Only Bad Health Can Stop Buhari in 2019 – Kalu

A former Abia state Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has said ill health can hinder President Muhammadu Buhari from seeking a second term in 2019.

Kalu who spoke with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Sunday night said the President is prepared for the challenges ahead of him..

He said, “Buhari is a honest man and will tell Nigerians at the right time whether he will seek re- election or not. We pray that his health gets better and that his doctors give him a clean bill of health’’.

“You know Buhari is also a man of conscience , if he feels his health will not allow him to seek re- election he will not go ahead. But, if he feels he capable of running he will seek re- election. It his right, he is entitled to second term. Even, people that failed in their class can also repeat in either elementary or secondary school.

Buhari is working. The Second Niger Bridge for instance is being constructed, so you see that though things are difficult, but it could be better.”

Kalu said though people of the South East, had been cheated in many ways, but the Buhari administration would provide a window for new a beginning for the Igbo.

He said, “The problem with Nigeria is inability to build national cohesion, by all stakeholders. We are still talking about tribe where people come from, what people think about their religion .

“We need to impress it on all Nigerians that we need a country where all stakeholders feel a sense of belonging.

Not minding where they come from or where they live, they should feel at home whether in Ogbomosho, Lagos, Ibadan, Sokoto , Enugu, they should feel at home. The earlier we have that sense of belonging the better for all of us.”

Kalu said it would be the right thing to do to allow the South East take a shot at the presidency in 2023.

“It is the right thing to do, Nigeria is built on a tripod, when you allow the South East to have the Presidency by 2023, that will be the end of the civil war,” he said.

Speaking on the statement credited to Alhaji Junaid Mohammed that the elite in the North would not support Buhari’s bid for second term, Kalu said there was nothing to worry about elite conspiracy, as Buhari would get the support of the masses .

He said, “If the elite refuse to support Buhari, the masses will support Buhari . The elite are few in number, the people that will support Buhari are the masses , who sincerely believe in Buhari.

“They are people who not know any other thing other than Buhari. By my assumption, if President Buhari had 12.5 million supporters in the last general election, there is an additional 10 million supporters in the bank. That is what we call reserve, it is still there.”

Kalu also called on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to accelerate his efforts at reconciling aggrieved members of the ruling party.

Tinubu Capable Of Reconciling APC – Kalu

Former Abia governor, Dr. Orji Kalu has called on the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to accelerate efforts toward reconciling aggrieved members of the ruling party.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kalu made the call on Sunday night while speaking with newsmen at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.

He said the task given by President Muhammadu Buhari to Tinubu was very apt because there was an urgent need to reconcile feuding members of the party.

According to him, the situation whereby a serving governor and a minister who belong to APC are engaged in bickering at a time concerted efforts are needed to return the party to victory in 2019 is not good.

Kalu said, “I have reported this to the highest authority of the party that it is not proper for a governor and minister in Ibadan to go two parallel ways.

“It is not to the benefit of the president and neither is it to the benefit of the party, it is not the benefit of Nigerians; the synergy needed to accelerate cohesion in the ruling party will not be there.

“We need to thank Mr. President for his wisdom in giving the mandate to the national leader of APC the opportunity to reconcile members of the party.

“I am very excited that such a thing is happening. I am confident it will be a good beginning for my brother and friend, Tinubu to execute the reconciliation task very well.

“I am confident Tinubu will be blunt to settle feuding members of the APC.”

He noted that Buhari had the constitutional right to seek for re-election, adding that the only reason the president might not run in 2019 would be solely on health grounds.

According to him, Buhari is an honest man and will let Nigerians know whether he will contest or not at the appropriate time.

“Buhari is an honest man. If he is interested in running, he will tell Nigerians that he will run. We pray that his health gets better and that his doctors give him a clean bill of health.

“You know Buhari is also a man of conscience; if he feels his health will not allow him to seek re-election he will not go ahead, but if he feels he is capable of running, he will seek re-election.

“It is his decision, it his right, he is entitled to the second term,” he said.


Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-Abia Governor, Orji Kalu

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to January 22 and 23rd.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the proceedings after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to produce one of its major witnesses in court.

The former governor is being tried on a 34 count charge alongside one of his aides, Udeh Udeogu and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N2.9bn from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

They have however pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed proceedings of the case today, January 16, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told Justice Idris that the witness in question, one M.A. Udoh had been evasive, and the anti-graft agency was having difficulty bringing him to court.

He urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to locate and bring the witness, a retired employee of the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, to court to testify.

The defence counsel promptly opposed the move for an adjournment, describing it as frivolous.

They expressed disappointment at the EFCC’s request for an adjournment and indicated their readiness to continue. They also told the court that most of them had flown to Lagos from Abuja just to ensure that there was no further delay in the case that had lasted for over 10 years.

The defence then urged the court to either foreclose the prosecution’s case or in the alternative order the EFCC to bear the cost of their transportation and hotel accommodation.

But the EFCC prosecutor countered by reminding the court that the case was delayed for over 10 years at the instance of the defendants who pursued an interlocutory appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Idris described the development as unfortunate.

He noted that the case had been adjourned on four different occasions at the request of the prosecution.

Though he conceded to an adjournment, the judge warned that it would be the last of its kind.

He then fixed further proceedings for January 22 and 23rd.

Kalu’s Trial Adjourned Until April 12

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday adjourned until April 12 for the continuation of the trial of a former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, charged with N3.2 billion fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Oct. 31, 2016, had slammed a 34-count charge bordering on fraud against Kalu and his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo.

Also joined in the suit is Kalu’s company — Slok Nig. Ltd.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had re-examined a second prosecution witness, Mrs Christiana Ohiri, branch Manager of UBA in Umuahia.

The witness, who had begun her evidence in March during re-examination, said that she did not personally meet all the people who carried out transactions with the 36 bank drafts issued by her bank.

She told the court that no payments were made to the accused from the Government House account between 2002 and 2005.

When cross-examined by defence counsel, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), on a document containing information about 36 bank drafts issued by the Umuahia Branch of the bank, the witness said that no draft was paid by the accused or issued in his name.

She said that the accused did not personally come to her to purchase any draft and his name was not included in any of the drafts.

After her evidence, the prosecutor had sought for an adjournment to enable him to proceed with trial at a later date.

He told the court that all efforts to ensure that another witness was brought to the court proved abortive.

“My Lord, I was thinking that the defence will spend more time cross-examining the second prosecution witness.

“So, I will be pleading with My Lord for an adjournment; this is the first time we will be seeking for an adjournment in this matter”, he said.

Although the defence had raised an objection to the request for adjournment, the court, however, adjourned the case until April 12 for the continuation of trial.

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between August 2001 and October 2005.

Kalu was alleged to have utilised his company to retain in the account of a First Inland bank, now FCMB, the sum of N200 million.

The sum is alleged to have formed part of funds illegally derived from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

In one of the counts, his company (Slok Nig Ltd) and one Emeka Abone, who is said to be at large, were also alleged to have retained in the company’s account the sum of N200 million on behalf of the first accused.

They were alleged to have used Manny Bank, (now Fidelity Bank Plc), Spring Bank Plc, the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Fin Land Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

On counts one to 10, the accused were alleged to have retained about N2.5 billion in different accounts which funds were said to belong to the Abia State Government.

Cumulatively, in all the counts, the accused were alleged to have diverted over N3.2 billion from the Abia State Government’s treasury during Kalu’s tenure as governor.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(6), 16, and 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005.

They also contravened the provisions of the Money Laundering Act of 1995 as amended by the amendment Act No.9 of 2002 and Section 477 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation, 1990.

Source: Guardian