Former Abia State governor and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday faulted former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the ex- president lacks the moral right to criticise the incumbent.
He also said it would be unfair to the south -east, south-south and south-western parts of Nigeria not to support the second term bid of Buhari, given the benefit it holds in ensuring the return of power to the south in 2023.
Speaking in Lagos, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two ( MMA2), the former governor called on Buhari to speak up on the challenges of insecurity affecting the country , especially as it affects the attack of some sections of the country by Fulani herdsmen.
He said much as he does not agree with the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter, he would however consult first with the intelligence and international community before issuing an official response to the Obasanjo letter.
The APC chieftain however said the challenge of herdsmen/ farmers clash was lingering in some states because their governors lack capacity to handle the situation.
He said although the Buhari’s government may be slow in taking critical socio-economic and political decisions, it has nonetheless done well in stemming the high rate of corruption that was prevalent for the 16 years that PDP ruled Nigeria.
Kalu also alleged that the PDP plundered the NNPC and CBN at will , insisting that the APC would open the books to show the level of rot it inherited from PDP in 2015, at the appropriate time.
The ex-Abia governor said Buhari has recorded some achievements in his two and half years tenure, which necessitates his re- election. He listed some of the achievements to include the commencement of work on the second Niger Bridge, saying it is a big project that would benefit the people of the south- east and those of the south-south regions.
“ I am not going to talk about former President Obasanjo’s letter because I am going to make some consultations with the United States, Germany, China and the United Kingdom, then I will come back and speak on that letter. I think Obasanjo’s letter is not in the best interest of Nigeria,” Kalu declared.
On achievements of Buhari so far in office, Kalu further said “there are three express roads Obasanjo refused to build when he was the president of Nigeria. Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Umuahia, Enugu expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration.
“Another one is the Enugu, Awka, Onitsha expressway. It is being built now by the Buhari administration. Obasanjo did not build it. Then there is the Onitsha, Owerri and Aba expressway. The Buhari administration is building it now. Between Obasanjo and Buhari who should I call my friend in real terms? It is Buhari who is developing our region. With the roads, trailers loaded with manufactured goods in Aba will be able to travel to their various destinations from the city.
“ So Buhari is my friend; and he is a better President.”
Insisting that Obasanjo has no moral justification to criticise Buhari, Kalu further said “under the Obasanjo administration, $16 billion was spent on power plant but that money was wasted. Where we are now? Is it not at a privately owned domestic airport? Can you hear the sound of generator? The electricity in the facility is being powered by generator. Where is the $16 billion spent on electricity?
“It is just that governments are not serious. If the different tiers of government are serious they would address where the $16 billion meant for provision of power has gone. This should be addressed because people cannot be masquerading as innocent persons when they are the biggest thief. You come to government with N20000 and you become a multi billionaire. You own banks, you own industries and you carry our money and give it to people to be doing something and you go around talking like an angel. Before June this year I will write my own letter to President Buhari and that letter will be explosive.”
On Buhari’s fight against corruption, Kalu said “it is those who don’t know Buhari that will be saying that he is not fighting corruption. You know that I supported Buhari in 2003 even when I was a PDP governor. It is in my house that he used to stay at Igbere. So I know the man very well; it is just that he is slow. The man needs people like him around him who will whip him up into action every morning to do the things he is supposed to do.He is the leader that we need now. Buhari is the man that can put things in order.”
On the south-east position as far as 2019 is concerned, Kalu said “the four political parties in Igboland will endorse Buhari for President in 2019. All the parties include APC, PDP, APGA and PPA. They will all endorse Buhari for 2019.
“All of us are going to vote for Buhari in 2019 in the south- east and we are not going to compromise that. So Obasanjo can be writing his letter but we are going to vote for Buhari.”
On Buhari’s health, the ex- Abia governor said “you are not his doctor to determine his state of health. You remember in June last year some people confronted me when I said that Buhari would come back healthier. I was abused by even journalists but I stood my ground and said this is what I know about the man’s state of health.
