Crisis Rocks Abia As Speaker Unsettles PDP With Orji Uzor Kalu

199 views | Akanimo Sampson | July 14, 2020

Former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu (1999-2007), currently the Senate Whip is at the centre of the emerging unease in the state wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Some PDP chieftains in the state are not comfortable with the political romance between the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chinedum Orji, and the senator. During a visit to Kalu, the young Orji, son of Theo A. Orji, a former governor of the state and a second-term senator, is alleged to have tagged Senator Kalu as the ‘’authentic leader’’ of the Eastern Nigeria state.

Uncomfortable with that labelling, some PDP chieftains and loyalists of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, want him to quit as the Speaker of the state. Before now, the political relationship between his father and Uzor Kalu has not been cordial. Kalu made him governor in 2007. Later, they became sworn political foes.

Since Kalu dumped the PDP and defected to All Progressives Congress (APC), a seemingly safe haven for his alleged massive corruption, Abia politics has been ore of T. A. Orji for PDP and Uzor Kalu for APC. The Speaker’s visit to his father’s political foe and labelling political is sparking a nasty kind of politics in the state ahead of 2023.

Some PDP stakeholders whose ego have been bruised say the action of the young Orji is unacceptable. One of those said to be calling for his resignation is the Deputy Chief of Staff to Deputy Governor Ude Okochukwu, Don Ubani.

In a text message to the Speaker on July 6, Ubani claimed that the number three man in the state committed a political sacrilege by visiting and calling Uzor Kalu the ‘authentic leader’ of Abia State.

“When it was reported not too long ago that Speaker Chinedum Orji visited a former governor of the state, Uzor Kalu and invited him to come and take over Abia as the ‘AUTHENTIC Leader’ of the state, I knew or felt he had crossed boundaries. I was not after his visit, after all, any person is at liberty to go back to Egypt, but after his reported invitation to Kalu of APC.

“As the Speaker of Abia Assembly, with PDP, the party I helped to convene in 1998 as the majority, my conclusion was and remains that Speaker Chinedum Orji had committed a political sacrilege. I, therefore, wrote him a message via my mobile handphone no 08035523360. I told him that having declared Kalu the ‘AUTHENTIC Leader’ of Abia, he had no political morality presiding over the PDP-controlled House. I asked him to resign. That is my stand as a 1998 convener of PDP in Abia,” Ubani said.

But the APC in the state is dismissing the PDP move as baseless, stressing that the Speaker has not contravened the law in any way to warrant pressing him to quit the office.

Also calling for Orji’s resignation is the Special Adviser to Governor Ikpeazu on Strategy/Communications, Eze Chikamnayo. He has asked the Speaker to immediately resign or be disgraced out of office.

“During a recent and well-publicised visit to the Abuja resident of Uzor Kalu, the Speaker was quoted as saying to OUK as follows: “…Forget about the political platform, there is a leadership vacuum in Abia State…you are the authentic leader, come back and lead us”

“This widely reported declaration was described by Sir Don Ubani as not only an act of gross anti-party activity but also a treacherous effort made deliberately to ridicule the office and person of Governor Ikpeazu who is the true and elected leader of both the PDP and the state.

“In his terse response, the Speaker, Orji, in his usual brazen show of arrogance, preferred to deploy some media elements of little or no memorial, otherwise known as e-rats, to attack the person of Ubani and impugn his character, instead of addressing the very weighty issues raised by the Deputy Chief of Staff.

“By treating Ubani’s concern with aloofness and disdain, Orji unwittingly ascribed to himself the demi-god status that I have always fought against since the inception of my political involvement in our dear State.

“Shockingly, up till this moment, there has been no repudiation, refutation, retraction or even explanation of those controversial statements credited to him by either Mr. Speaker or any of the litany of aides and internet backers under his payroll. This intransigence, which is the height of levity is the main reason for my intervention in this matter”, Chikamnayo says.

Chikamnayo, a former Information Commissioner, went on to give five reasons why the Speaker must resign, saying “in view of the foregoing, let me now state in very strong and unmistakable terms, the following reasons that form part of the basis, why Chinedum Orji, MUST immediately and honourably RESIGN AND RELINQUISH the office he holds in trust for this PDP government or otherwise faces an imminent disgrace from Abians, the sort that has never been witnessed before:

“1, between 2007 and 2011, Abia witnessed its lowest ebb in development. The governor then, Chief T.A Orji (Speaker’s father) had complained ceaselessly that the reason for that abysmal scenario was the overbearing demands of his benefactor and predecessor, Senator Orji Uzor-Kalu, his mother and siblings.

“Abians, from different walks of life, including my humble self, rose in solidarity with him. He assured us that he was on a divine mission to liberate the state, by breaking all bonds with Orji Uzor Kalu and members of his family. He said that the Kalus’ represented bondage and solemnly vowed that on liberation, he would NEVER go back to Egypt cum Kalu. We believed him.

“We fought openly on his side and by 2015, Chief Theodore Orji left office telling us that his greatest legacy was the LIBERATION of Abia from the stranglehold of Mamacracy and Orji Kalu. Now, for this same T.A Orji and his son, now Speaker, in a PDP led government, to sneak back by night to the same Uzor Kalu of the opposition APC, asking him to come over and usurp the leadership of the state, is the highest form of hypocrisy, duplicity, betrayal and chicanery ever witnessed in the history of this state.

“It is a blatant breach of the Constitution for anyone, no matter how highly placed to invite an unelected person to come over and take the leadership of a state with a subsisting elected governor. Politics aside, what exactly do these folks take Abians for? Why on earth didn’t the Speaker and his father shed their crocodile tears and invoke their suspicious magnanimity to Uzor Kalu throughout the whole eight years they held forth as governor?

