The Abia state Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, has slammed former Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu over his alleged penchant for perpetrating violence during electioneering campaigns in the state.
Speaking with newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital on Friday, Okiyi accused Orji Kalu of allegedly supervising the destruction of billboards belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates in Abia North senatorial zone by thugs.
The commissioner frowned at the recent political disorder that occurred in Nkporo with Kalu allegedly threatening the life of a sitting Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, in Ohafia Local Government Area during the former Governor’s campaign rally, warning that the state government would not condone any further acts of violence due to the inordinate quest of Kalu (ex-governor) to occupy the Abia North seat in the red chamber of the National Assembly.
Okiyi vowed that no amount of federal might, as being touted by the former governor, would give him victory in the forthcoming February 16 National Assembly election.
According to him, “We want this election to be peaceful, free and fair. I don’t know what they call federal might but I know about the supremacy of voters might. If federal might means causing problems within a state then it is the height of political irresponsibility.
“If federal might means employing thugs to vandalize your opponents’ billboard everywhere in Abia north, with Orji Uzor Kalu directly supervising that vandalism, it is condemnable. He was spotted at Nkporo junction of Abiriba standing right there to supervise the destruction of a PDP billboard. He should not try that again.
“We’ve had enough of Orji Kalu deploying violence as a political tool within Abia North and the rest of the state. We have taken enough from him, in terms of creating violent conditions in this state. He should campaign peacefully and stop using dozens of soldiers and thugs to intimidate our people. By the way, on what basis were soldiers deployed to follow a civilian contesting for political office? I call on the military authorities to strip him and all politicians of soldiers as bodyguards. It is wrong to bring armed soldiers to political events and we have already seen the negative effect at Ihechiowa where a soldier attached to our former Governor allegedly shot and injured a citizen. We also received reports of a violent engagement allegedly involving Kalu and his soldiers at Abam. Whoever is involved in attaching Nigeria soldiers to Orji Uzor-Kalu should know that in a democracy it is wrong and potentially violence generating. Because of our recent history in this state, it is also a prescription for anarchy to attach soldiers to a civilian politician who already has police officers guarding him as a former Governor, especially after pythons danced in broad daylight in our state and left our people with sorrow, tears and blood.
“By the way, what exactly is former Governor Kalu campaigning for in Abia North? To occupy the same respected legislative seat that late Senator Uche Chukwumerije occupied to the glory of God and Ndigbo? The same seat that Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who is rated among the best 5 legislators in Nigeria today, is occupying? For Christ sake “hallowed chambers of the National Assembly” should not be mistaken to mean the same thing as Okija or Senate shrine. Let people contest for offices they are sufficiently educated and prepared to occupy and perform effectively.
“My sincere advice to our former Governor is to quietly back out of that race and face other things like importation. To serve efficiently at the level of the Senate you need to be a man of letters who can read and understand legislative proposals as well as be able to communicate effectively in English language such that when you say “we used to kill” it will simply mean what it means. In my view, Mao fits the senatorial bill adequately and he is doing well in that position. If anyone should challenge him for that seat, it shouldn’t be our former Governor that we are still struggling to totally reverse the bad foundation he laid in the state. But if he insists on running, he must not introduce violence into political campaigns that have so far been adjudged relatively peaceful in Abia state.”