- Accuses Obasanjo of pettiness
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, has said President Muhammadu Buhari can secure 75 per cent of the votes from the South-east states in 2019 election if he is able to address the infrastructure decay ravaging the zone.
Kalu, who spoke in an interview on Arise News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, yesterday, said if Buhari decides to run for a second term in 2019, he would need to strike a deal with the Igbo on how to fix federal roads and boost electricity supply in the region in order to win their support.
â€œIf the president is going to run again, we will force him to declare our area a special area and we are going to give him 75 per cent of the votes. He will declare and give us an emergency consideration.
â€œSome places like Aba and Onitsha can provide anything you need and we can manufacture everything there if we can have adequate electricity,â€ he said.
When asked what can be done to stem the tide of agitations and separatist positions in the South-east such as the one being led by the now proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Kalu said as far he was concerned, the people were only demanding for the right atmosphere that will enable their businesses to thrive.
Kalu said with a good road network and adequate power supply in major cities like Aba and Onitsha, the Igbo have the capacity to achieve the countryâ€™s target in industrialisation.
â€œGive us good light in Aba, give us good roads in Aba, give us good roadside light in Onitsha. We are not asking for you to do any other thing, we are capable of manufacturing things. Everything done in China can be manufactured in Aba and Onitsha.
â€œWe are capable, Nnewi is already doing it and they will go hi-tech with technology if given the necessary encouragement. We have the people but we donâ€™t have the management. We donâ€™t have the asset.
â€œThe people that did the privatisation of the electricity sector, did it wrongly. The electricity companies were handed over to friends and that was not the right thing to do,â€ he said.
The outspoken businessman cum politician also delved into the alleged plot for a third term by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing it as real.
Kalu said contrary to denials by some of the governors during the period, all of them were actually approached to give their support for an extension of the tenure of the former president beyond the limit provided for in the constitution.
He, however, said while most of these governors succumbed to pressures, he refused to be bought over.
According to Kalu, part of the reasons for his being dragged before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was his objection to the third term agenda.
Kalu also bemoaned Obasanjoâ€™s attitude to criticism and opposition, describing him as just too petty.
â€œIf he can just stop being a little bit petty, he is a man that is very petty and I donâ€™t have any regret in saying so. You see, if younger people did something to you, you should be able to forgive them because life is very long.
â€œIf younger people have said something against you, you should be able to also forgive them because that is the right thing to do. If Obasanjo had imbibed this kind of virtue, we would have gone far with our democratic process but he left serious things and started chasing shadows. â€œInstead of calling for unity, he put a lot of division because he wanted a third term. In looking for third term, he was able to divide the governors, although most of them are not speaking the truth today.â€