VISIT TO GOV. WIKE: SEN. KALU PLANS PDP DEFECTION AMID INSINUATIONS OF RETURN TO JAIL, TO TACKLE ATIKU FOR OPPOSITION PARTY’S PRESIDENTIAL TICKET

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Facts are beginning to emerge with regards to the Wednesday late night private meeting between Senate Chief Whip, Dr. Orji Kalu and Rivers State’s strong man, Nyeso Wike.

Sen. Orji Kalu (l) and Governor Nyeso Wike of Rivers State at the Government House,Port Harcourt, Wednesday.

According to a source privy to the meeting, who does not wish to be named, the meeting was held at the instance of the former Abia Governor and Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District. Feelers available to us reveal that he had bitterly complained to his “brother,” Wike, about what he referred to as “the unending persecution” he has been going through in the hands of the APC- led Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari despite the many laudable efforts he has continued to make to woo notable politicians and renowned professionals from the Southeast into the ruling APC.

According to the source, Sen. Kalu had gone to see Governor Wike to plead with Justice Mary Odili to use her contacts in the Judiciary to ensure that his sensational case at the EFFC, for which he was previously put behind bars, is not transferred to Lagos and to also work out the possibility of not revisiting the case in its entirety.

He was said to have told Wike that he ( Kalu) had been told by traditionalists and both Christian and Islamic clerics that he will rule Nigeria and that he believed that it was for the same reason that he was being persecuted by those who do not want to see a President of Igbo extraction in Nigeria. He had revealed to the Governor what he said was his greatest disappointment with his Party leaders, who, he said were bent on seeing him in jail. He said they were only paying lip-service to the ideal of One-Nigeria, but do not have any conviction about zoning power to the South, not to talk of micro-zoning same to the Igbo.

In reply to Sen. Kalu’s bitter complaints, Gov. Wike was said to have frankly told the former Governor that he had not been, particularly, happy at some of his past utterances, but had in the spirit of brotherhood chosen to frankly work with him if he was ready to play by agreements. The Rivers Governor, who re-iterated his disdain for the style IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu has employed to wage his agitation war against neighbouring Igbo States, also made it clear to Sen. Kalu that he should feel concerned about what Nnamdi Kalu is doing and must lead other Igbo leaders to ensure that the pro-Biafra agitators were quietened. He argued that the Igbo could not be possibly speaking from both sides of the mouth, asking for Biafra and the Nigerian Presidency at the same time.

While promising to see Justice Odili on the case, Gov. Wike, it was learnt, also informed Sen. Kalu that he could greatly influence the activities of the opposition PDP and ensure a soft landing for the Senator should he choose to return to the Party he, the Senator, was a founding member and run for its Presidential primaries. He also told Kalu that any attempt to send him back to jail by the ruling Party will be tantamount to stifling the opposition in a democracy, which the international community will surely frown at. At that point, worried about the ambition of former VP, Atiku Abubakar, Kalu was said to have doubted his ability to withstand the financial war-chest of the Adamawa-born politician and businessman who, with Buhari on the last lap of his eight-year tenure and the increasing age that may not be clearly to the advantage of the former VP, would likely bring to bear all he has to contest the PDP ticket, knowing how promising the ticket will be in the next General Elections!

To be sure that they do not leave anything to chance and to demonstrate their truthfulness about the decisions they had both reached at the 4-hour meeting over champaign and chicken wings, Governor Wike was said to have informed Sen. Kalu that he would seriously push for a NEC meeting of the PDP soon where, to give the impression of playing an all-inclusive card in the Party leadership structure, the PDP, like the ruling APC, will dissolve all structures of the Party across board and appoint a fresh Caretaker and Convention-Planning Committee that will re-organise the Party for the 2023 General Elections. As part of the plans, the Rivers State Governor was said to have conceded to Sen. Kalu the privilege to nominate an Igboman for the position of the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Party.

When the above nomination sails through, it was agreed that the Caretaker Committee will now conclude everything about who becomes the substantive National Chairman of the opposition Party and others that will occupy other Party positions. The members of this Committee will also settle everything concerning zoning and all vexed issues in the Party at the moment. Wike was said to have concluded by informing Dr. Kalu that, with the PDP, the worst- case scenario for the embattled Abia Senator would be to become Nigeria’s Vice President under Governor Tambuwal or under former VP Atiku as President. This, the Governor insisted, would ensure that the Senator’s case would die naturally and also make him to, from that position, further the realization of all that he had been told in Churches and by marabouts.

According to our source, Sen. Kalu had left the meeting fulfilled, drunk and in high spirits. Our source also informed that he had never seen the former Governor happier all the years he has known him as a politician. The Senate Chief Whip was said to have been so happy that he gave out fresh-minted dollar notes to Aides and security details of the Rivers State Governor; something our source insisted he had not seen him do in a very long while.. Our source also concluded that he had before leaving the Government House, Port Harcourt, directed one of his trusted Aides to put a call across to Chief Victor Ikem Oye, who we were told was the Senator’s Aide at the Abia Government House and who is currently Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA). Sen. Kalu was said to have expressly directed Chief Oye to prepare himself to cross over to the PDP to assume the position of National Caretaker Committee Chairman in the next few weeks.

As things stand at the moment and with the constant jostling for freedom and political relevance by Sen. Kalu, it is now left to be seen how all of the above plans will shape the political environment in Nigeria for the embattled Senator in the many months leading to the 2023 General Elections. Nothing in life, however, is certain until it happens. The only thing that may be certain, after all, is the fact that the embattled Igbere Chief and Abia political strong man, the former Governor of the State, who, unarguably, has tried his own bit at ensuring that the Igbo join the Party at the centre in today’s Nigeria, is leaving the Party he has always claimed to hold dearly in heart, owing to both a consuming greed for power and playing fugitive to the justice that has eluded his purchase.

Odiche Austin Amatu,a journalist and public relations practitioner,writes in from Umuahia,Abia State.

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