Kalu-and-Obasanjo- Punch

“I was also the first to give Obasanjo N100m to campaign during the 1999 election.” – Orji Uzor Kalu

Astonishing revelations are always the stuff of politics. This one is in that category.

He was Abia Governor from 1999 to 2007, an outspoken politician, a self-acclaimed business mogul, he even considers himself a political philosopher. He needs no introduction. He is Orji Uzor Kalu.

He was Head of State from 1976 to 1979 and President under a democratic government from 1999 to 2007. He is brash, he is not shy, he is also a business titan. Matter of fact, according to Africapedia, he is one of Africa’s richest men. He is perfectly fine without introductions, he is Olusegun Obasanjo.

Why the long ‘introductions’? Well, because Orji Kalu said that he gave N100m to Obasanjo for his presidential campaign in 1999. Equally earth shattering was the revelation that he gave another N100m to the Peoples Democratic Party prior to the 1999 elections.

The former governor made the dramatic disclosures as ‘Guest of the Week’ on a Kaduna-based Liberty FM radio programme on Saturday.

In his swashbuckling manner, Kalu said, “I made millions before joining politics. I was doing business between Maiduguri and the East. I carried fish from Maiduguri to the East and palm oil from the East to Maiduguri. So, I had money and invested so much in the PDP.

“If the party is a company, I would have been a major shareholder. I and (Saminu) Turaki spent more on the party than any other Nigerian. How much did (President Goodluck) Jonathan have before he became the President? I was the first to give the party N100m to register. I was also the first to give Obasanjo N100m to campaign during the 1999 election.”

So why is the “major shareholder” not best buddies with the former President? Kalu blames it on that issue that refuses to go away.

“I fell apart with Obasanjo on the issue of the third term bid. He wanted to be a life President. A huge amount of money was involved in the project. Two senators from my state came with the money and I asked them to return it.

Another potential earthquake from this interview. Conventional wisdom has it that the National Assembly frustrated Obasanjo’s push for a third term. Nonsense says Kalu.

“It was then American President George Bush who genuinely derailed the third term agenda. I told Bush about it and that is why Obasanjo hates me. Bush told him that it was not possible.”

On 2015, Kalu has some very strong views – and they include him in the picture.

“People should stop imposing the President on Nigerians. Let the people chose their President.

“Igbo are going to vote for Igbo in 2015. Jonathan has the constitutional right to run but he is not Igbo. I am not saying I’m running for President now but there are possibilities. Northerners should support us for the presidency in 2015 because we supported (Shehu) Shagari, (Umaru) Yar’Adau, (Yakubu) Gowon and Tafawa Balewa,” Kalu added.

On the state of emergency, Kalu said the declaration was nothing but a movement of troops from one place to another.

“Jonathan is not that wicked to be playing politics with human life. Let’s remove politics or 2015 from this thing.”

The Obasanjo camp did not wait long to respond, media assistant, Vitalis Ortese saying that the former President would not join issues with “Kalu who has a credibility and integrity deficit.”

“This is a man who is known to have stuffed paper as money in a bag and donated it at a public function in Maiduguri.

“He is only trying to cover his lack of credibility by seeking to join issues with someone who clearly is not in his level or class.”

[Photo H/T: Punch]

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