Former Governor of Abia state, Chief (Dr) Orji Uzor Kalu, has withdrawn from the senatorial race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The former governor has therefore asked the party, to refund the N5.5m he paid for the nomination and expression of interest forms which he paid thinking he would contest for the party’s ticket in Abia North Senatorial District.
Kalu, in a letter to the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, dated November 24, said he was withdrawing from the race because the State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, has allegedly concluded plans to handpick PDP aspirants for all elective positions in the state.
“Since I was not screened, and neither did I go through any of the stipulated processes that lead to the emergence of candidates, I hereby also ask the party, as a measure of honour and good faith, to refund the nomination fees I paid. I will use the money to further empower my constituents in many other ways”, he said in the letter.
He lamented that the governor allowed some high profile members of the party to resign from plum positions to contest for the PDP ticket when he should have simply advised them to keep their positions since he already had aspirants in mind for the various PDP tickets.
According to him, “Along the line, however, it became apparent that the Abia State Governor, Chief T.A Orji wants to handpick all candidates, both into executive and legislative positions. He wants to choose his own successor, fill the 24 House of Assembly seats, the eight federal constituencies and the three senatorial seats.
“Governor Orji knew ahead of time that he had a candidate in mind but deliberately allowed eminent Abia citizens like Dr. Alex Otti, GMD of Diamons bank to resign from his lofty position when he should have advised him to remain there.
“He also allowed Chief Emeka Wogu, minister of labour to resign and lose Abia slot in the Federal Executive Council and other ministerial committees; he equally allowed two ranking members of the Senate in the person of Senator Nkechi Nwogu, chairman Senate committee on oil and gas and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, chairman Senate committee on Media and Information to pick gubernatorial forms when he should have advised them to go for re-election in the senate.
“I find all these very disturbing. When Governor Orji was to be elected the first time in 2007, everyone knew where I stood three years before then that he was my anointed candidate. There was absolutely no ambiguity unlike now that he has allowed these people to lose their positions and resources chasing shadows. It is quite obvious that Governor Orji’s plan is to bring everybody down”.
While stressing that there was no ward congress in Abia State, Mr. Kalu said the governor and his “collaborators” just compiled the list of delegates and this has forced some members of PDP to defect to other parties.
He warned that it was dangerous for PDP to hinge all its hope on one man as elections are won by collective efforts and not as solo run.
Kalu also declared that an alleged earlier arrangement he claimed he had with the national leadership of the party that would enable him to be screened in Abuja was not adhered to.
He said, “I know that members of the National Working Committee have intervened severally and assured me that i would be screened between Thursday and Friday last week for the senatorial race.
“However, it did not happen, causing me to conclude that the party has perhaps acquiesced to the desire of Governor Orji to handpick all the candidates.
“If this is the true picture of things, I wish to defer on the judgement and decision of the party. Rather than be an intractable issue in the Abia chapter of our great party, I would rather subordinate personal ambition for party cohesion, and quit the forthcoming electoral race. I hereby formally withdraw from the bid to represent the good people of Abia North in the senate next year”.
He, however, assured PDP leaders that he will remain a loyal member of the party and work for the success of all its candidates ahead of the 2015 elections, including President Goodluck Jonathan.