“By approbating and reprobating at will, at the expense of the sensibilities and sacred trust of Abians, Theo Orji and his family have lost any semblance of integrity and thus, Ikuku lacks the character to speak for Abians and must RESIGN AND RELINQUISH THAT HALLOWED OFFICE FORTHWITH.

“2, the position of the Speaker of a House of Assembly is a unique position. A Speaker is not an alternate Governor and must at all times and in all circumstances, divest himself of any inclination that creates a bi-polar power equation in the polity.

“Unfortunately, before our very eyes, we have witnessed both the covert and overt actions, decisions and manipulations of this young man which clearly indicates that he is not willing to limit himself to the constitutional duties of his office but desires to cling perpetually to the levers of power.

“By willfully but surreptitiously creating an alternate power centre which inadvertently whittles down the respect, influence and control of the governor, there is the imminent risk of creating a condition capable of pitching Abians against the government and creating avoidable chaos and disunity.

“Therefore, Chinedum Orji must vacate the office of Speaker immediately as the needless polarity he is creating is an ill wind and a bad precedent unknown to any functional democratic setting.

“3, the timing of this controversial visit by the Speaker Orji to his erstwhile sworn enemy, Uzor Kalu is immoral, insensitive, abhorrent and a blatant and ruthless assault on the deep feelings of anybody and everybody that loves Governor Ikpeazu.

“Our governor’s battle against the deadly coronavirus is known to all and sundry. But while all Abians of goodwill were earnestly praying for his recovery, Orji chose to unleash untold psychological trauma on his family and all lovers of peace in Abia at such a moment of vulnerability and apprehension.

“There was no urgency to warrant that visit at that time nor was there any justification for such junketing, politicking and frolicking with Uzor Kalu while Governor Ikpeazu was battling for his life in the dark recesses of an isolation centre in the same Abuja.

“Given his record of intolerance for a dissenting opinion while he held sway as governor, Senator Theodore Orji, would have brought the heavens down on anyone remotely connected to his family if it is found that such a person have as much as greeted Uzor Kalu in the manner himself and his entire family have done in this unconscionable episode.

“Instead of Speaker Orji to be leading Abians in prayers for the governor’s recovery, he preferred to engage himself in such self-serving political gymnastics at such a solemn period. For acting in bad faith and ruthlessly severing the cord of concord, conviviality and good conscience, Mr Speaker MUST resign or face disgrace by all lovers of Governor Ikpeazu.

“4, the spiritual implication of that thoughtless gimmick of a visit by Speaker Orji is not lost on discerning Abians. We must carefully and soberly interrogate this issue and remain true to our conscience if the Abia society will move forward. Abians can still vividly recall the numerous prayers that led to our successful exodus from Mamacratic influence. For Orji, as Speaker to seek to officially take Abia back to the same person he called bondage is a spiritual anathema and calamity of untold proportions.

“Besides, many Abians were vilified and vanquished from office by Senator T.A. Orji and his son, Speaker Orji on the mere suspicion that they had any perceived relationship with Orji Uzor Kalu. The flourishing careers of several traditional rulers, permanent secretaries, directors and commissioners were violently truncated and or terminated in this drama.

“Even Abia North politicians who had cause to participate in political activities involving Orji Uzor Kalu were targeted and sidelined. Yet, this same family, without consulting or considering the millions of Abians they led to battle, singled out themselves while undertaking that vainglorious voyage to infamy.

“Thus, apart from resigning as Speaker, Orji and his family must publicly and openly apologize to Abians, after undertaking due restitution for leading them on a deceptive wild goose chase.

“From all indications, it is obvious that the alignment and realignment of forces for the 2023 political season is coming upon us too hastily. This rather unfortunate development is being orchestrated by those who at once claim to love the governor and yet would not step aside to allow him a peaceful conclusion of his elected tenure.

“The obvious romance of Speaker Orji with known APC elements in Abia is no longer hidden. It will smack of naivety on his part to also think that we do not know exactly what is going on. Our decision to remain silent all these while is in line with our principal’s commitment to peace and nothing more.

“Let it be known to all Abians and the general public, that we are neither fazed nor perturbed. Those holding clandestine meetings should stop wasting their time in hideouts. Governor Ikpeazu is currently busy with governance and by the grace of God his tenure will end well and strong on a resounding note.

“As far as I am concerned, Orji is simply being mean and manipulative. He believes that all Abians are mere pawns in his chessboard to be tossed up and down and shoved around at his behest and sadistic pleasure.

“This warped mentality and devious inclination is the reason that I am calling on him to resign as Speaker of the House. That is exactly the right thing to do in the present circumstance to avoid throwing Abia into another round of avoidable political upheaval.”

State Secretary of APC, Perfect Okorie, says the noise by the PDP is uncalled for, stressing that for any political office holder to be asked to resign or be impeached, that person must have contravened a section of the constitution.

“The call for the Speaker of Abia to resign is uncalled for and baseless; they should read the constitution. Before you call for the resignation of the governor or Speaker of the House, he must have committed an impeachable offence and non has been shown in this regard.

“I regard that as a baseless talk and the APC as a party founded on the principles of democracy, would never support the idea. The Speaker cannot be impeached or removed over a non-issue”, Okorie said, and described the recent visit by Abia Leaders of Thought to the Senate President as a welcomed development, since it was meant to bring development to the state.

While adding, “those who believed the political leadership in the state would remain divided should think twice as serious political change is coming to the state”, the APC scribe also said that members of other political parties who recently defected to his party will soon be given a rousing reception.

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