Former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia state has revealed why he has continued to support President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 election, just as he also recalled how he brought an impeached Ayodele Fayose to live with him for 90 days.
Kalu said this in a lengthy interview with The Punch saying President Buhari truly means well for the country and would focus more on the economy when he returns for a second term.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is not a bad product. He meant well for Nigerians. If you know the level of damage done to the economy of this country before he took over: the Central Bank of Nigeria was looted during the former President Jonathan’s administration.
“They raided the apex bank and took away the Sovereign Wealth Funds and other savings meant for future development of the nation’s infrastructure, health care, education, security and welfare of the citizens.
“If you know the level of economic decay inherited by the All Progressives Congress, you won’t describe President Buhari as an unsellable product. All the economic indices which were displayed to us by the past governments are fake.
“As a businessman, I am in a position to know. I am one of the 10 foremost businessmen in Africa; I have my facts. Nigeria’s economy was not doing well before President Buhari took over.
“As an employer of labour with over 9,000 employees, I know what has happened to Nigeria’s economy. Our problem is not political; we actually have serious economic problems confronting us as a nation,” he said.
Asked if he truly wanted Nigerians to vote for Buhari in 2019 despite complaints by the citizens, he noted that the president is not a perfect man.
“However as a leader, he is expected to do his best and leave the rest to the person that will take over from him after his tenure. Buhari, in another four years, will be able to perfect the rule of law and ensure that the economy start off on the right foot.
“If for instance he passes on the baton to an experienced politician like Orji Uzor Kalu in 2023, I will put the economy on the fast lane and the nation would witness rapid economic growth and development.
“Let me assure Nigerians that Buhari will focus his attention on the nation’s economy in his second tenure. We will experience a progressive economy because I will be involved too as a senior member of the APC. We will not allow Buhari to fail,” he assured.
On how he saved Fayose during the period the latter was impeached in his first term as governor, Kalu said: “I ensured that he sat comfortably in a car and was driven straight to my house on Victoria Island the very day he was impeached.
“He stayed with me there for 90 days, eating my food and taking my drinks. Before his arrival, I had to change the policemen attached to me and brought in new ones. Before the new ones took over, I drove Ayo Fayose into my house with my car around 1am and the new policemen did not know who I came in with.
“I drove him in through the back gate, entered the building through the backdoor, and led him upstairs. He made himself comfortable because there is even an indoor swimming pool and other facilities.
“It was after three months that I advised him to make himself available to the EFCC. I told him that he could not continue to live inside the house forever. I actually thought they wanted to kill him; that was why I harboured him in my house for so long.
“I told him that as long as he did not tell anybody that he was in my house, his life would be secured. I allowed him to make himself available to the EFCC because he was declared wanted.
“I ensured that all the foods and drinks he was taking while in the EFCC custody were coming from my house to avoid poisoning.”