Treasures And Taints Of Nigerian Politicians By Odimegwu Onwumere

Our country is a place where speculations abound so much, especially in the political pitch. Hardly do traducers verify issues against their opponents, before using their smearing arrow and sell their ugly catch to the public to buy. Nonetheless, this allusion can be said is due to perceived distrusts Nigerians have suffered in the hands of some politicians they had held so dear to their hearts. For this reason, they characterise any person who has held any political position in the country as corrupt. This is the external circumstances of the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, in the hands of disbelievers. Till a fortnight in an interview, which was well carried by the media, he opened the Pandora’s Box. It is hoped that his remarks in that interview would send traducers back to the drawing board and look elsewhere. If there was any corrupt person they were looking for, then that person is presumably not Kalu.

As we all knew, Kalu was a founding member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) before he pitched tent with another political party. Since he left that party, where he was looking for a soft ground to continue with his crusade against injustice, machineries that were mobilized within the PDP against him used the opportunity to bounce on him. They tagged certain Kangaroo charges in the EFCC, of misappropriation of fund while in office, against him. But Kalu has betted Nigerians that at last they would know who was actually corrupt.

His outbursts that he would fight corruption to a standstill and expose all the fraudulent politicians, possibly using the intercontinental anti-graft agencies to arrive at his objective, showed that he had nothing to hide. Who can challenge this? Rather, he has come out to aid in unraveling the real looters and their agents, whom he has always said are allowed to walk the streets a free people.

Warning that all those politicians who were very poor when they formed the PDP, but are now greatly wealthy should tabulate the source of their wealth, the irony of the whole thing is that many Nigerians who do not trace from the genesis of an issue before labeling someone corrupt, will understand better the person of Kalu very soon. You do not take a man’s quietness for cowardice. Many unprintable things have been said and written against Kalu in the media by certain political demagogues. So, are they still going to say anything now that he seemed to have bounced back from his self-imposed distance from active politicking with one in century information of the direction Nigerians should go and look for the alleged looted extravaganza of 1999-2007?

What many Nigerians refused to acknowledge before disrespecting the personality of Kalu is the fact that he did not climb to his present standing through politics. It can be said that Kalu’s venturing into the Nigerian politics and won in elections really set him back as a businessman he has been, before he was 26 years of age. Politics nearly distracted him from being the focused business person he has been, but he was stoical, in contributing to his own part of the national building.

It is evident that some of the wealthy politicians calling Kalu names today barely had $100 when the PDP was formed in 1998. One person was ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. He perhaps thought it one of his comic reliefs that were supposed to be meant for his animals at his Ottah farm, and he made it known to the public that he came into politics in 1998 with N20, 000. But today, Nigerians are hardly asking Obasanjo where he got his billions of naira investments that span across the globe from?

No matter what some (Obasanjo loyalists) are saying against Kalu, Kalu is one man who hates lies to a fault, and is not known for telling lies. He said: “You cannot be calling people thieves when the real thieves are walking free on the streets of Nigeria. It is not fair to me in particular because I know that at the formation of PDP I contributed N500 million in 1998 and I don’t know how many of them that own N500 million in 1998. But today I am a thief. I also contributed almost $1 million to Obasanjo’s campaign in 1998, when nobody had no penny to give. Why I am a thief today is what I don’t understand”.

Can any of the politicians contest this? It is really unfortunate that biased Nigerians preferred Obasanjo who is known for his rhetoric instead of totally joining the crowd that loves Kalu, because he is real. It was on this basis that Kalu distanced self from Obasanjo, because he (Obasanjo) has never been serious in the leadership of Nigeria, and Kalu was clairvoyant and circumspect enough. Can you recall Obasanjo’s tantrums when he was military Head of State? They are not better said here even though history has them.

Who said that Orji Uzor Kalu Is Corrupt? When would biased Nigerians be realistic with facts and not fictions? Even to the blind and deaf, he or she cannot believe the news that Kalu is corrupt. The person would take it as a beer parlor discourse. This is owing to the nature of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. This is a man who turned N5, 000 that he raised from his mother and started trading on palm oil culminating to the conglomerates that are  jealoused by detractors today and they label him. Rubbish!

Where were they when he was risking his life on the road to the North, selling palm oil and later combined that with the selling of quality furniture, he was sourcing from the East and was reselling in the North? Where were the today’s haters of Kalu when he was scorched by the highly concentration of sun in Maiduguri? Notwithstanding, Kalu is not disturbed by such distractions from certain quarters that he misused Abia State fund, because he is ever ready not cut short to justice, which is evident in history as a university student.

And he testifies: “All of us in the students’ union leadership collectively agreed to embark on the demonstration against the university authorities. When the crises went out of control, the university senate decided to rusticate all of us. Some students went to court to contest the rustication, but I preferred to start trading while waiting for general reprieve for everybody. But in a classical divide-and-rule tactics, the authorities decided to pardon some of us who didn’t go to court and left out some of the others. This was unacceptable to me because it smacked of betrayal of the colleagues in the students’ leadership if I accepted the offer. So, I rejected the pardon on principle.”

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from  Rivers State. Email: [email protected]