The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, said he is grateful to God for allowing him to go to prison and come back.
Mr Kalu stated this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Tuesday, adding that going to prison was a good experience for him.
The statement, issued by Mr Kalu’s media aide, Peter Eze, said the senator made the remark at a campaign rally for of his younger brother, Mascot Kalu, who is the All Progressives Congress candidate for the March 27 Aba North/South Federal Constituency poll.
Mr Kalu was sentenced to Kuje Correctional Centre for 12 years on December 5, 2019 for allegedly misappropriating about N7.1 billion, while serving as Abia governor between 1999 and 2007.
The Supreme Court, however, on May 8, 2020 upturned his trial and conviction by Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The apex court had said that the judge, Mr Idris, lacked the jurisdiction to try the matter, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Kalu said some prominent Abia politicians, who were vexed by his criticism against the Abia State Government, accused him of still suffering from his prison experience.
The statement quoted the senator to have said that his detractors were “little-minded to think he is ashamed of his prison experience.
“My conspirators thought I would be president in 2023, so they decided to cut my journey short at all cost.
“But you see, these people are not God. They think I am ashamed to have gone to prison. I am not and I don’t blame them because they don’t know my relationship with God.
“Joseph went to prison, even former President Olusegun Obasanjo went to prison.
“My going to prison is part of my life script and I am thankful God allowed it. They are little minds and wicked people, who have refused to do any project for their own people.
Mr Kalu recently criticised the state government for “failing to address the huge infrastructure deficit” in Abia.
He said the ongoing road repairs in Aba were funded by the Niger Delta Development Commission and federal government and not Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration.
He further criticised the administration for failing to regularly pay workers’ salaries as and when due.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, John Kalu, in a response, said the state government secured N27.4 billion World Bank facility to fund road projects in Aba.
The commissioner refuted the allegation that the projects were being executed by the federal government, saying that the federal government does not build internal roads in states.
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