From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Ahead of Abia North rerun election, there is no contesting the fact that the candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is the man to beat. The image of the eminent business man and politician looms large and cuts across party lines, religious boundaries and ethnic beliefs.
It is little wonder he is being described as the heartbeat of the people of Abia North zone in the forth coming re-run election scheduled for March 5, 2016.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the Orji Uzor Kalu campaign organization, Chief Eze Chikamnayo, who stated the above yesterday in a Radio Nigeria Pacesetter FM Programme in Umuahia, said the former Governor has no rival in the forthcoming election.
According to him, stakeholders in the zone have unanimously adopted him as the preferred candidate even as respondents and callers on the programme called on the people of Abia North to vote Dr Kalu to give the zone its deserved place not only in Abia but also in Nigeria.
Speaking about his campaign train, the former Commissioner for information said that there is no nook and cranny of Abia North he has not personally visited during his campaign.
“As you will see, the love exhibited to him by the people, the people of Abia North really need the person of Dr Orji Uzor Kalu. He has visited Itu Mbauzo, Ugwueke, Alayi, Nneato, Acha in Isuikwuato, etc. We were in the market square, in the hall, in the villages, hamlet etc. I think that is how it is supposed to be. It is not about the candidate per say, it is about the people, how much they needed him because of how he has touched their lives at one time or the other.
Reacting on some comments made by non- Abia North citizens, Chikamnayo said: “the rerun election is an Abia North business, and I think all the candidates are doing their thing. I have heard some people who are not from Abia North trying to make this issue of the election their business, crying more than the bereaved, and being more catholic than the Pope. They should be aware that this election is an Abia North affair, not an Abia State election; everybody must know that.
“Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Abia State is a known figure, who has served Abia people in a higher capacity. As the former governor, he has the clout, the contact; he is experienced to get for our people what they want from the Senate. He is somebody that is capable of reaching out on behalf of his people.
“In other zones of the state, they are fielding their best candidates; is Abia North going to field their third eleven when our first eleven is available. The issue of a political party should not come into play here now; all we need to do is to rally round a man who will represent us for our common interest. For us in Abia North to move forward, we need the person of Orji Uzor Kalu.
“The candidacy of Orji Uzor Kalu cuts across party boundaries, both party leaders, traditional rulers, church leaders etc. “We met and decided that we should forget our differences and support him for what he is and what he stands for as the true son of Abia North Senatorial zone. I am not in the same party with him, but I am working for him, because we have common interest, so are many other people from other parties. It is not about him, it is about what he can do for the people of this zone at the senate. He has the clout, the contact, the experience, the exposure; it is not as if others who want to go to Abuja are not good enough; the point is that they are not good enough for the Senate.
“The quality of a man that we all find in Orji Uzor Kalu is the type that you will send there and go to sleep because you don’t need to push him around to get what we want”.
Chikamnayo said that the PPA candidate is the only person among the contestants that has gone to all the 98 ABSIEC wards in the zone, adding: “there is no part of Abia North that he has not visited. If you see the reception, conviviality, you will know that Chief Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is the man to beat. From Ututu, Acha, we were in markets, Churches, etc. Those opposing OUK are meddlesome interlopers. They are more catholic than the pope.”
He explained that all over the zone, the awareness is high and the people are excited that Dr Kalu is contesting. “As you leave this place, as soon as you move to Ubani Ibeku to Uzuakoli, you will know that the awareness is much.
According to him, “in law we talk of locus. We have the locus to present Orji Uzor as Abia North candidate for the Senate. Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is the former Governor of Abia State; he has foresight, he has clout, contact, experience that we need in the Senate. A senator who must deliver, he is a senator with clout, contact.”
Explaining further, he said that “Abia South has chosen its best candidate in Enyinnaya Abaribe just as Abia Central chose former Governor T. A Orji. Abia North stakeholders met in Ohafia and decided that we should do away with political label and go for the content of the wrap. We agreed that our best should be put forward. That was why his campaign is populated by people of different political parties. I am in APC but I am working for OUK. Traditional rulers, religious leaders met and decided to work for the common good of the Abia North.
“We don’t want people who will go to Abuja to answer names. Abia South has put their best foot forward. We are talking about issues, not sentiments or whims and caprices of people.”
Chikamnayo said that as opportunity must meet preparation, the campaign team of Dr Kalu has gone through the nooks and cranny of Abia North. “Now, Abia North is ravaged by erosion menace. The whole of Abia North even travelling from Ututu to Ohafia is like traveling to the end of the world.
“We need somebody who will go to the Senate and tell the people, this is what we need. Sombody was in the House of Representatives for eight years and could not do the road that passes through his community. He should tell us what he did that Arochukwu and Ohafia cannot go to their communities by road.
“ For somebody to go to House of Reps and wants to go to the Senate, he must tell us what he did in Reps. Pius Anyim was in the Senate only once and he brought Julius Berger to build their road. Ike Ekweremadu, go and see what he has done for his people. Those opposed to OUK must know that whatever wrong he has done, there are others who have done worst things.”
He described the reception in the campaign as contagious saying that some people have canonized OUK. His words: “OUK gave free education; OUK built the only road in LERU, Lomnara and Nneato. If you go there and say OUK will not go to the Senate, they will kill you. To the people of Abia North, OUK still remains the best.”
Responding to question on how to ensure that the election is not manipulated, he said that transition chairmen who are used as job men will not be able to do the work this time around because “the fuse for the rigging machine will be removed.”
He added: “ The problem we have in this country is governance emergence process. I know the character of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. I don’t believe that he will work against the wishes of the people of Abia North”, he emphasized.