Nov. 11 (PREMIUM TIMES) — National Chairman of a faction of the Progressive Peoples Alliance(PPA), Ken Gbalikuma, has described as “laughable and at the same time vexatious” a statement credited to former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, that he was ready to dialogue with Boko Haram on behalf of the Jonathan administration.
Reacting to a report on PREMIUM TIMES that the former governor had volunteered to negotiate with Boko Haram in place of Gen Mohammadu Buhari, Mr. Gbalikuma said Mr. Kalu not only lacked the pedigree to negotiate on behalf of the Nigerian government, but was also bereft of credibility to execute such an onerous task.
He said Mr. Orji Kalu can only embark on projects that earn him money, adding: “The former governor is a commercial politician who goes into a project that can only earn him funds to service his insatiable lust for lucre.”
He advised both the federal government and Boko Haram not to touch Kalu with a 10-metre pole, because “he means no good either for the country or the terrorist group.”
Mr. Gbalikuma recalled that security report closely linked Mr. Kalu with the spate of kidnappings in Abia when the current Governor Theodore Orji began his second term, a situation that made the state almost ungovernable until the military stepped in and killed the kingpin of the kidnappers known as “Osisikanku”, a known political follower of the former Abia governor.
“How can such a dubious character with links to terrorist now come forward to negotiate peaceful resolution of the Boko Haram menace?” the PPA factional national chairman queried.
Mr. Gbalikuma also recalled that when PPA had cases against the incumbent governors of Kano and Zamfara States where the party’s logo was not placed on the ballot, Mr. Kalu volunteered to intervene as then chairman of the Board of Trustees “but rather negotiated for millions of dollars for his pocket.”
He said the former governor brought so much bad blood into the party that it disintegrated with the then national chairman, Clement Ebri; his deputy, Olu Akerele; woman leader, Mariam Ahmed; national treasurer, Emma Omokwe, among others leaving the party.
“Even as governor, he polarised Abia State by ensuring that his clansmen of Igbere subjugated other Abians to serfdom,” he noted.
He argued that appointing Kalu as negotiator “will amount to kissing bye to a peaceful resolution of the Boko Haram imbroglio.”