“He was governor for all of us, Abians. He was never partial. He has changed the face of Abia North as we speak.”
Okey Sampson, Aba
Hon. Maduka Okoro is the media aide, South-East to Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and also the executive director of Reality Organization (Worldwide), a non-governmental organization with headquarters in Abia State.
In this interview, he spoke about what his principal has done for his people even when he is not in government, his optimism that Kalu will win the Abia North Senatorial zone seat in 2019 and more.
You are the Executive Director of Reality Organization; it seems the steam in that NGO has been taken away?
The current Reality Organization now is a new steam. We are a major force. Although it is a non-governmental organization, but it’s now a structure that is the focal point for any political entity in Abia State and Nigeria. What I did when I was appointed was to bring out new focus, a new order, to make sure that Reality Organization takes its rightful stand in the polity of Nigeria. I took out some analogue methods of doing things and replaced them with the needed digital methods. Reality is a non- governmental organization that has touched and is still touching the lives of so many people. It is the oldest non-governmental structure still standing after its establishment by Elder (Mrs) Eunice Uzor Kalu.
Some people said Kalu made a mistake in joining APC, are they right?
No, I think it is the best decision that he did so. What Dr Orji Uzor Kalu did was to add life to a moribund political party then here. If Kalu has not joined APC, I don’t think the party will be where it is today. He has made people to understand that APC is the party to beat; a party that understands the plight of Nigerians. Kalu is so gifted that anything he touches turns to gold and APC in Abia and South-East is a huge example. Since he joined, those who are not members of APC are panicking because the party is growing from strength to strength. We all saw what he did in Ekiti. He is a man loved across boundaries and commands influence beyond understanding.
Kalu is known to have done things that have lifted his people, is the flame still burning?
Orji Uzor Kalu is doing what nobody who is not a sitting governor can do. Not just being a philanthropist, but also attracts good things for the people from the government even when he holds no political position. He is attracting federal projects as an individual. Ubani Ibeku road was a dead trap before, but today, go there and see for yourself. He has attracted many NDDC projects into Abia State. I want to give you example: Umuahia-Ubani Ibeku Road, Ubani Ibeku to Uzuakoli Road, Ozuitem-Uzuakoli Road, Ugwueke, Alayi, Nkpa roads and even Arochukwu. Most people don’t know that Kalu is instrumental in changing the face of roads in Arochukwu. Go to Abiriba and even Amaeke in Item, you will see his footprint as an ordinary individual. When he was governor, he never said or behaved as governor for Bende people or Abia North. He was governor for all of us, Abians. He was never partial. He has changed the face of Abia North as we speak. One can now drive from Umuahia to Uzuakoli and Ozuitem to Ohafia with your eyes closed. Very soon, the same will be for Ohafia to Arochukwu Road. The roads are very smooth and last Christmas people were very happy. He has a natural touch on this and that is why the man is loved by many. Even the road leading from Ohafia to Arochukwu is still one among many he attracted. Let me tell you this, the factory that Orji is about to set up in Ugwueke will be the biggest Agricultural farm in Africa. People talk about Otta-Farm, they aren’t seen anything yet. The best is yet to come and Orji will make it happen here.
In what way has Orji Kalu Foundation touched the lives of people?
We have a programme called Petty-Traders Loan Scheme. We affect the lives of those people by giving them interest-free loans in all the senatorial zones of the state. We have been touching peoples’ lives. We are through with Abia North, soon we’ll enter Abia South, then down to Abia Central. This has never happened before. Some of those people don’t even know him by face, but he has touched their lives. Every petty trader will benefit from this scheme. Apart from that, the Foundation is giving scholarship to different indigent students in several universities. The downtrodden are happy with him. He has a big heart. That is why you see that Orji is the only politician that can walk the streets of Abia by 12 midnight or even any time without security and people will hail him and greet him on sight. Among all sitting, past and those aiming to be political leaders in Abia, none of them can boast to have done half of what Orji Uzor Kalu has done and is still doing.
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You sound very optimistic about Kalu winning the Abia North Senatorial zone, has he what it takes to do that?
Of course, he has more than what it takes to do that. I don’t want to go into the election of 2015 because everyone knows that Kalu won that election. It is actually well said in this our part that God’s time is the best and from the look of things, I think the wish of many indigent people and poor ones who are praying morning and night for him is for him to win the election, such prayers are easily answered by God. I think God’s time has come. He has made money through his sweat and blood. His presence in the red chambers will change Abia and South-East for the better. We have different options we can use and change people’s lives when he gets to the Senate. We have option A-C and all are for the good of the people. God is with him and the people of Abia North know that he is a worthy son. I urge them to get their PVCs ready and make a huge change in their political history. Any vote given to Kalu is for the betterment of both living and unborn generations in Abia North. Take political party aside, you will see how even people in PDP, APGA and the SDP still show love to that great son of Abia. The name is a great one and the platform is APC. APC will win a lot here. Most Igbo do not know politics; in 2015, many of the Igbo didn’t vote for Buhari, but he won. In 2019, a lot of people have joined APC someone somewhere is thinking that they will not win, that is funny. As people are defecting from APC, many others with bigger names elsewhere are joining. In fact, APC has made politics in Nigeria very unique. A lot of people in PDP and APGA will follow APC here in Abia. Even some commissioners in the present government will vote for APC and will vote Kalu because most of them need help and they’re hungry. They are serving a government that has zero care for their own welfare. They need liberation. That is why Kalu remains an enigma. More than 90 percent of people holding political positions today in Abia were made by Kalu. Let any of them come out and deny it. Somebody will shock Abians when he will come out to tell all of us that he is not going to retain his position. He will do that because he is a good man and because he loves Abia. He will shock everyone who is far from things when he will make the big announcement. You just wait for the announcement. At the National level, I know APC will surely do well here. When Jonathan was there, he told us his name was Ebele Azikiwe just to get our votes. He went there and forgot what he was sent to do. He was not able to take care of the plight of Ndigbo. What happened is that Buhari has come and he is touching lives. He gave the Igbo good ministerial positions, our federal roads are better, look at N-Power, look at the Second Niger Bridge, did Jonathan touch it? School feeding that Abia government is talking about is being done by Buhari because Abia was used as a model state. See, when the time comes we shall open up more to Ndigbo to see the reality of what Buhari is doing here.
How does it feel serving Kalu who your brother, Dr Eme Okoro, sees as his political enemy?
I and my brother are two different persons. Even though we came from the same womb of my mother who is 104 years old now, I want to let you know that it is Kalu that made Dr Eme Okoro when he became programme manager, Abia ADP. Without Kalu, my brother wouldn’t have been who he is today. I have followed Kalu for many years as Nwa-Aba before I travelled to the United States of America. I just love him, but I am not loyal to him. I have passed the stage of saying I am loyal to him. I just love the man. Orji is a kind man who made many persons very useful to their families today. Even when I was in the other administration, I have always been a part of Kalu. Any day I speak bad about Kalu, God will not forgive me. Dr Okoro my brother who is the SSG to the so-called Abia State government is a soil scientist. He belongs to the academic community. I am a political scientist and I belong to a public community. I understand the intricacies of governance and government, which he doesn’t know. I am closer to the people and that is why any time elections are held in Bende LGA, I have always defeated him and I will keep defeating him until he travels to US to go there and retire and take care of his beloved wife and children.