“Clear your name of corruption charges, which you have been evading for nine years after leaving office before seeking another public office” Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, a candidate for Abia North Senatorial District re-run election has been counselled.
The advice was given to the former governor in Umuahia, capital of Abia State, Nigeria by a pro-good governance group, Abia Youths Renaissance For Good Governance, AYRGG.
In an interactive session with journalists to review the heated campaign for the re-run election
ordered by a Court of Appeal, the Executive Director, Public Affairs of ARGG, Mr Chris Onwukwe, decried the emergence of Chief Orji Uzor Kalu for the election in the first instance.
“In well ordered societies, public officials resign from office to clear their name of any allegations that may taint their names or compromise their ability to perform in office, but the contrary is the case in Nigeria.
“Indeed, it is a sad commentary on our nascent democracy that a man who after exiting office as governor since 2007 has been exploiting the lapses in our judicial system to answer to allegations of corruption charges against him in the court. It is even sadder that the person in question is seeking election into the distinguished office of the Senate
“From the Federal High Court, Mr. Kalu has gone to the Supreme Court all in a bid to evade answering questions on the N5.6 billion he allegedly stole while in office as Abia State governor, Onwukwe, a legal practitioner argued.
Pressed further to substantiate his argument, Onwukwe referred to a national daily, The Sun newspaper (owned by Kalu) which on Friday January 15, 2016 reported that the Supreme Court has fixed March 18, 2016 to deliver judgment in the appeal filed by Kalu, challenging the competence of the corruption charges of alleged N5.6 billion brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The former Abia State governor is challenging the propriety of his trial by the Federal High Court over the charges.
Onwukwe who shared photocopies of the newspaper report, explained that Kalu has asked the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the charges levelled against him by the EFCC. He also urged the trial court to quash the charges as no prima facie case was established against him.
As a matter of good conscience, we advise chief Kalu to drop his ambition of participating in the forthcoming Abia North Senatorial election re-run election.
“The alleagations of stealing of N5.6b belonging to Abia State when he was the governor of the State, is indeed a moral burden hanging like an albatross on his neck.
“Chief Kalu should take the path of honour by throwing in the towel considering the enormity of such heinous allegations especially in this era of anti-corruption campaign.
“Abia North Senatorial district deserves better. We can’t afford to be a laughing stock at the national level. Other states presented senators with impeccable characters, who in turn, have brought honour to their senatorial districts at the Senate and subsequently able to attract democracy dividends to their various States.
“We therefore urge Kalu to save the people of Abia North Senatorial District a national monumental shame by stepping down from contesting a position that requires a person with high moral standing with requisite pedigree for the such exalted office and henceforth focus more attention in clearing his name in his case with (EFCC) if he truly want to be considered for any office by serious minded Nigerians” Onwukwe maintained.