Orji Uzor kalu, former governor of Abia state, has claimed that he almost eradicated corruption during his reign at the helm of the state between 1999 and 2007.
Although Kalu no longer has a good relationship with Theodore Orji, his successor, he says he has no regrets influencing Orji’s emergence. He also blamed the poor performance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election on greed.
“I don’t regret endorsing Theodore Orji. I don’t regret that God used me as an instrument for him to be there,” he said in an interview with Channels Television.
“When I was governor, I paid salary on the 25th of every month. I made sure that our obligations to our contractors were made. We didn’t spend what we didn’t have. We almost eradicated corruption.
“There is a public record, my entire budget was 17 billion a year until I left; the biggest budget I had was N31 billion and as a state, we provided free education, free medical services to all pregnant women and children.”
Responding to a question on what he would have done differently if given another opportunity to be governor, Orji said looking back at his time in office, his only regret is focusing on the poor at the expense of the rich.
“I was governor at 38, maybe where I went very bad, I was only thinking about the masses on the street; I wasn’t thinking about the comfort zone of the rich people. I was all out for the poor people in the street,” he said.
“If I am given another opportunity I will combine my politics between the poor and the rich. I will like us to have the rich, consult them, so we can discuss like I was discussing with the poor.
“The greatest mistake I made was eliminating the elite totally it couldn’t have cost me anything to call them like I was calling the labour conference and say this is the amount of money we have, tell us how we are going to do it. I could have just formed the committee of the elite.”
Speaking further, Orji accused the PDP of rigging the election in different parts of the country, saying: “Apart from the Enugu and Ebonyi states where PDP had very good outing, every other state in the southeast was rigged election.
“Somebody in presidency had a lot of interest in Abia, a lot of interest in Rivers, a lot of interest in Bayelsa and that was why they rigged.
“The result the PDP had in the presidential election, I will speak about Abia because I was there, the election did not reflect the voting pattern of the people in anyway.
“PDP did not win the election in Aba, APC won. The people were angry because of the attitude of TA Orji and the occasional interference of the president’s wife. So the people did not vote PDP in Abia.”