Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe has narrated how he went through hell as a Deputy Governor
Abaribe, who was elected Deputy Governor in 1999 under Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, alleged Kalu and his mother made his stint as Deputy Governor hellish.
He chronicled his ordeal in his 333 page book titled: “Made in Aba, A life of coincidences.”
The book was presented to the public on Monday at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
Abaribe wrote: “On the matter of loyalty by ordeal, whereby people were said to swear allegiance on all sorts of objects, my experience was that some people around Kalu took it upon themselves to engage in invidious activities, purporting to be directed by him.
“To the extent that I knew, he never brought up any such conversation; nor did his mother. If by then they had cleverly outsourced that aspect to others, I leave that to others to fill their own stories.
“In my case, on the night before swearing in ton office, the Aba North Local Government Chairman informed me that Kalu’s people were not comfortable with me as I had not sworn to anything.
“According to him, since I claimed no interest in such activities because I was a devout Christian, he could take me to a prophet instead. To get him out of my hair, I acceded to the request Kalu’s younger brother, Uzor, came along too…
“Between the time we were elected in January, to the swearing-in by 29 May, 1999, two significant events occurred that should have foreshadowed our tenure in government for me, had I been more second sighted.
“Having been elected into office, with no house in the east, except my parents’ home in the village, the military administrator, Anthony Obi, provided each of us with a Peugeot 504 car and requested that I reside in the Government Lodge, pending our swearing in and taking over power. Kalu, who had a home in Aba, lived in his own house.
“Many of my political associates from Obingwa area, found it convenient to hang around the Government Lodge because I was there; there was a lot of free food and drinks available too.
“At one point, the same Local Government Chairman who took me to the prophet, came to inform me that Kalu’s mother wanted to see me. She lives at the famous 8, Nweke Street then.
“When I went to find out what it was all about, it turned out that it was a summons of sorts! According to her, she had gathered that we were loafing around in the Government Lodge, conspiring on how to remove her son from power. I was stumped!
“We had not yet been sworn in; not taken over power. I was puzzled and I told her so. She stated that she was advising me to go back to Lagos and only return when it was time to be sworn in. She was not advising me; she was ordering me to leave the Government House forthwith. Audacious misses the mark! The office of the Governor was to be two-pronged in Abia as I was discovering!
“The fact that I ignored Kalu’s mother’s admonitions did not improve my prospects with her. I instantly became a marked man. Stubborn became my name. I dared to defy the one and only Mother Excellency in the world!…
“The final incident that gave an inkling of what being a Deputy Governor was going to be like, occurred at the inauguration…In fact, when Orji Uzor Kalu’s mother majestically arrived with all the fanfare that went with her, a minor upheaval took place as people had to be moved around hastily to create a space for her.
“The outgoing Military Administrator, Colonel Anthony Obi, had provided me with the Deputy Governor’s convoy, complete with siren. I had arrived the stadium with panache with my wife, and taken up the seats earmarked for us.