Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Eminent businessman and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has revealed how former President Olusegun Obasanjo deprived Nigerians their livelihood by destroying his business enterprise.
Kalu revealed this in an interview with Asabe Afrika Television, in Lagos, yesterday.
Obasanjo reportedly went after politicians who were against a rumoured bid to secure a third term in office, towards the expiration of his second term in 2007.
The former president has since distanced himself from the third term agenda.
In the process, Kalu said Obasanjo destroyed his businesses consisting of Hallmark Bank, Slok Airline and an oil block, due to his opposition to the then president’s agenda.
Kalu, in the interview, said the former president threatened him physically and even promised to render him poor and turn him to a beggar.
The former governor also spoke about how he and like-minded politicians stopped Obasanjo’s third term bid.
He recalled how the former president came into office with only N20,000 in his bank account and queried how the former president got the resources to erect structures for himself in Abeokuta and Ota, Ogun State.
Kalu said unless President Muhammadu Buhari retraces his steps by probing Obasanjo, then the fight against corruption will be a fight that has not began in earnest.
He called on President Buhari to give the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, a mandate to pick on Obasanjo.
Asked how he feels after Obasanjo made good his promise, Kalu replied that he has moved on.
“No, no, no, no! It is not about that. We have passed that stage. Hallmark Bank, Slok Airline, the oil block; they were my businesses. I have moved forward. I am not even thinking about that. But, he deprived Nigerian people who were working, 5,000 workers in Hallmark Bank, at133 branches. He deprived them their daily food. Fourteen aircraft on ground for Slok Airline! He deprived all the people employed in Kano, in Kaduna where we had bases; in Port Harcourt, in Owerri, in Enugu, in Lagos and in West Africa.
“All the West African countries. He deprived them of their daily food. It was not about Orji Kalu,” he said.
Even though he is yet to overcome the challenges Obasanjo wrought on his business, Kalu said he is grateful to God because, in life, a man must bear a burden.
“Obasanjo is just a common criminal on the street. He is a criminal because he came to be president with N20,000. All his bills, throughout when he left prison, were paid by me.
“So, how can I become a thief? He was sleeping in my house in Victoria Island.
“So, how could I have become a thief immediately he became president and started taking money away? So, all the businessmen he used in siphoning our money, I want president Buhari to mandate (acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim) Magu, tomorrow, and that is the only way I can know that president Buhari is pursing corruption by probing ex-president Obasanjo,” Kalu added.
On Obasanjo’s third term bid, Kalu said the former president wanted to kick-start it from the African Union.
“Even people who are taking credit in the Senate, the person who derailed the third term in the Senate is Ibrahim Mantu and Adolphus Wabara.
“He was just removed as senate president. So, we contacted him, made a deal with him and we made a deal with Mantu and we used them to derail the thing.
“I will not go into details on how we derailed it, but, it was a full marshall plan to derail it that day and kill it and that was how we killed it,” Kalu said.