I want to begin this piece with the quotation from Holy Bible by Mr Umeh Kalu SAN former Special Adviser (Legal), former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Abia State, in his “State of Abia: Wakeup call on Gov Ikpeazu” letter.
James Chapter 5 Vs. 1 – 6 says “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. (2) Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. (3) Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last few days. (4) Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. (5) You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (6) You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you”.
Indeed, this scriptural quotation aptly demonstrates one fact, which is: he lives in glass house should not throw stones. Now, another quotation which Ume Kalu failed to quote and therefore wasn’t able to ponder about in his long essay to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is, Matthew Chapter 7v4-5. It reads: “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold a beam is in thine own eye?
(5) “Thou hypocrites! First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”. Alas! Ume Kalu has left the plank in his eye and suddenly realised that he has a divine mandate to remove the beam in somebody’s eye. Inasmuch as I’m not trying to defend any misfeasance committed by any public office holder both serving and former, I make bold to state that Ume Kalu was part and parcel of this administration which he has suddenly taken arms against.
Ume Kalu was a special and powerful member of the TA Orji and later Okezie Ikpeazu administrations for many years before his tall ambition eased him out. His maddening desire to be the deputy governor and later flag bearer of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency as against the popular will caught him in the red lines. This is even as he had acquired stupendous wealth serving the governments.
Normally, this could not be accommodated by the Ikpeazu’s government which wanted him to accept the popular opinion. After all, Ume Kalu was a mere sit-around-the-court lawyer in Lagos before destiny discovered him. It was Barr James from Abia State that brought him to TA Orji to help sought things out in Lagos and Abuja.
Though, Ume Kalu made some bogus claims of his wide contacts in the judiciary of Lagos and Abuja, the phony claims didn’t take time to collapse on his head as day rolled by. His main chores of hanging around the vicinities of Igbosere, Ikeja, Surulere courts was later exposed. Though the governorship tussle between former Governor TA Orji and Chief Onyema Ugochukwu is now history, record shows what Ume Kalu is enjoying today i.e. his verbose wealth, SANship and in fact the so called clout (that made him become a voice in Abia) could be linked to the Orji family.
But why is he talking now? Records also show that he frustrated some of the agreements he claimed he co-signed because of pecuniary reasons. Lamentably, the weakness of the white man’s system of administration is that while the subordinates ravage and ruin the system, the boss takes the blame. In the African system of public administration, the erring subordinate goes down even before his boss is vilified or found wanting (that’s why sabotaging the system then was rare). The gods know who to strike at the appropriate time.
He said he was part of the signing of Osisioma Flyover papers five years ago, but did not say why he didn’t make stringent effort for its completion. His word “It may not be necessary to bring into context the propriety or otherwise of a flyover at the Osisioma interjection, but it is of utmost importance that you do everything possible to deliver this notorious project within the lifetime of your administration”. Ume Kalu that is a signatory to the Osisioma Flyover project now calls it “Notorious?” This is incredible!
Another pertinent point is his claim that he also co-signed the “road Contract Agreement some years ago, consisting of about thirty–three (33) kilometers”, saying that “This ambitious road contract is being handled by Tunnel End Limited and runs across the five (5) Local Government Areas of Aba North, Obingwa, Isialangwa North, Isiala Ngwa South and part of Osisioma”.
He added, “I am told that this project has attained 70% completion. I implore you to complete this project before the terminal date of your administration, as these inter-communal roads will greatly facilitate growth, development and ease of movement of goods and persons within those communities”.
Yet, Ume Kalu failed to pinpoint any vigorous effort he personally made in ensuring the projects were completed. He should know that those who engage in the silly game of subterfuge against their people or their government while rendering services to the same people or government are always the ultimate losers. It is mischievous and hypocritical to sit on the fence on a particular issue and later turn round to accuse some else of ineptitude.
It would have been enlivening if Ume Kalu had said in his letter that despite efforts he made as a signatory to the Contract Agreements, the governor deliberately delays them. Nonetheless, I know that such issues such as road projects and other infrastructures are being addressed by the administration.
But why didn’t Ume Kalu exploit several avenues available to him to get these issues sorted out before resorting to the public display of angst? Is it not all about the oncoming 2023 elections? Maybe, he thought that when these issues come to public domain, he would be exonerated? It should be noted however that work is ongoing in all these areas he mentioned. What is required is to encourage the government to expedite action on them to ensure their completion before the expiration of the administration in 2023.
Sadly, Ume Kalu may have forgetting that the roads he mentioned i.e. Aba/Owerri Road, the Aba/Port – Harcourt Road and the Ogbor Hill to Ehere and Ukpakri Roads including Abia Tower-Ossa-Umuahia are all federal roads. What has he done to convince his new party – the All Progressives Alliance (APC) and the federal government which it controls to dualise or work on them?
Besides, what mechanism or strategy did he formulate as one of the powerful Commissioners in the cabinet of TA Orji and later Okezie Ikpeazu to get these things he is now ranting about fixed? His lamentation or supposed worry for their completion is no doubt commendable, but surprisingly, he talks as if the roads he mentioned are no longer federal roads. Ume Kalu, whose duty is it to fix federal road?
I read through his letter trying to figure out where he would pen down how he expended the huge sums he collected to execute the numerous Abia cases at the courts (from the High Court and Appeal Court to the Supreme Court) and was disappointed. What is his source of sudden wealth? That story is hereby suspended for another day.
On his allegation that John Ndubuka was killed, it is pertinent to ask Ume Kalu why, as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, he did not prosecute immediately the suspect and his claimed accomplice (s). He waited for six years to tell this windy story of how he was asked to enter a Nolle to discontinue the trial of the prime suspect-the policeman who allegedly killed John Ndubuka?
This is hocus pocus because what he ultimately implies is that he obeyed his stomach rather than the law which he swore as the Attorney General of the State to defend, forgetting what Marcus Tullius Cicero; the 43rd BC Roman Statesman said “the good of the people is the highest law”. Therefore, his allegation should be dismissed.
Ironically, his deposition that Rt Hon Chinedum Orji is a child, whom Providence thrust Power on, is laughable, because it certainly shows that Ume Kalu is highly aggrieved. Providence must thrust something on somebody: be it power, wealthy, talent etc. And he, unwittingly, is pointing at himself.
As for his latest defamatory attacks, my submission is that those whom he defamed will certainly handle it their own way.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.