In 1998, 38yrs old Orji Uzor Kalu was running for governorship of Abia state, he got an urgent call to be in Abia the following morning for an important political meeting, off he went to Jibowu, Lagos where he joined the luxurious night bus to Umuahia.
On that trip he sat next to a certain 43yrs old Prince Eyinnaya Abaribe, as they got talking during the journey, he made up his mind that this man would be his running mate if he won the PDP gubernatorial ticket .
Prince Abaribe got his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Benin and lectured for 3yrs at Edo State University, Ekpoma.
Both Orji Uzor Kalu and Prince Abaribe were sworn in as Governor and Deputy Governor of Abia in 1999, along the line they feuded so bitterly that Prince Abaribe was impeached by the Abia State House of Assembly days after he sent in his resignation letter by courier on March 7th, 2003, barely 2 months to the expiration of their 1st tenure.
Prince Abaribe ran for the governorship of Abia on the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) platform in 2003, but lost to Orji Kalu.
Prince Abaribe returned back to the PDP and ran for senate in 2007 and won, he was yesterday announced as the Minority Leader of the Senate as he starts his 4th tenure as the senator representing Abia South.
Theodore Ahamefule Orji was a career civil servant till he was made principal secretary and eventually Chief of Staff by then Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. In 2007, Orji Uzor Kalu bent over backwards when it became obvious that his preferred successor was not going to get his party, the PDP’s gubernatorial ticket, he formed a new political party Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and got Theodore Orji to run on that platform, President Obasanjo showed his unhappiness about this by getting his then “attack dog” EFCC to throw the then Abia Chief of Staff and PPA gubernatorial candidate into detention, such that he could barely campaign and was in detention when his election held. His boss Orji Uzor Kalu campaigned on his behalf and ensured his victory in a brand new political party while he was in detention. Thus, making Theodore Orji the first person in Nigeria to win a governorship election in absentia.
In June 2010, with so much pressure from the PDP at the national and his misunderstanding with Orji Uzor Kalu who was then the Chairman BOT of PPA, Governor Theodore Orji resigned his membership of the PPA and decamped to the PDP, which prompted the immediate resignation Kalu’s younger brother, Mascot, as Theodore Orji’s Chief of Staff. The battle line was drawn between Theodore Orji and Orji Uzor Kalu.
Theodore Orji completed his second tenure as governor in 2015 and was elected senator to represented Abia Central, he was again sworn in for his 2nd tenure as senator representing Abia Central Yesterday.
While his son, Chinedum Orji, was elected as Speaker Abia State House of Assembly a day before, Hon Chinedum Orji was also the immediate past majority leader of ASHA.
In November, 2016 Orji Uzor Kalu joined the APC. This year he contested for Abia North senatorial seat and won.
Yesterday, Orji Uzor Kalu, Theodore Orji and Eyinnaya Abaribe were all sworn in as the 3 senators from Abia state, as they exchange banters, beaming with smiles together, it’s hard to tell if they were the same bitter political rivals of yester years.
Welcome to Nigeria, where the first rule of politics is indeed SELF PRESERVATION with no PERMANENT ENEMIES.
Ehi’ Egharevba (JP)