Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has come under fire following his decision to withdraw from the 2023 presidential race.
The latest knock for Kalu comes from an elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark who labelled the Abia politician as a dishonest and insincere person.
Clark, the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) as well as of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has not hidden his support for the move for the 2023 presidency to return to the south.
He however sees the withdrawal of Kalu and his decision to back the presidential ambition of Senate President Ahmad Lawan who is from the Northeast as a betrayal of his own people.
Clark in a statement on Wednesday in which he reacted to the move, heavily criticised the step taken by the Abia North Senator.
He also disagreed with the submission of Kalu that the northeast just like the southeast has been denied the opportunity to produce Nigeria’s president in a civilian dispensation.
The PANDEF leader accused Kalu of turning against the Igbo people and the plans for a 2023 Igbo presidency because of his own selfish desires.
The statement by Clark titled, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is the betrayal of his Ethnicity, reads; “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, one of the oldest vocal frontline politicians in South East, who had earlier given the impression that he will die for the Igbo course despite his behavioural attitude, but I doubted his insincerity and transparency. I first heard of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, many years ago, when he was an active student of University of Maiduguri, in North East. I met him in person for the first time in Amassoma, the hometown of the late first civilian Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, when Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, as Governor of Abia State visited him.
“He drove round the known river in a luxurious riverboat on a sea side. We had pleasant discussions. I found in him a patriotic, courageous Nigerian who singularly attacked President Obasanjo on his corrupt practices, and stood by his charges when President Obasanjo threatened him with EFCC. Since then, we became very good friends, and he used to visit me in my house in Abuja.
“Sometimes, honouring me interviews as proprietor of Sun Newspapers. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was convicted by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday 5, December 2019 and sentenced to 12 years in prison for #7.65 billion fraud. He was convicted for defrauding the Government of Abia State where he was a Governor for 8 years using his company SLOK Nigeria Limited. On Friday, 8 may 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that his trial was wrongly conducted and released him from prison while ordering a retrial of the case out of Court.
“Today, the criminal charges of corruption for which EFCC charged him in Lagos High Court are still hanging on his head, even though, he got a temporary discharge by the Supreme Court judgement on his co-accused. Even though, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, was not a party to that Supreme Court judgement, the discharge of his co-accused also affected him. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, shamelessly ran back to the Senate after spending about six months in prison to assume a position as the Chief Whip of the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, because we are in the country where anything can happen.
“Recently, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, publicly announced to Nigerians that he will drop his Presidential ambition if the Presidential seat was not zoned to the South East. He even went to the extent of floating an organization known as Njiko Igbo Movement, whose purpose is to help secure the Presidential seat for a Nigerian citizen of Igbo extraction, Because an Igbo has only held the position of a Head of State for 6 months since Nigeria’s Independence. The Movement has branches and support groups throughout the Diaspora. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, launched the organization together with former Nigerian Senator, Emmanuel Onwe, a human rights advocate and lawyer, earlier based in United Kingdom.
“Unexpectedly, the same Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, did not only drop his ambition to contest the Presidential election, but also declaring his support for the Presidential ambition Distinguished Senator, Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State in North East on puerile and misinformed reasons that only South-East and North-East has not produced civilian Head of State in Nigeria.
To quote him from the Sun Newspapers of Tuesday, May 10, 2022, he said;
“In the absence of a South Easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North Easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness and Justice everyone is talking about. It further means that the justice is on its way to the South East”.
According to Clark, if Kalu had no ulterior motive, he would have waited for the APC to officially delare that it won’t zone the 2023 presidency to the south before announcing his move.
Even if Kalu were to withdraw from the race, Clark maintained that he could have supported other Igbo candidates who are still in the race rather than declare support for Lawan.
“This most dishonest and shameless statement from a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shows clearly that this is another Igbo man, who is out to betray his people simply for selfish reasons. Both the APC and the PDP has not officially decided against zoning of the Presidency to the Southern Nigeria. Why is Senator Kalu jumping the gun, if he has no ulterior motive,” the statement continues.
“There are many Igbos from the South East, who are in the Presidential race, particularly, in his political party, APC, that are available and willing to receive the support of their brother, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, but he is insincere and dishonest. Why is he supporting the North-Eastern Presidential aspirant against his fellow Igbo men from the South-East?
“It is a blatant lie and fraudulent for Senator Kalu to say that the North-East is the nearest to the South-East for States that have not produced the Head of State or the President of Nigeria. As a Senator, I expected him to know that Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, who was the Prime Minister of Nigeria between 1957 and 1966, was from Bauchi State in North East.
