This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Why Orji Kalu Can't Return to PDP, Say Abia Gov, Elders

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Abia State National Assembly members and elders of the state Wednesday, stormed the National Secretariat of the PDP, to protest the alleged planned re-admittance of the former governor of the state, Chief Uzor Orji Kalu.

However, in what appears as a move to adhere to the delegation's call to stop Kalu's re-admittance plan, the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, told the Orji-led delegation that the people of state have spoken and that the party would hearken to the voice of the people.

But, one of the elders, who stormed the PDP National Secretariat told THISDAY that they were afraid of the former governor and his strength of mobilisation.

Reading the position paper of the PDP delegation, the National Vice-Chairman of PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu, who also hails from the state, said: "There is no one politician in the whole of Southeast who excites as much resentment as the former governor among the elite and ordinary people like Orji Uzor kalu."

According to the position paper, "the former governor carries credibility baggage, there are not a few Abians who accuse him of large scale squandering of their resources and the criminalisation of politics from which the state is only recovering.

In fact, the state government is seriously exploring the possibility of probing his administration to establish the truth of these allegations and to properly understand explained incidence of funds diversion/misappropriation during his tenure.

"His re admission would therefore significantly obstruct this objective and put the state government in an impossible ethical dilemma at this critical period in the political life of the party."

He alleged that the planned re-admittance of the former governor of Abia state to PDP will cause problem in the party structure, saying: "If Chief Kalu were allowed to return, he would do so with his loyalists in the PPA. Where and how will they be accommodated? If they attempt to dislodge the existing structures which are a product of a harmonized agreement among the major interest groups and prominent individuals in the state, a violent struggle for power will ensue."

He said that the elders are opposed to the planned return of Orji Kalu because he would use it to launch his presidential ambition, saying: "On the strength of our usually reliable intelligence gathered from his loyalists, his sole objective seeking to rejoin the party is to use its platform to pursue his presidential ambition. It is a ploy that would escalate tensions within the ranks of the party, he is not coming to build but to destabilise."

In his response, Tukur said: "It is very clear that the people have spoken. Democracy is all about people and choice. People are allowed to make their choice and speak their minds. Reconciliation is without confrontation."

Members of the state delegation include Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Dr. Onyema Ugochukwu, amongst others.

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