Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu, has advised President Muhammdu Buhari to initiate policies and legislations that will bail Nigeria out of the current economic recession.
Orji told newsmen in Umuahia on Friday on the sideline of a reconciliatory meeting organised in his honour by an Umuahia sociocultural organisation, called Igurube-Egwuasa.
He expressed regrets that the recession had resulted in the closure of many companies and manufacturing concerns, while many industries were producing below capacity.
The former governor also advised the president to introduce “stimulus” that could help to stimulate the manufacturing and industrial sectors of the nation’s economy.
“The president should push for an emergency law that would help to stimulate economic growth and bring the country out of recession.
“The moment the manufacturing sector attains full-capacity production, there will be less dependence on importation and this will shore up the value of the naira,” he said.
Kalu said that the activities of Niger Delta militants further aggravated the nation’s dwindling revenue, leading to a full-blown recession.
He said that he first noticed the signs of economic recession in the country in 2014, when the federal government borrowed to pay the salary of federal civil servants. “At that time, I raised the alarm that Nigerian economy had gone into recession but nobody believed me, instead, I was abused and castigated,” he said.
Kalu, founder of Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA, after defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the twilight of his administration, said that the party was still relevant in the nation’s politics. “PPA is not struggling, it is as good as other parties in the country,” he said.
The PPA’s senatorial candidate for Abia north also reacted to Thursday’s National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal judgment which dismissed his petition in favour of Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa of PDP.
He said the tribunal, headed by Justice James Abundaga, “erred in law” in its judgment that his petition lacked merit.
“The tribunal erred in law but I will seek the opinion of a higher court. We will appeal the judgment.
“And I am confident that another court will have a different opinion from that of the tribunal in our favour,” he said. On the reconciliatory meeting, Kalu said that he had forgiven all those who offended him politically or otherwise, including his successor and immediate-past governor, Sen. Theodore Orji.
The former National Chairman of PPA, Chief Larry Essien, who was at the meeting, commended the conveners and expressed delight over their disposition to enthrone peace in the area. Essien urged Ndigbo to unite and pursue their common objective of producing the next president in Nigeria of Igbo extraction.
He said that Kalu, who he described as a prominent and detribalised Nigerian, “represents the future of Ndigbo,” and asked the people to rally support for him.
The other speakers included a former Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Tony Ukasanya, the paramount ruler, Ibeku Ancient Kingdom (Umuahia), Eze Samuel Onuoha, Chief Laz Onwuneme (Igwe Ohuhu) and the Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku, Chief Uche Akwukwaegbu.
They all appealed to Kalu to forgive them for having at various times abandoned him when he needed their support, especially during his political face off with Sen. Orji.
“We are very sorry for all our weaknesses and sins against you. We know how you defied all odds and invested your resources to make our son, Theodore Orji, the governor.
“We apologise to you and ask for your forgiveness for all we did against you rather than being grateful to you,” Akwukwaegbu said.