THE senator representing Abia North, Orji Kalu, has said he was a very wealthy man before venturing into politics and could quit his position in the Nigerian Senate anytime.
Kalu boasted that by 1982, only the late President Shehu Shagari had the latest Mercedez Benz car as him in Nigeria.
In a post on his verified Facebook page today, the former Abia State governor said he spent the money he earned from his private businesses on politics rather than giving out the money he made from politics to his people.
Kalu, who governed Abia State between 1999 and 2007 and is currently the Senate Chief Whip, revealed that he gifted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) N500 million, and another N100 million for its presidential campaign in 1998.
The ICIR reports that Kalu’s claim, nevertheless, a Federal High Court in Lagos, on December 5, 2019, jailed him for 12 years over N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering charges while he served as governor.
The court found him guilty on all the 39 counts that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred against him.
He was not alone in the alleged crimes. The EFCC also slammed charges on the state’s Director of Finance, Jones Udeogo, and Kalu’s company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
Kalu and his company were found guilty of all 39 counts, and the court imprisoned him for 12 years.
On his part, Udeogo was convicted on 34 counts and jailed for 10 years.
But the Supreme Court acquitted the duo on May 8, 2020, and ordered their retrial.
Kalu, who wrote today from his United States home, said many people thought he was into money rituals in the early 1980s because of his immense wealth.
He said, “Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much today; people still think that you wake up and make money without working for it.
“People should stop entertaining the blackmails that money is OUK’s (Orji Uzor Kalu’s) motivating factor in politics. If it’s actually about money as propagated, then I already have all I would ever need.
“While I was governor, I never bought a new home. I have lost more money being into politics. I took over from a military administrator, and those who knew the condition of Abia before 1999 will have a better understanding of the level of work we did before leaving government in 2007.”
He said he stayed away from politics after he ended his tenure as a governor before returning and getting elected into the Senate in 2019.
He added that his return into politics had changed the Abia North, which he claimed was already “going into trenches” before his election.
“As of today, I can decide to even resign as a senator because I spend my private money to make up a lot of things while serving the people.
“Nigeria is, unfortunately, a country where people who have done no business except holding public office are hailed, while those who have worked hard all their lives creating wealth and employing people are called names.
“Imagine expecting a man who bankrolled PDP in 1998 with N500m to the party and N100m to the presidential candidate of the party to be hungry?
“I became an employer of labour at an early age and have steadily continued to be. I have worked hard all my life, and the best you can do is to study people and try to be better than them. For, the life we live is not for ourselves alone, but for God and to then accommodate other people,” he said.
The ICIR reports that Kalu, while supporting the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to pick the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket in May, he had said he was ready to be a sweeper at the State House if Lawan won the 2023 polls.
He has, however, switched his allegiance to Bola Tinubu, who roundly defeated Lawan and other contestants at the party’s primary in June this year.