After several months of speculations about his political future, former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday formally joined the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in Nigeria.
The move came barely 24 hours after he resigned his membership of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), a party he formed and nurtured for several years. Kalu, who was elected governor of Abia State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999, governed the state for eight years before he moved away to form the PPA. He contested the last Abia North Senatorial Election on the platform of the PPA.
Speaking at the party’s national secretariat in company of the former governor of Osun State and chieftain of APC, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Kalu stated that he had finally joined the party where most of his family members belong.
He said that after a long period of wooing by members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) and other chieftains of the party across the country, he considered it pertinent to join the party. Asked why he decided to join APC, he said: “It is a simple thing. You were here the day my mother and my brothers came here and all my friends are here.
You can see Governor Oyinlola, you can see Governor (Segun) Oni. I am not saying my friends are not in the other parties, but it is time to take stock and it is important to go along family line to be able to rebrand Nigeria very well. So, I am back to join where my family is.” He explained that he did not join APC earlier because he did not want people to think that he wanted to be part of the ruling party in order to be among those being appointed into government positions.
“If I had joined earlier when they were forming government, it would look like I was trying to form government with them. This is the right time to join. This is the middle time of the whistle between now and the next season to do politics. I am joining at the right time to be able to do politics with them, the raw politics.
“Let me thank my brothers in the National Working Committee of this party for their efforts. Three of them have hosted me to dinner for more than 20 times while they were trying to dissuade me from going back to the PDP because they know that I am very close to Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Both of them are very close friends of mine and colleagues. In eating those dinner, the last of which was five days ago, we decided to seal the deal of me joining APC,” he said.
National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, who received Kalu into the party yesterday, described him as an asset to the party and Nigeria.
According to Oyegun, the former governor was coming with a lot of political experience and business acumen that would help to build APC and revamp the ailing economy.
“I have to welcome you most sincerely to APC family. Today, in this place, you have to look for the kind of people with courage, resilience and with following that can contribute positive ideas from experience, from training to take this nation out of the economic mess we are in.
When he (Kalu) called me and said he has joined APC, I said this man has started again and I picked my phone and called the state chairman and asked: Is it true that Orji Uzor Kalu has joined APC and the state chairman said, it is true. He has properly registered in his ward, but we have not received him. I said don’t worry yourself I will receive him because there is no time,” Oyegun said.
Kalu, who later addressed members of the NWC of the APC, said he was happy to be part of the political family. He urged them to ensure that APC remained an all-inclusive party, which would not discriminate against anyone, no matter their tribe, religion or social special status
. He disclosed that between last Sunday when he registered at Igbere and yesterday, over 4,000 new members (his supporters) have joined the APC in Abia State. The former governor said that his joining the APC has thrust upon him the responsibility of delivering the South-East to the party. He dismissed the postulations that the APC would not be in power beyond 2019.
“It is a work that we must carry to a logical conclusion. Our upright war is that the South-East will be delivered to the APC. God will help us to do this. The most portent thing is the ability to consult, discuss and move forward. Nobody is an embodiment of knowledge. Knowledge is in the hands of God and God will always give us knowledge.
“I understand the country very well and I hope that the party will continue to grow from strength to strength and I hope that with the good work that President Muhammadu Buhari is doing, the party will continue to give him the support. It is a difficult time and many Nigerians are crying. But I believe we will live and get to a better destination.
I know we are going through hard times and there is recession everywhere in the world, but you have to help the President to formulate policies that will reduce the suffering of the people so that the party can become stronger and stronger,” Kalu admonished.