think Obasanjo’s letter is not to the best interest of Nigeria. I don’t want to reply him because I have given you examples time without number.
“There are three express roads Obasanjo refused to build when he was the President of Nigeria. Port Harcourt-Okigwe-Umuahia-Enugu expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration.
“Another one is the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration. Obasanjo did not build it. Then there is the Onitsha-Owerri-Aba expressway. The Buhari administration is building it now.
“Between Obasanjo and Buhari who should I call my friend in real terms? It is Buhari who is developing our region. With the roads, trailers loaded with manufactured goods in Aba will be able to reach their various destinations from the city. So Buhari is my friend; he is a better President.
“I don’t wish to reply that letter because the former President has no morals that should qualify him to write that letter.
“This is because he is the cause of many of the things that happening in this country today. I will make consultation to the intelligence community of the countries I have mentioned before I will reply Obasanjo’s letter.
“Obasanjo is not a worthy person to write that letter. Under the Obasanjo administration, $16 billion was spent on power plant but that money was wasted. Where we are now at the privately-owned domestic airport” You can hear the sound of generator. The electricity in the facility is being powered by generator. Where is the $16 billion spent on electricity?
“It is just that governments are not serious. If the different tiers of governments are serious they would address where the $16 billion meant for provision of power has gone. This should be addressed because people cannot be masquerading to be innocent when they are the biggest thief. You come to government with N20,000 and you become a multi-billionaire.
“You own banks, you own industries and you carry our money and give it to people to be doing something and you go around talking like an angel.
“Before June this year I will write my own letter to President Buhari and that letter will be explosive.
On President Buhari’s fight against corruption, Kalu said, “Buhari is fighting corruption. It is those who don’t know Buhari that will be saying that. You know that I supported Buhari in 2003 even when I was a PDP governor. It is in my house that he used to stay at Igbere.
“So I know the man very well; it is just that he is slow. The man needs people like him around him who will whip him up into action every morning to do the things he is supposed to do.
“He is the leader that we need now. Buhari is the man that can put things in order and moreover the four political parties in Igboland will endorse Buhari for President in 2019. All the parties including APC, PDP, APGA and PPA will endorse Buhari for 2019.
“All of us are going to vote for Buhari in 2019 in the South East for Buhari to go for another four years and we are not going to compromise that. So, Obasanjo can be writing his letter but we are going to vote for Buhari.”
On Buhari’s health Kalu said, “You are not his doctor to determine his state of health. You remember in June last year some people confronted me when I said that Buhari would come back healthier. I was abused by even journalists but I stood my ground and said this is what I know about the man’s state of health.
“The man is ready and willing to do his job. In 2019, you will see a new Buhari. He will make things work. He is being careful to avoid the mistakes of the past governments. We are going to energise him.
“I was not in APC before but I am there now and we are going to support him. The second coming of Buhari is going to be in the best interest of the South West, the South South and South East.”
The former Abia governor also spoke on the alleged marginalisation of some sections of the country. According to him, “The cabinet does not do the job. Under Jonathan’s administration the South East was well represented but they did nothing for the zone. So it is better we don’t have such representatives and we have our roads and other projects done.”
On Buhari’s acceptance in the South East, Kalu said : “Forget about hired crowd. Forget about the crowd politicians hire. My grandmother told me that when you wish to sew cloth you need to pieces first before you sew it. That is what Buhari has done.
“And from this 2018 you will see the economic gains. Mind you there was economic glut globally when he took over. Oil price went very down and some people in government broke the Central Bank.
“If we open up what we know Nigerians will run away and we might open it up very soon because hiding this thing and the advice of the international community to hold it may no longer hold.
“The way these people looted Central Bank; they looted the place without receipt. People carried money without awarding any contract. This is what is affecting you and I.”
On the menace of Fulani’s herdsmen Kalu said,”I don’t support that Fulani herdsmen should be allowed to continue to harass Nigerians. The governors in those states that Fulani herdsmen are killing people are weak. When I was a governor, no Fulani herdsman can come to Abia and border Abia people.
Is your life being protected by another being? So the governors are not doing what they are supposed to do. If the governors put their feet down, nobody will kill anyone in their states.
“Every life is very important; every life is sacred. So, we must be able to respect each other’s life and moreover, we call on the Federal Government to find a way to address that issue.
“The herdsman crisis is not to be the benefit of anybody. President Buhari must stand up and address that issue. And if I have any opportunity I will advise him to put his feet down on that issue because the issue is delicate. Buhari is not a tribalist the way they say.
“But by nature you draw closer to your people. When Jonathan was there he operated with South East, South West and South South people. When Obasanjo was there he also ran with South East, South West and South South people and all the northerners were driven away. When you have power you try to address the issues that make things happen.
“For me, the letter is irrelevant at this time of our life. Nigerians should not celebrate mediocrity. As far as I am concerned, people who did not do well when they had the chance should not be pointing accusing finger at others. One man cannot hold a country to ransom; one man cannot be the only one that is right.
” After all, this man did not build Abeokuta-Lagos expressway. The state of the road is in a mess. I cannot be a President and not build a road that leads to my house. That is indiscipline. So, the man should first wash himself out of his problems before looking at other people’s problem. Many Nigerians accuse this government of too much blame game against the immediate previous administration.”
On his take on the PDP Kalu said, ” Mind you, if PDP were a company I would hold 90 percent of it. There were only two people who brought real money to fund PDP, myself and Atiku Abubakar.
“This is a statement of fact. But later, others hijacked this party from us. And when you are talking about who is right or wrong, Obasanjo missed a step to make this country great. He was busy pursuing enemies; instead of pursing development. This country could have been better and better when Obsanjo took over. But he missed the opportunity. He was so petty. And Lai Mohammed called Obasanjo a patriotic leader. How can you call Obasanjo a patriotic leader? That means that Lai Mohammed is a liar himself.
“Obasanjo is not a patriotic leader. If I open the Pandora ’s Box of Obasanjo, you will run away and I am going to do it but let me consult intelligence community all over the world.
“For Buhari to run and win in 2019, he needs a coalition of progressives, but they want to establish another party.”
So, do you think you need to reach out to Nigerians and in midst of this there is a call for generational shift. What is your take on APC reaching out to other parties?
“Anybody has the right to join the APC. We don’t have to form alliance with anybody. The party is based on fairness, righteousness and everything and if you want to join the party you join the party. We are not going to beg anybody to join. Those that are registering new party is their business. APC will always be APC.”
On plans by some people to set up a new party, led Oby Ezekwesili , Kalu said, “To me, you cannot use third force to run a democratic process. This means that majority of the people have not understood what democracy is all about. She is my in-law and I have good relationship with her. If she wants to run she should go and register a political party and face us.
“All these grammars you people are speaking is not the issue. If she feels she is popular enough she should register a political party and join us. I want to say that Nigerians will be surprised on the popularity of Buhari and we are going to win.
“People are now realising that they are being deceived. There are a lot of hate speeches in the social media. When I told people that these killer herdsmen came from abroad people insulted me.
“But intelligence has said that is true but when I said it nobody believed me. Nobody can buy me. Buhari does not even have money to buy me. I speak the truth.
Whenever I have the opportunity I tell Buhari my mind. But for the letter written by Obasanjo; I rate him zero, zero, zero.”