Abia state governor, Theodore Orji, is a political neophyte, says Orji Kalu.
Former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, has tackled his successor and current governor, Theodore Orji, describing him as a “political neophyte”, in an unfolding clash that saw Mr. Kalu stripped of an academic degree by the state university.
The Abia State University, on Saturday, announced the withdrawal of its Bachelors degree in Government and Public Administration, from the former governor, claiming it found out Mr. Kalu’s admission was flawed.
Mr. Kalu, who had earlier dropped out of the University of Maiduguri before becoming governor, enrolled for the ABSU programme while he was governor. The incumbent governor, was his chief of staff then.
The school said Mr. Kalu did not complete the programme when he was issued with a degree certificate.
Still, the school’s decision, some six years after he left office, is seen by many as part of a long-running rift between the Mr. Kalu and his successor, Mr. Orji.
In a statement Sunday, Mr. Kalu said the recent decision to revoke the degree was the “latest in the failed attempts of Orji to silence him.”
“What the Senate of ABSU has done amounts to shifting the goal post after the goal has been scored,” Mr. Kalu’s spokesperson, Oyekunle Oyewunmi, said in the statement.
“No one can deny the fact that His Excellency (Kalu) was in ABSU for lectures and examinations. And how do you withdraw a degree that has been duly awarded?
“And to think it is the same Senate that awarded it that is withdrawing it. It is obvious where the drummer is playing for the Senate to dance from.”
Mr. Oyewunmi said the former governor will “definitely react appropriately” to the school’s decision.
The spokesperson said Mr. Kalu was currently in Gambia overseeing “some of his multibillion dollar businesses.”
Mr. Kalu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, while in office, midwife the birth of a new party, the Peoples Progressive Alliance, PPA, upon which he engineered Mr. Orji’s election to office even while Mr. Orji was detained over corruption charges.
The former governor’s decision to return to PDP has reportedly been at the heart of a bitter and grueling dispute between the two men.
The release by Mr. Kalu is the most bare-knuckled challenge of his successor since they fell apart.
Mr. Kalu said the governor was “jittery” as elections were getting closer and it was becoming clearer that Mr. Orji’s preferred candidate will not win to cover the governor’s tracks when he quits.
“He will only panic the more as he has set the ground for a battle he cannot withstand and win.
“Recent events have shown who truly is an Abian among Dr. Kalu and Orji.
“This non-performing governor is challenged to a public walk alongside Dr. Kalu on the streets of Abia State and let us see who will get stoned,” he said.
“How can he so quickly forget the political staying power of Dr. Kalu, which earned him (Orji) the governorship despite the fact he was in the custody of the EFCC when the election was held and a new party had to be registered for him to emerge as the governor of Abia State,” the statement asked.
“That same staying power, which only God and forthrightness can grant, is what has kept Dr. Kalu above all foes.
“And if Orji still thinks it is possible for him to run Dr. Kalu out of Abia State, then he should have a rethink.”