The President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, has declared that the group will expose persons who conspired to ensure the conviction of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Yerima, however, appealed to northern leaders not to turn their back on Kalu because of his long standing affinity with the region.
He told newsmen at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday that Kalu’s problem was more of politics than corruption, for which he was jailed by the court.
According to Yerima, Kalu’s ordeal is largely about the 2023 elections, saying that Nigerian youths would watch the unfolding events.
Yerima asserted that the former governor’s strong showing in the 2019 election and his perceived closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari and those around him caused jittery in the camp of those positioning themselves to contest the 2023 election both within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and outside the party.
He said: “They see Orji Kalu as a potential threat based on the political permutation of the possibility of the presidency going to the South East come 2023 and they feel the best is to seize the opportunity to stop him.
“You know we don’t support the presidency leaving the North at this time and we still stand on that ground, but that’s not what I want to address today. We are aware that some persons, especially those within the APC never believed Orji Kalu will succeed in winning the senatorial election.
“In fact, they created so many obstacles to prevent him from getting the party’s ticket and when he eventually succeeded they conspired and mobilised forces against his winning the election proper but they are not Allah who decides; so he won the election with landslide.
“Yet they went after him again through the electoral tribunal but because Allah has destined him to be in the Senate, he triumphed at the appeal tribunal again. Yet, these enemies re-strategised and again came after him through this long-standing case and turned the table around. We all know the story,” he said.
Yerima added that in as much as he is not holding brief for Kalu, he must always speak the truth because it is only the truth that can stand for ages.
“I will always stand and speak the truth at all times no matter what the situation is because it is only the truth that can set us free. We told Kalu when he joined APC that this people will frustrate him. Ask him and he will confirm to you that we warned him. I told him that he will regret joining the party but he insisted he cannot be in a different Party against the President who have been his long standing family friend; he insisted that he wanted to work for the reelection of the president. We witnessed his huge contribution towards the reelection of the President even when people from the South East called him names
“If Orji Kalu is a criminal do you think these northern traditional rulers would have recognised him as their own by bestowing their revered titles on him? Of course, No! Though, we are not the court of law but the truth is like an open wound and the truth will always set us free.
“Allowing him to suffer in jail will give credence to those after him. Kalu is a friend of the North and we will stand with him against his enemies, against those working to destroy him because of politics. The North must not allow that to happen to him,” Yerima said.