Not many saw it coming. But the news of the defection of Dr. Orji Uzoh Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, did not come as a big surprise to many informed watchers of politics in Nigeria.
But what one may not understand is the frenzy it has generated in some quarters, particularly from those who have been questioning the rationale. But his loyalists maintain that Kalu’s political influence was enormous and his larger-than-life image simply out of this world.
While trying to rationalise this move, some of his fans hinted that the development took its root the very day President Muhammadu Buhari became the flag-bearer of the APC. They added that many had underestimated his closeness to Buhari. In fact, they are quick to make reference to the day when Kalu, as a governor in 2003, conferred Buhari with a honorary Doctorate degree at the Abia State University as well as when Buhari was honoured with a traditional title of Ugwu Agu (King of Lion) in his home town.
Also, according to his loyalists, when the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA was launched in Abuja 2006 by Kalu, the ex- military ruler was a special guest of honour on the occasion where he described Kalu as a detribalised politician.
The source revealed further that Kalu, while attending a campaign rally for Buhari in 2011, had told the world that Nigeria needed Buhari more than he needed the country. This, we gathered, shocked everybody, including the then president, Goodluck Jonathan.
One of the sources hinted further that many were not aware that it was actually the businessman who brokered peace between the President and the former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s, in his Igbere hometown some years back.
Spy Glass also learnt that his defection had been predicted since 2015 when his brothers , Hon. Nnanna Uzor Kalu and ex-Chief of Staff to Governor Theodore Orji, Mr. Mascot Uzor Kalu, were led by their mother, Eunice Uzor Kalu, to defect to the party in April 2015, shortly after Buhari won the presidential election. At the defection rally, she was said to have predicted that the former governor would soon join the party. So, could he simply be fulfilling the promise of his mother?
It is a fact that Kalu’s success story, in the past is attributed to hard work, dedication, perseverance and goodwill. His influence and power spread beyond the shores of this country.
Over the years, he has been an evolving phenomenon in every aspect of life. Or how else can one describe this man who still remains relevant many years after leaving office as the number one citizen of Abia State?