Kalu’s confirmation as candidate of APC for Abia North senatorial zone was of interest to many. He was able to be reconfirmed directly by the electorate.
Okey Sampson, Aba
Dr. Madukwe Ukaegbu was former deputy Chief of Staff, Abia State. He served in the administration of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. He also served Chief T.A Orji, who was elected in 2007, but resigned in 2010, due to some political difference them.
He speaks about the chances of the former governor of Abia State, Kalu, in the Abia North senatorial race in 2019.
What is your take on the APC primaries in Abia that confirmed Kalu as the senatorial candidate for Abia North?
Yes, Kalu’s confirmation as the candidate of APC for Abia North senatorial zone was of interest to many in the state. Although no other person challenged him, but he was able to be reconfirmed directly by the electorate.
Kalu had contested the election twice or thrice but was not successful, are you optimistic he is going to make it this time around?
When you use the word was not successful, I sincerely disagree with you. Not that he didn’t make it or was not successful, but he was rigged out. You know the political machinery in Abia State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rigged him out because I was privileged to be his Chief Returning Officer both in the main election and in the rerun election. Even though I don’t want to get into what happened in those previous elections, but like I said, I take an exception to him doing it three times and losing that is not what happened. Of course the record is there in INEC as to what happened and of course this thing has been tried in the public domain, but let me not go to comment on it. All I know is that Kalu has always done well in those elections but the political forces that are within Abia State and outside of Abia State have been the problem for him. But I’m sure this time, he is going to overcome.
How are you sure that those things that played out before will not be there in 2019 against him?
What usually played out that time was that the level playing field which everybody including Kalu himself expected was not provided but I’m sure this time around, the level playing field will be provided because as you know, President Muhammadu Buhari said he is going to allow everybody have a level playing field and since the inception of his administration he has been doing that. We are hoping that with that commitment from the president, Kalu, based on his tenacity and his acceptance in Abia North is going to be the next senator to represent the zone.
What do you think Kalu is going to bring to bear on the senatorial zone if elected?
Of course you know when he was on the saddle here as governor he was nicknamed action governor by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. It is that same action that he is going to bring to bear in the senate and more. He has a very wide reach, he is a detribalised Nigerian, he is going to be getting the contacts that most senators may not be able to get because of the person that he is. Kalu is a rare gem, so, as far as we are concerned, if he sits in the hallowed chamber of the of the national assembly, he is going to attract not only what is coming from the legislative arm of government, but what is coming from the executive and he is also going to make sure that whatever the zone and Abia State in its entirety should get, they will be able to get because he is a young man that is of good influence and we don’t expect him not to make good returns as we say in politics.
He is not a senator now, but he has already started attracting some largess from the federal government
to his people. As you are aware, last year, it was very difficult to travel from Umuahia to Uzuakoli or even thinking of going to Ohafia in the Abia North zone; the terrain was so terrible and through his personal efforts, he was able to bring to bear NDDC who now at least have done some repair work on that road. He also did from Uzuakoli to Ozuitem, he has also done from Igbere to Ohafia; there is a ring road he completed in Abiriba. Work has started on the Igbere/Umuhu Ezechi and Uzuakoli/Ogboko Ozuitem roads. So, if as someone who is not sitting at the hallowed chamber of the senate can do this, then you can imagine when he gets to the hallowed chambers of the senate what will happen.
Oil magnet, Uche Ogah has been elected APC governorship candidate for the state, are you comfortable with his candidature?
Absolutely; Abians spoke across the 17 local governments. It was not only Abia North that did the election. Ukwa people agreed, Aba North/Aba South; Isiala Ngwa North/South, Arocukwu, Bende, in fact all the 17 local governments were able to say Uche Ogah, so, who am I not to support them?
Ogah is reported to have chosen the former Speaker of Abia House of Assembly, Martins Azubuike as his running mate, do you see that as a good pairing?
Of course it is when it is ratified. I don’t want to talk about that now, but if it will be ratified, that team will be formidable. If Azubuike becomes the running mate as he has been nominated and everything falls into place, I think it will be the best thing that ever happened to that zone because as far as I know in the history of Abia State I don’t think that anybody from the head of Ngwa which is Isiala Ngwa has ever been made a deputy governor. I think, historically, it is a precedent that is being set at this time for the core Ngwa man from Isiala Ngwa to be picked as a running mate. It is a choice that Ukwa people will also like and support. And I must repeat that APC’s choice of Ogah is the best thing that happened to Abia politics in recent times.