“In Parliamentary Government, which Nigeria was practicing until 1966, the Prime Minister was the Chief Executive of the Government and was equivalent to the post of Head of State or President from 1979. It is therefore not true that the North East of Nigeria has not presented or provided a Head of State or President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I call on the South East leaders to sanction any of their sons or daughters trying to betray them, otherwise, your case will be jeopardized from your home.”
The PANDEF leader scolded Kalu for openly going against the resolve of the entire southern region which cuts across the political divide for the 2023 presidency to be zoned to the south.
Not done, Clark also called out northern politicians who have been against zoning the 2023 presidency after they had benefited from the same arrangement in previous elections.
“Recently, the Southern 17 State Governors, consisting of APC and PDP, met in Asaba, Delta State headquarters, and Lagos, resolved that the next President of Nigeria in 2023 should come from the South in keeping with the conventionally agreed rotation for the Presidency between North and South. This decision which cut across party lines gladdened the hearts of all patriotic Southerners. This resolution did not only conform with the conventional practice by the two major political parties, the PDP, and which has actually provided for the rotation of the Presidency between the North and the South in the party’s Constitution in 2009, and which was adopted by APC in 2014.
“In 2014, when the newly formed APC held its first primary in Lagos, the Presidency was zoned to the North, and only Northerners including President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, from Adamawa State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, of Kano State, and Nda Isiah from Niger State contested the Presidential primary. Rochas Okorocha, was mainly participated in accordance with his usual ritual of participating in every election, and in this particular case, he scored no vote, because he was from the South.
“Both the Northern and Southern Delegates rejected him.
“Similarly, in 2018, in accordance with PDP Constitution, allowed only North to contest the Presidential election, and it is very shameful, fraudulent and disgraceful for eminent personalities like; former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, for arrogantly breaching the Constitution of PDP, posing as if they are indispensable. Once again, I appeal to them to understand my feelings having regards to the role I played as the leader of Southern and Middle-belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), leading to Presidential primary in Port Harcourt, the most peaceful, fair and credible primary election, conducted by the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, considered as one of the best Names of the eminent candidate, who contested the primary are; Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor of Kano State; Senate President David Mark; Senate President Bukola Saraki, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State; Sule Lamido former Governor of Jigawa State; Jonah Jang former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi former Governor of Kaduna State; Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) former Minister of Special Duties; Ibrahim Dankwambo former Governor of Gombe State; Attahiru Bafarawa former Governor of Sokoto State, Datti Baba-Ahmed, All Southerners cooperated with them in the primary and the Presidential elections.
“The Southern and Middle-belt Leaders Forum, led by me campaigned for Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, throughout the election period at our own expense because we did not reason any campaign money from the PDP and the Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We threatened the Government risking our lives. Even, during the trial in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, while the Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was cooling off in far away Dubai.
“Please, let your ambition be made or sterner stuff for Nigeria to survive as a united country, and as equal citizenship.“
This article was originally published on Nigeria News
Sanwo-Olu Woos Foreign Investors To Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu played the quintessential salesman on Monday, September 19th, 2022 reeling off his administration’s achievements in the past three years to woo investors to the state.
Sanwo-Olu met a group of would-be investors in New York on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at a roundtable organized by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) at Park Lane Hotel in the heart of the city.
He got an exciting response from the group of corporate giants who urged him to see himself as an ambassador of the private sector to the Federal Government.
With confidence, the Governor spoke of the major strides Lagos State has made in the past three years, despite COVID-19. He used the THEMES Agenda – the six-pillar development plan of his administration – as a guide.
According to the Governor, the state’s GDP has gone up by $5b to about $145,141b, budget has doubled to about %N1.7tr and infrastructural development has been tremendous. He cited landmark developments in transportation, the first pillar of THEMES, saying the Red Line and Blue Line rail projects were on track to be commissioned by the end of the year.
The rolling stocks for the Red Line, which his administration started, he said, are on the way to Lagos and work is going on as scheduled on the stations and the overpasses that will ensure a good transportation experience. There are about four other lines to be built for the state to be covered by rail so as to ease the pressure on roads.
Sanwo-Olu minced no words on the purpose of the meeting – to attract more investors to Lagos, which has 80 per cent of Foreign Direct Investments coming into Nigeria.
He spoke of opportunities in water transportation, saying from seven ferries, the state’s fleet has risen to 21, besides many others run by private operators. Investors can double the fleet, Sanwo-Olu said.
Many of the 15 jetties being built by the state are ready for commissioning, he added, stressing that the aim is to have an integrated urban transportation system, strengthened by a strategic road infrastructure, such as the Lekki-Epe Expressway and the Fourth Mainland Bridge, which has attracted many investors, among which one will be chosen before the end of the year.
The state, said the Governor, plans to build an Infectious Diseases Research Centre to tackle health challenges, such as COVID-19.
