Dr. Emeka C. Kalu is native of Bende in Abia State. He is the Group chairman of Stercoll Group of companies with head office in Phoenix Arizona, USA. In this interview with Mazi Ibe Izuoma, Emeka expresses dissatisfaction in the conduct of the last senatorial election in Abia North, saying that it is a misdeed on the people of Abia North senatorial district.
As a native of Abia North, Bende to be precise, how would you rate the last Abia North senatorial election, though you weren’t in the country as at that time?
I wish words can express it. But I must tell you, that election has a semblance with the 2011 and 2015 elections. There is no difference in the drama. Don’t see it the other way round. It was a drama. There is no way that election would be explained to anyone without the fellow finding the lost tempo. Even if it was a movie, Hollywood wouldn’t let that movie fly because the tricks, I mean the graphic was poorly managed.
Do you mean that the election was not properly conducted as you rate it a drama?
In my opinion, INEC is yet to get it right in Abia North when it comes to that senatorial district election counting from 2011 to the precise. There is a reflection of the rift between the former governors, Orji Uzor Kalu and T. A. Orji, in the outcome of the elections. Going by what we all saw in the 2011 election, T. A. Orji while in power, summoned all arsenals within and outside his powers as governor of the state to ensure that PDP came tops in that election against his benefactor Orji Uzor Kalu. I respect it when a governor is protecting the interest of his political party in an election but what I frown against is when such is done illegitimately. Let me still bring your mind to the governorship runoff in Ekiti state. That election was a hot chase for the PDP. They went all miles to ensure that Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the PDP came out victorious in that election. PDP vowed to use all resources within their disposal to ensure their victory. In the end, they did. But it wasn’t long, the courts had to right the wrongs by returning power to whom it belongs, the candidate of the ACN. In the case of Abia North in 2011, how can there be an election in a democratic setting and there is the use of armored tanks and heavy presence of military in Abia North? Abia North is not in any war, communal clash or is there a spring up of insurgency in the area. So, why the Tanks? In 2015, if the court of appeal hadn’t reversed that election, I would have given up on the judicial process in Nigeria because that election was massively rigged.
Are you saying that INEC would have gotten it rightly if the elections had been going against the PDP?
Do not get me wrong. INEC would have gotten it right if they had done the right thing in the conduct of all the elections? Did they do the right thing in the 2015 elections? If they did, then the appeal court was wrong by reversing the election. INEC have been wrong and is still wrong in the last election. I don’t want to sound indecent or personal here but let me put it this way, who is more popular than Orji Uzor Kalu in Abia North, no, Abia State? I don’t want to mention the Igbos even when it was evident that during the conduct of the 2011 presidential election, he was the Igbo contestant with the highest votes. Ojukwu was there but he dusted him. So, take it from me that he is also more popular amongst the Igbo. That Mao Ohuabunwa, who I want to believe is not well known in his own community in Arochukwu, came tops in that election is nothing more than a mere robbery by the PDP in connivance with INEC.
Considering the margin of the victory, don’t you think that the outcome was okay as PDP should be more grounded and also the ruling party in the state against the PPA which has no seat or political office in the state.
You see, Nigeria has to overcome this political party sentimentality. What should be most cardinal is community development. We should be looking out for the right person, who has got the right mind to lead the people and the community aright. If you are saying, indirectly, that PDP is more popular in the state, let me ask you, was their candidate popular? If PPA is not popular, was the candidate popular? Izuoma, listen to me, interest should be given to the candidate and not the political party. Though, I was here in America when the election took place, but that does not mean that we don’t know how things work in Abia North. If you conduct that election with option A4, Kalu will have all the votes because no sane mind will come out to stand behind Mao. Even his kinsmen would publicly reject him or abscond the exercise. If you place both candidates as independent candidates, no doubts, Mao will run away along the line as he would stand alone. We read the news publications, we followed the local gist, we saw clips, and we saw everything coming from Abia North from here. PDP did less with regards to campaigning. That tells it more that they were waiting for the last hour rigging which they are known for.
If you say INEC got it wrong, Sir, is it when Kalu is declared winner that you would say they have gotten it right?
When INEC gets it right, you, and everyone will know. Declaring Kalu winner, as you said, sounds like INEC doing the wrong thing. They should let the votes of the people of Abia North count. You can’t punish the people of Abia North by denying them their choice candidate. Orji Uzor Kalu is their choice candidate. You know me, Izu, I put the people first and when one or a process is going against the wishes of the people, I stand up. The naughty things we witness in Abia state keeps people like us away from politics. Even to come around there is an issue.
Kalu has approached the tribunals…..
There is no better thing to do than that. Listen, if he is not the right person, I will say it; if Mao was I will still say it. I don’t mix sentiment with reality. Abia North needs good representation, I must tell you. Kalu has what it takes to represent Abia North. I am not saying it because he is a brother, far from it after all we don’t have that strong tie. I read when he mentioned the Arochukwu/Ohafia road, I wish the right thing was done, talks for that road would have commenced. I also learnt of the power project in Isukwuato, yes, he is one who does what he says, though he is a man, I believe he wouldn’t out rightly reject his promises.