*Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Whip of the 9th Senate speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday
In a political move that rubbishes the so-called fight against corruption in Nigeria and what many have described as “political abracadabra” of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the ruling party in the country, the embattled Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor-Kalu, returned to take his seat at the upper legislative chamber after his release from prison at the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Kuje, Abuja.
He was jailed over alleged misappropriation of Abia State funds when he was the governor between 1999 and 2007 under the prosecution of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who after many years got a judgement that sent Kalu to jail. The former Abia State governor who was alleged to have performed abysmally for the state when he was in charge left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the All Progressive Congress (APC) party.
There are indications that he may have crossed over to the APC to curry favour of both the party and President Muhammadu Buhari especially with the allegation that the fight against corruption of the APC government is mainly target at the opposition. The argument in political circles is that if Kalu who is also the publisher of Daily Sun and Telegraph newspapers remained in the PDP, he would not have enjoyed the judicial U-turn that happened in his case.
When he returned, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, announced Kalu’s presence on the floor of the upper legislative chamber at the resumption of plenary when he said, “This is a season of congratulations. On behalf of the Senate, I am congratulating the Chief Whip of the Senate and indeed the Chief Whip of the National Assembly. We thank God for His mercies for you to be here (again after release from the correctional centre). You are welcome.”
Lawan, who had earlier congratulated senators who marked their birthdays between the last plenary and Tuesday, wished the Chief Whip best of luck. Senator Kalu was jailed for 12 years on December 9, 2019 over corrupt practices by the Federal High Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeal but was released on June 4, 2020 after approaching the court that he was wrongfully detained.