When I read that the National Leader of APC and former Lagos state governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu paid a visit to the Abuja home of Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, the former governor of Abia state, I reflected on so many things.
Tinubu and Orji Kalu were elected governors in 1999. While Tinubu held sway in Lagos, Orji Kalu was in charge of Abia. They were governors between 1999-2007. Both had one thing in common – they were not friends to the then brutal President Obasanjo.
Due to frustrations from the presidency, Tinubu left Alliance for Democracy, AD and formed Action Congress, AC and later Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Orji Kalu left PDP and founded Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA.
In 2007, after serving their two tenures, it was time to leave power and both governors picked their successors. Tinubu backed Tunde Fashola in Lagos while Kalu picked T. A Orji.
While Tinubu was taking Fashola to campaigns in Lagos, T. A Orji was in prison under EFCC trial. He never attended campaign for one day. Orji Uzo Kalu did everything humanly possible to deliver him from prison. He won the election and was released few days to the inauguration ceremony.
In Lagos, Fashola was a performing governor. And despite his excellence in governance, he never disregarded Tinubu. But in Abia state, T. A Orji became a total failure. He was busy fighting Orji Kalu and looting the state. T.A used 50% of “ego Abia” to fight Orji Kalu and looted the rest. Fashola allowed Tinubu to lead the political front while he manned the administration.
Tinubu and Orji Kalu suffered the same level of persecution from Obasanjo’s govt. Today, both are still politically strong. As a matter of fact, Orji Kalu’s PPA won Abia and Imo states in 2007. But both governors’ of Abia, T. A Orji and Imo, Ikedi Ohakim betrayed Kalu and destroyed PPA. While Fashola helped ACN with Lagos resources to takeover southwest.
Presently, Orji Kalu is the richest igboman, a serving senator and chief Whip of the Senate. He has all it takes to lead Nigeria in 2023.
The visit by Asiwaju is a welcome development. 2023 is the turn of Ndigbo, Tinubu should support Kalu to pick APC ticket.
Southwest had Obasanjo as President for 8 years. Prof Osibanjo is also there as VP for 8 years. It is morally wrong for southwest to insist on 2023.
Tinubu and Kalu are two great Democrats who have paid prices for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. I will be pleased to see both work together in 2023 – preferably, let Asiwaju support Kalu as both are powerful enough to wrestle power from the north.
It is Igbo Presidency, 2023.