KALU, ABARIBE SET TO SQUARE IT UP AGAIN
Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe were mutual friends. At least, that was what we were made to understand at the beginning of the present political dispensation in 1999, when Orji Uzor Kalu sought to govern Abia State and picked Eyinnaya Abaribe as his running mate.
In accordance with that desire, the two men who were members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) later contested and won the governorship election of the state on the platform that PDP and began to govern Abia State.
At first, the relationship was cordial while everything was smooth sailing, both men enjoying the fruit of their mutual relationship, until somewhere along the line something went wrong and their friendship became sour, and they could no longer manage themselves. In consequence, Orji Uzor Kalu sought the support of his state legislative council and got Enyinnaya Abaribe impeached as Deputy Governor of the state. He later picked another person as his replacement.
But Abaribe did not give up. He did not surrender. He picked the remnant of his life and continued to soldier on. In 2003, he decided to go to the National Assembly and picked the ticket of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for Abia South Senatorial District. He contested and won the final election. Since then, Abaribe has been in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
On his part, Orji Uzor Kalu, on completion of his two term tenure as Governor of Abia State in 2007, left the PDP and formed his own political party, called the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA). On the platform of that political party he contested the 2007 Presidential election, but lost.
Since that time, Orji Uzor Kalu has been in the political wilderness until last year when he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Early this year, Kalu picked the ticket of that party for Abia North Senatorial District, contested and won election to the Senate.
Now, both Orji Uzor Kalu and Enyinnaya Abaribe are squaring up again, meeting together, not as the Governor and his Deputy, as the boss and his lieutenant. They are now Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with equal status. But they belong to two different political parties, the APC and the PDP respectively.
Interestingly, both Orji Uzor Kalu and Enyinnaya Abaribe have been picked by their respective political parties to play two crucial roles in the Senate. While Kalu was nominated by the APC as Senate Majority Whip, Abaribe was was given the crucial role by the PDP, as Senate Minority Leader. These are very powerful positions.
The implication is that at every meeting of the principal officers of the Senate, the two men must be there, looking at each other, eyeball to eyeball, presenting and arguing their positions from two different perspectives, in accordance with the interests of their respective political parties.
The good side of it however is that both Orji Uzor Kalu and Enyinnaya Abaribe come from the same geopolitical zone and from the same state. Though they may belong to two opposing political parties, nevertheless, they are in the Senate not of their own accord, or for their own selfish interests, but primarily for the interest of those who sent them there, the group of people they represent.
In consequence therefore, it is expected that the two top politicians would be approaching issues with maturity and objectivity, having in mind the interest of those they profess to champion their cause, rather than start boxing each other at every meeting of the Senate Principal Officers in the name of political party supremacy.