During his prime days as Governor of Abia State, the Senator representing Abia North at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Orji Uzor Kalu, is a toast of many politicians in Nigeria, most especially, within the south-east region.
He made a feat by not just becoming the youngest governor in Nigeria at age 39 but going on to serve two terms between 1999-2007.
Years ago, if a soothsayer had told him that he would be in jail to celebrate his 60th birthday, the astute politician would have debunked the vision vehemently. He would believe that he is a strong politician with a powerful pedigree.
His affiliations with the ruling All Progressive Congress party leadership and his filial relationship with President Buhari are evidence for his reasons not to believe.
With all these factors, he could not escape the wrath of the law. Kalu was convicted by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday, December 5, 2019, and sentenced to 12 years in prison for defrauding Abia State using his Slok Holding to divert N7.65 billion.
On Tuesday, April 21, the astute politician and Chairman of Slok Holdings sauntered into the league of sexagenerian amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Observers had thought favour seekers and political associates would have remembered him by showering encomium for reaching such a milestone on earth.
Alas, he was forgotten in a hurry as nobody placed an advertorial to celebrate him apart from his immediate family.
If he was not in prison, newspaper advertorials and wishes would have been flying around the media space. Many cows would have been slaughtered with choice wines flowing ceaselessly, friends and political associates would have been lodged at 5-star hotels.
His constituents would have flooded his country home at Igbere, Abia State to celebrate with him. His friends would have opted to throw a high-octane 60th birthday soiree for him in Lagos, Abuja, London, New York, and Dubai. To his chagrin, he has been deserted by favour seekers, some friends, and even associates.
A close source divulged that Orji Kalu is currently learning the hard way. By the time he serves his jail term, he would decipher his true friends from his enemies. Many observers are of the opinion that a good and kind-hearted man like Kalu deserves to be celebrated even in trying times.