“The man is ready and willing to do his job. In 2019 you will see a new Buhari. He will make things work. He is being careful to avoid the mistakes of the past government. We are going to energise him.
“I was not in APC before but I am there now and we are going to support him. The second coming of Buhari is going to be in the best interest of the south-west, the south- south and the south- east.”
On alleged marginalization of some sections of the country, Kalu said “the cabinet does not do the job. Under Jonathan’s administration the south- east was well represented but they did nothing for the zone. So it is better we don’t have such representatives and we have our roads and other projects done.”
On Buhari’s acceptance in the south-east, Kalu said “forget about hired crowd. My grandmother told me that when you wish to sew cloth you need to cut it first before you sew it. That is what Buhari has done. And from this 2018 you will see the economic gains. Mind you there was economic glut globally when he took over. Oil price went vdown and some people in government broke the Central Bank. If we open up what we know Nigerians will run away and we might open it up very soon because hiding this thing and the advice of the international community to hold it may no longer hold.
“The way these people looted Central Bank; they looted the place without receipt. People carried money without awarding any contract. This is what is affecting you and I.”
On the menace of Fulani’s herdsmen, Kalu said “We cannot allow Fulani herdsmen to continue to harass Nigerians. The governors in those states that Fulani herdsmen are killing people are weak. When I was a governor, no Fulani herdsman can come to Abia and harass Abia people.
If the governors put their foot down, nobody will kill anyone in their states. Every life is very important; every life is sacred. So we must be able to respect each other’s life. The federal government must find a way to address the issue.
“The herdsmen crises are not to be the benefit of anybody. President Buhari must stand up and address that issue. And if I have any opportunity I will advise him to put his foot down on the issue because the issue is delicate. Buhari is not a tribalist. When Jonathan was there he operated with south- east, south- west and south- south people. When Obasanjo was there he also ran with south- east, south- west and south- south people and all the northerners were driven away. When you have power you try to address the issues that make things happen.
“For me, the letter is irrelevant at this time of our life. Nigerians should not celebrate mediocrity. As far as I am concerned, people who did not do well when they had the chance should not be pointing fingers at others. One man cannot hold a country to ransom; one man cannot be the only one that is right. After all, this man did not build Abeokuta-Lagos expressway. The state of the road is in a mess. I cannot be a president and not build a road that leads to my house. That is indiscipline. “
On his take on the PDP, Kalu said “mind you, if PDP were a company I would hold 90 percent of it. There were only two people who brought real money to fund PDP, myself and Atiku Abubakar. This is a statement of fact. But later others hijacked the party from us. And when you are talking about who is right or wrong, Obasanjo missed a step to make this country great. He was busy pursuing enemies; instead of pursing development. This country could have been better when Obasanjo took over. But he missed the opportunity. He was so petty. And Lai Mohammed called Obasanjo a patriotic leader. How can you call Obasanjo a patriotic leader? “
On the move by Oby Ezekwesili and others to form a new party, ahead of 2019, Kalu said “anybody has the right to join APC. We don’t have to form alliance with anybody. The party is based on fairness, righteousness and if you want to join the party, you are free to join. We are not going to beg anybody to join. Those that are registering new party, it is their business. APC will always be APC.
“To me, you cannot use third force to run a democratic process. This means that majority of the people have not understood what democracy is all about. She is my in-law and I have good relationship with her. If she wants to run she should go and register a political party and face us. All these grammar you people are speaking is not the issue. If she feels she is popular enough she should register a political party and join us.
I want to say that Nigerians will be surprised on the popularity of Buhari and we are going to win. Nigerians have realised that they are being deceived. There are a lot of hate speeches in the social media. When I told people that these killer herdsmen came from abroad people insulted me. But intelligence has said it is true. Nobody can buy me. Buhari does not even have money to buy me. I speak the truth.
Whenever I have the opportunity I tell Buhari my mind. “