Over 1000 school projects have been completed and “we have introduced technology to make teaching and learning an exciting experience”.
“We are seeing the results. We used to have about 36% pass in School Certificate Examinations; now we have about 80%,” Sanwo-Olu said.
“We are opening brand new schools and introducing technology by giving teachers tablets to aid their job.”
He spoke about the 6,000 km fibre optic cable being laid around the state, saying the first phase of 3,000 km was almost completed. This, he said, will aid faster and cheaper internet connectivity, thereby boosting service in hospitals and schools, besides boosting the impressive activities of the youth in the tech ecosystem.
Sanwo-Olu described Lagos as the “entertainment capital of Africa”. He cited the recent Headies Awards in Atlanta and added that a Film Village was on the way. He mentioned opportunities in housing and assured would-be investors of “the sanctity of contracts”, with the state appointing new judges to aid smooth operations of the Judiciary.
On security, Sanwo-Olu described Lagos as “the safest state in Nigeria”. He said small businesses were being supported with grants, even as the youth and women are being encouraged.
It was, however, not all a matter of pass marks. The Governor spoke of challenges, such as refuse disposal, saying about 4000 metric tons were being generated daily. This, in his view, should attract investors, who are willing to turn waste to wealth – a path the state is willing to tread. There are also challenges in water, power and other sectors, which are awaiting investors, Mr Sanwo-Olu said.
The applause was loud as Sanwo-Olu ended his speech.
Replying, the Managing Director (Africa) of McLARTY Associates, Amb. (ret.) Terence P. McCulley, praised Sanwo-Olu for an insightful account of his administration’s policies and projects.
He said many “people who have returned from Lagos have spoken of how they no longer recognize the state because of the developments taking place there. He is of the view that the Governor has done well “because good governance is about providing services.”
Amb. McCulley said: “You can be the ambassador of the private sector to the Federal Government, providing an enabling environment for manufacturing, agriculture and technology, which are drivers of diversification.”
A participant spoke about the discovery of talents among Nigerian youths in the tech space. He said such talents were being lost to other countries because they could not be retained in Nigeria.
Sanwo-Olu said the government was doing so much to link young graduates to companies which train them to make them employable under its Graduate Internship Programme, which has absorbed thousands of youths. There are other programmes, he said, agreeing that a retention strategy for talents was necessary.
At the meeting were Stephen Jennings, founder and CEO of Rendeavour, the organisers, Country Head, Nigeria, Rendeavour, Eyong Ebai, CEO, Africa, GE Healthcare, Mr Patrick Santillo, Senior Vice President, BCIU, Mr Biodun Dabiri, Chairman, Lekki Worldwide Investment and many others.
With the Governor were Economic Planning and Budget Commissioner, Sam Egube, Energy and Mineral Resources Commissioner, Lere Odusote, Information and Strategy Commissioner, Gbenga Omotoso, Special Adviser on SDG and Investments, Mrs Solape Hammond, Special Adviser on Public Private Partnership, Ope George and Mrs Ibilola Kasumu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology.
JUST IN: ISWAP kills 11 farmers in Niger
At least 11 farmers – nine from Niger and two Nigerians – have been executed by insurgents of the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) in Diffa, Niger Republic.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Diffa region is close to the Lake Chad basin, a strategic area where the borders of four countries converge – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
The incident occurred on Tuesday around 6 p.m. when thirteen farmers were intercepted by the ISWAP terrorists while they were going to cut down trees. 11 of the farmers were shot dead, with two others lucky to escape.
ISWAP had before the deadly attack reportedly issued a warning to all local farmers and fishermen to vacate some of the islands in Marte, Abadam and some parts of Niger, accusing them of leaking information to security agents about their hideouts.
The slain farmers have been buried as many of them are Muslims.
The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.
JUST IN: “PDP now a northern party” – Fayose attacks Atiku
As the 2023 election draws near, Isaac Fayose, younger brother of Ayodele Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti State, on Wednesday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has become “a Northern party”.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Isaac stated that as against the campaign slogan that Atiku Abubakar, presidential flag-bearer of the PDP is a unifier, the former Vice-President is “a divider”.
“PDP is now a Northern party. If you see their campaign, they are campaigning to the Northern Christians.
“Atiku is a divider. The party is officially dead,” Isaac said in a video posted on his known Facebook page.
Isaac’s comments comes after Atiku on Wednesday afternoon said no party member can force the PDP’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign. Ayu hails from Benue State, in Nigeria’s north-central region.
This is coming hours after the crisis rocking the PDP deepened on Wednesday as Governor Nyesom Wike’s team, made up mainly of Southern political heavyweights, pulled out of Atiku’s campaign council. They promised to support Atiku only if a Southerner replaces Ayu.
The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.
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