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|Who Is Orji Uzor Kalu? US Ambassador's Research And Perspective by MadamExcellency: 5:09pm On Feb 25|
1. (U) This is Post's response to Department's request for information on Abia State Governor Orji Kalu who is to meet with A/S Walter Kansteiner September,2003.
2. (U) Orji Uzor Kalu is 44 years old. Both he and his wife hold "green cards" and their two daughters are AmCits. Kalu and his wife hold honorary degrees from US universities. Before entering his first term as governor on May 29, 2001, Kalu owned and led several international companies manufacturing or producing furniture, paper and vegetable oils. His business operations were last reported to earn around USD 20 million annually. Kalu has been dubbed the "Action Governor" by President Olusegun Obasanjo because of his ability to get projects and programs for Abia State going quickly soon after he assumed office. He is said to have close ties to former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida, who is also rumored to have steered lucrative contracts to Kalu's businesses during the military's rule. He is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but counts as a close friend the only Alliance for Democracy (AD) governor to win re-election in 2003, Lagos Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu. "Spontaneous" movements to put Kalu forward as a potential candidate for the presidency were launched before the just-completed 2003 elections and are already being reported for the 2007 elections. Kalu is ambitious, demanding, fearless, and decisive to the point of bluntness, but he keeps his promises, pays his debts and has a reputation for delivering the goods.
3. (C) Kalu is an Igbo and has, from his days as a student, espoused the notion that the Igbos should have their turn running Nigeria. He, like many southern governors and political players, has repeatedly called for "true federalism" as the solution to the problems of the nation.
From our conversations with contacts, what is understood by the term "true federalism" is a return to local (or at least regional) control of States' income and resources. As the system now functions, all income goes to the federal government to be parceled out to the States as the central government sees fit and for those projects the federal government wants to support. Most of the southern States, the almost exclusive source of the national income from oil and gas, have never been satisfied with this system and complain continuously. Kalu has reportedly used some of his own money to get needed projects off the ground in Abia. All the matters -- except debt relief -- that Kalu wishes to discuss relate to the issue of returning control of funds back to the States.
4. (C) On a recent trip to the US to address a gathering of Nigerian-Americans, Kalu brought up the fact that Abia State was saddled with paying back a crippling and unfair share of the national debt incurred during the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari. We have information that Kalu has been successful in past years in getting loans for the State to pay operating expenses such as salaries. During his months long struggle with his Deputy Governor Enyinnaya Abaribe, this was one of the main points of friction between the two, with Abaribe charging that Kalu was needlessly getting the State into uncontrollable debt. We do not have direct information on the current financial situation in Abia, but it is certain Kalu can not continue to finance out of his own pocket and may be looking for ways the USG could help get outside funding for his State.
|Re: Who Is Orji Uzor Kalu? US Ambassador's Research And Perspective by Osagyefo98: 5:10pm On Feb 25|
|Re: Who Is Orji Uzor Kalu? US Ambassador's Research And Perspective by MadamExcellency: 5:10pm On Feb 25|
To be continued
|Re: Who Is Orji Uzor Kalu? US Ambassador's Research And Perspective by MadamExcellency: 5:16pm On Feb 25|
If not for battle of the fittest with President Olusegun Obasanjo's ambition for third term. Tell me which Governor was better than Orji Uzor Kalu in his first term that Buhari vouched to support in 2009 should Obasanjo prevail in his third term project.
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