It has come to our attention that the erstwhile Attorney General of Abia state, Barr. Kalu Umeh nurses the intention to contest for Abia state governorship seat come 2023 for which he has suddenly made a volte-face reconizing Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia, as the political “patriarch” of the state. What is however ironic in all this is that throughout the time (9 years) he was state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, he never acknowledged Orji as a patriarch.
Kalu Umeh, indeed, must be a funny character for the statement he made in his interview on Sunday Sun newspaper of July 16, 2020. Funnily, in the said interview, Umeh reveals himself an “introvert” and the question becomes: which introvert does well in coordinating effective leadership of a diverse group that must be consulted very other time? Introvert, among other attributes, are known to be withdrawn and recluse. Is it with such personality and credential that Umeh sees himself fit and marketable for the Abia top job? Abia deserves more and better. It should be one who reaches out to her diverse humans in building a sound state truly “God’s own” in the real sense of the title.
Umeh Kalu relates in that interview that there were issues that led to the “beefing” between Senator Orji Kalu and Senator Theodore Orji, his successor, leading to split in the then PDP camp division of which left him on the side of Senator Theodore Orji. Here, Umeh was even bold enough to have us know that Orji Kalu brought him to political relevance and even helped much his ascend and it is on this ground that we intend to ask him why he didn’t pitch his tent with the man who brought him to limelight when the much talked about feud ensued.
Thanks to history, Umeh served as an advisor (legal matter) to Senator T. A. Orji for two years (2007-2009) and as Attorney General for six years (2009 – 2015) and thence to Okezie Ikpeazu’s cabinet as Attorney General for another four years (2015-2019) making him, on the whole, the longest serving attorney general, arguably, within the South East or the entire South. If our “introvert” is a man of integrity as he parades himself why did he not join the Orji Kalu political divide? Was it for gratitude or otherwise that he stuck with Senator T.A. Orji serving in various capacities? Today he is no longer in speaking terms with his former principal – Theodore Orji – and has discovered a better use for his tongue; such a sad tale. How can a man with such character fare with public trust and office?
Kalu Umeh suffers political popularity issues, no wonder he was able to secure only one (1) vote in 2019 when he ran for PDP primaries to House of Representatives at his own backyard. And though it is not bad to run for election severally or to nurse a political ambition, Umeh Kalu, history knows, has run for House of Representatives membership in Ohafia/Arochukwu Federal Constituency quadrennially from 1999 to 2007 elections respectively without success prior to being appointed by Senator Theodore Orji whereupon he held the posts of Special Advisor to the Governor on Legal Matters and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. This speaks volumes of his popularity!
The facts lend to men of conscience, and truth be told had Umeh Kalu no issues with Senator T. A. Orji why does he seem standoffish, aloof and even to unashamedly speak ill of Rt. Hon Chinedum Orji, his former principle’s son and incumbent speaker these days?
To the matter at hand. The visit of one political actor to another is not in any sense wrong as politics is not a Machiavellian affair. Senator Orji Kalu who shortly returned from detention after six months has had to entertain many visits and visitors ranging from friends, family, political colleagues, associates to even opposition camp from within the state and beyond. One of those said to have visited the senator and former governor was Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji, incumbent speaker of Abia House of Assembly. Kalu Umeh has been in the vanguard of those calling out the speaker for such a visit. His grouse is that it was anti-party and lack of respect for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, then ailing (thank God he has recovered) governor of Abia state. If it was for addressing Orji Kalu as a leader in Abia and urging him to come take his rightful position that Umeh Kalu harangues the speaker, what then does he understand by the word “patriarch” as and why does he Accord same on Orji Kalu on the said interview?
What Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji said to him was that, as a former Governor and a leader in Abia he should come home assume his position as one of the leaders in Abia to move the state forward instead of all the petitions and counter petitions that has become the norm in today’s Abia politics.
If the speaker asked him as insinuated to come and take over as authentic leader, where does the speaker’s father fall in ?
Is he retiring his own father?
No one can deny that Senator Orji Kalu is a leader in Abia. But for anyone to politicize Mr Speaker’s words to suit themselves or score cheap political point is cowardly. And he does not have any apologies to give.
For the record, the visit was not one in a coven or a clandestine kind but one knowledge of which is in the public domain. Why does the former Attorney General flog a dead horse over the speaker’s choice of words? Where in those words did the speaker betray governor Ikpeazu? If Orji Kalu is indeed the “patriarch” of Abia state as Umeh Kalu put it, who then is guilty of having enthroned Orji Kalu as the leader of Abia? Is it the one who urged him to come assume his position as one of the leaders of the state – which ipso facto he is as a serving senator and also the Senate chief whip – or the one who bequeathed the entire state to him by calling him the “patriarch”?
To elucidate, the word “patriarch” is same as or synonymous with “father” or “progenitor”. Is calling Orji Kalu a patriarch not more loyal as choice of words than the words used by the speaker? To highlight the point here, whether in APC or APGA or PDP, Senator Orji Kalu is a leader having served for two terms as a governor in the state. Again, for Abia what is best should be inclusive governance for common good. Umeh indeed has a hidden agenda and motive. Why is Umeh Kalu so much interested in what was said between two men whose meeting is a general knowledge? What else does Umeh Kalu mean by saying he’s an introvert when he goes about, in a gossipy manner, poking and prying into the political affairs of others?
Senator Kalu should be wary of turncoat, deserter and bandwagoner like Kalu Umeh who comes in sheep clothing. If he has this kind of opinion against those with whom he sat over affairs of the state at different capacities over a decade then he is capable of anything else. Umeh Kalu’s record as an ingrate remains matchless. In 2007 after his bid to be in the House of Reps failed, he was tided over by friends and associates one of whom was the late Engr. Anya Udo. All this he has forgotten in a flash. Coveting Orji Kalu could well be a gambit aware of which the senator should be.
A man of Umeh Kalu’s stature and standing, all things considered, does not stand any chance and should not be entrusted with any leadership position, even a councillorship position.
Chief Goodluck Ibem
Hon. Sunday Chukwu