Following the call by Nigerians from all Regions for the Zoning of the Senate President to the South East, has compiled seven important things that you probably don’t know about ex governor Orji Uzor Kalu, who has been tipped by several analysts to clinch the juicy seat if APC zones the number 3 position to the South East.
Orji Kalu is One of the Top Ranking Senators Elect in the 9th Senate.
Kalu, by virtue of his election on the platform of the now defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) into the 593-member House of Representatives in the July 4, 1992 National Assembly to herald the aborted Third Republic, is considered a ranking senator.
The ranking rules confer on former House members same privileges as former senators.
Kalu served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1992 to 1993 and held two key positions of deputy chairman of the Finance and Internal Affairs Committees. He moved the famous Dual-Citizenship Rights Bill in the House. After the military cut short the civil rule, he went back to consolidate his business concerns.
2. Kalu made history on the 18th April 2013 when he became the first black, non Head of State, after Nelson Mandela, to Address the British Parliament.
Speaking on the topic: ‘The historical plight and precarious future of Igbo people in Nigeria’, Kalu made a strong case against the continued institutional marginalisation of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
3. Like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell, Orji Kalu is one of the University Dropout Billionaires in the world.
Kalu dropped out of University during his final year due to injustice by the University of Maiduguri on his fellow students.
During his university days, owing to the goodwill he enjoyed among his schoolmates, Kalu was elected as a representative in the student union government (SUG) of the tertiary institution and eventually he served as President of the SUG. It was during one of the protests, tagged: “Ali Must Go’’ against the then Minister of Education, Col. Ahmadu Ali (retd.), that the student activist Kalu and others were expelled during the regime of Professor Jubril Aminu as Vice-Chancellor. After much pressure on the school’s Senate, Kalu was recalled, but he refused on the grounds that his expelled colleagues must also be recalled.
Since the school authority refused to yield to his request, Kalu moved on with his life. His expulsion from the university opened his eyes to the business opportunities in Maiduguri and as such he borrowed a token from his trader-mother to start palm oil trading in the city which grew to a multi-billion dollar conglomerate today.
4. On 29th may 1999, Kalu became the youngest Nigerian to be elected and sworn in as governor at 38 Years old, a record he still holds till today.
To the surprise of many, including the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, within six months in office, Kalu had already constructed six roads in Aba metropolis. This feat earned Kalu the title, “Action Governor” when Obasanjo visited Abia State on February 26, 2000. It is on record that Kalu is the first and only Nigerian governor to have been so christened by a sitting president. The energetic governor continued to execute more people-oriented projects across the state.
5. Kalu is the only Nigerian politician ranked by Forbes. This is due to the fact that unlike other Nigerian politicians with no known source of wealth, Kalu’s wealth can be traced to his several business ventures scattered all over the world. As acknowledged by forbes, Kalu made his money before venturing into politics.
According to Forbes 2017 ranking, Kalu is the richest man in the South East.
6. At 25, Kalu was appointed Chairman Borno water board and at 29 he was appointed Chairman, Cooperative and Commerce Bank. Till today, he remains the youngest Nigerian to be appointed to such positions.
7.Kalu has attended courses locally and internationally, including Advanced Management Programme (AMP153) at the Harvard University Graduate Business School and has won many awards, including Leon Sullivan Award by the World Bank, Washington, Special Award by the European Union, Industrialist of the Year by the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Mines (NACCIMA) and Humanitarian Award by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.