Orji Kalu flags off 2015 presidential race

Orji Uzor-Kalu
Orji Uzor-Kalu

The former Abia governor is not waiting till 2015 to begin his campaign

The  maverick former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, Thursday, crept into Ile Ife, the ancestral home of the Yoruba in Osun State, for a hush-hush meeting with the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade, the main goal of which is to lobby the powerful monarch for his presumed 2015 presidential ambition.

In essence, Mr. Kalu has effectively flagged off the 2015 presidential race by throwing his hat into the ring three years to Election Day.

The meeting, held in the afternoon, saw the former governor arrive with at least 17 aides all dressed in black suit. The meeting was held at the Oba’s palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State. The Ooni of Ife is considered by many to be the number one traditional ruler among the Yoruba’s, one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups.

Mr. Kalu is the leader of a weakened People’s Progressive Alliance whose two governors coming out of the 2007 elections, Theodore Orji of Abia state, and Ikedi Ohakim of Imo defected to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. The Abia governor was a former aide of Mr. Kalu, who he helped to win the 2007 elections. Both men fell out after which the governor decamped to the PDP, under whose platform he won his re-election in 2011.

Mr. Kalu told our palace source that the visit to the Oba’s palace was part of a wider consultation with traditional rulers across Nigeria, a preface to his formal declaration for the 2015 presidential election.

Mr. Kalu is apparently not relying on traditional rulers and political leaders alone for his yet-to-be-declared ambition. To court the social media community which is growing in political relevance in Nigeria, Mr. Kalu has built a sleek website which he intends to fully utilize, on his formal declaration of interest, for the election.

It is still unclear under which political party the former governor intends to run. Mr. Kalu has of late been oscillating between the ruling PDP and the opposition PPA, a party he helped formed but which has now been weakened by intense infighting and the former governor’s refusal to continue to fund it.

String of Failures

In 2007, Mr. Kalu, contested for president under his party, PPA, and lost. Though a successful businessman, the former governor relied on funds, anti- corruption officials claim, taken from Abia State accounts.

In the 2011 general election, he also contested his local constituency senatorial seat but lost to his estranged ally, Uche Chukwumerije, who defected to the PDP to win the seat.

Since leaving office in 2007, the pan-Igbo politician has been facing trial for corruption.

Shortly after leaving office in July 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned Mr. Kalu before an Abuja High Court on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, official corruption and diversion of public funds totaling over N5 billion.

The case is still in court.

His airline, Slok Air, later went under not long after the EFCC linked it to allegedly stolen Abia State funds.

In 2010, Mr. Kalu was questioned by the American police after a female friend died in his U.S home.

Soji Bamidele contributed to this report.


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  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    Time is longer than rope, Mr. Kalu. Just remember that even though the man who defecated by the roadside may forget, but not the man who had to clean it after him. You can run from one traditional to the other as much as you want, but don’t forget that it is the dog that wags the tail, not the other way round!

  • Innocent

    Well, Mr Orji, there are three factors working against you. 1. You are spent and broke. 2. You cannot get your people’s (Igbos) support 3. Nigerians are a lot wiser now.

    • Day break

      Hi Innocent, I read your comment with a very heavy heart and outright disappointment. The comments sound like those from a political hirling; like those from one who is uninformed about Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and his amiable pedigree; like those from an envious and intimidated fellow. You and I know that orji Uzor Kalu is the complete meaning of what the Igbo nation reperesents- peerless focus, resilience, ruggedness, intellect, success and inspiration. Like all known heroes living or dead, Orji Uzor Kalu may have his shortcomings, it does not and cannot remove the TRUTH that he is a god supressing the heartless suppressors of the Igbo nation. He is the nemesis of morbid haters of Igbo People. If the gods of the Igbo race are happy for any reason, it is for Orji Uzor Kalu and Igbos like him. He may not have won a presidential election yet, but he makes an eloquent statement for and with history each time he embarks on any process. For a man who has never pretended over his pride and love for everything Igbo in spite of compelling social, political and economic pressures and mindless arm-twisting, the least Dr Orji Uzor Kalu deserves is a deep-hearted “thank you”. In terms of living for the Igbo nation, there is little or no difference between him and Chief Chukwuemeka Odumagwu Ojukwu, the fear of the enemies of Igbos.I am looking forward to reading your humble apology over comments made in ignorance, Innocent. God bless Orji Uzo Kalu. God bless the Igbo nation. God bless Nigeria.

  • obi

    wishful thinking, where is EFCC. We dont need theifs as presidential candidate not to talk of president

  • Ikechukwu Moses

    It is important we Nigerian think before we talk, that is to
    say we should remove the tendency of shooting before we aim, Orji Uzor Kalu is a figure that Nigerian
    should be proud of, if we refuse to say
    this, I must say it, considering his age
    now and his life achievement, if all youth will copy his type we will do more
    to Nigerian than this cheap critics, at the
    age 27 or 28 years Orji Uzor was the chairman Borno states water board at his
    early 30 he owns banks, airline and shipping company, sun Newspapers etc., I admired this guy, the money that Orji Kalu was accuse of looting
    is small to compare to his investment,
    you cannot accuse someone of stealing 1 Naira while he has 200Naria, I
    want us to be wise in thinking, Kalu I
    know worth more than 50billion Naira, that is to say, ANAGHI EBU OZU EHI NISI
    JIRI UKWU NA AKPA ABUZU, that accusation is OBJ’s game to punish Kalu for not
    supporting his third term plan, we know those
    that stole our money and refuse to accuse them, Atiku nko, Buhari nko, and IBB, what of OBJ, is it just because he is
    Igbo man, more over he is accused and has not been found guilty, or has he
    stole from your mother before, we all
    knows how Abia state was durig Kalu’s time and how it is today.

    So please stop condemning this young youth, who has
    contributed for economics, peace and unity of this country.

  • Eddy

    There is no intimidation of great thought; knowledge
    attracts it as heavens, the eyes. You are a young man who has already achieved
    great thing. Even greater things will follow. However, I will counsel that you
    do not run against GEJ 2015. By all means, form alliances, build bridges and
    tell us more about what you stand for. In time, your turn will come.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    Take any rogue to Nigerian court. They will release him.

  • Luq

    This young man has a great future in national politics not withstanding his detractors who are worse in every sense of the word. But he must look and see clearly ahead to make the journey worthwhile. Personaly, I am happy for GEJ to run in 2015. As Eddy suggestedm bid your time.

  • Enemona

    Not serious, his strategy is very simple. It’s like this: Orji is broke and he wants money. To get his palm greased, he has flagged off his campaign earlier than many other people of his region that are planning same thing.

    Orji knows GEJ needs the SE more than any region if he is to win the election in 2015 and as such he would not want to come up against anybody from SE, that would disrupt his plans as votes can be shared and attention would be divided. So, to cash in, has shown his interest to get GEJ and his men’s attention and this can only mean that they’d plead with him to drop his ambition for now and of course, that comes with a price. As for Orji, he gets a well-greased palm.

    Why is he coming out so early? Simple, to beat many other fake wanna-run candidates from his region who are expected to troop out in their droves. The early bird gets noticed and the earlier he comes out to start building structures, the more formidable he’d become and the higher the price to be paid by GEJ.

    I give it to him anyway, he’s a smart man.

  • If Kalu was such a good man as many of Ɣõu̶̲̥̅̊ claim, then why did he lose just ordinary senatorial seat in his own constituency? He should first of all go and clare himself with τ̲̅ђe EFCC.