*2023: HURIWA condemns smear campaign targeting Orji Uzor Kalu*
*HURIWA to issue report card on national law makers in December 2022:*
Prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Wednesday, affirmed that the lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District for e-election in 2023 Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of his primary mandate to his constituents, saying that the lawmaker has consistently stood by his people since he was constitutionally elected to the National Assembly in 2019.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, condemned smear campaigns against the former governor of Abia State by some politically motivated critics such as one Emenike Iroegbu and his co-travellers.
The group noted that contrary to the malicious statements peddled around, Senator Orji Kalu’s position and contribution to the assent to the 2022 Electoral Act is not hidden from any conscientious fellow.
The lawmaker was amongst the 52 senators who on July 15th voted in the red chamber for the Independent National Electoral Commission to seek clearance from the Nigerian Communications Commission before transmission of results electronically.
Kalu and the other senators had debated a clause-by-clause consideration of section 52 (3) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, regarding the electronic transmission of results. Kalu and the other lawmakers had argued that there is no sufficient network coverage all over Nigeria and wanted the assurances of the NCC so that some parts of the country, especially in the South-East won’t be disenfranchised.
“In fact, the Senate’s Chief Whip in the buildup to primaries of political parties had appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the Amended Bill seeking to enable statutory delegates to vote at the conventions and congresses of political parties as outlined in Section 84 (8) of the now assented bill.
“That Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is a thoroughbred democrat who has remained politically relevant in the last 23 years is not questionable. That he is a lover of his people whom he is passionate about and whom he represents at different levels of governance is also not subject to controversy,” HURIWA’s Onwubiko stated.
Continuing, Onwubiko said, “In terms of constituency projects, Senator Orji Kalu outperforms every other senator in the South-East if you take a survey from conscientious persons in the zone despite that all the federal lawmakers are given the same amount for constituency projects. Without doubt, Senator Kalu has done so much when it comes to road projects, building and equipping of schools and hospitals; he has done a lot for his people in all entirety.
“HURIWA has taken note of the contributions of Senator Kalu in the last couple of years and make bold to say that the lawmaker has represented his people well especially in the area of introducing bills in the red chamber that are beneficial to the people of Abia North as well as the entire country. We are particularly delighted that the law makers has been at the forefront of providing soft grants to small and medium scale businesses in Abia State and has consistently funded through his Foundation the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation dozens of indigent but brilliant students from Abia state on foreign funded medical and specialised all tuitions paid and all expenses paid medical training in foreign jurisdictions. In July about 50 Abia youths got subsections and scholarships to study medicine abroad.
“That the senator made an argument over the Electoral Amendment bill last year on the electronic transmission of results doesn’t translate to him not representing his people qualitatively. Emenike Iroegbu and his co-travellers are wrong.
“One of the politicians must have hired his services to run down the senator as if there is sufficient coverage. Till tomorrow in some places in the South-East, it is only MTN that is active. There are places in the South-East that it is only Glo that works. So, the coverage in terms of communication is till limited and the senator’s argument is germane.
“HURIWA warns Emenike Iroegbu and his cronies to stop the smear campaign against Senator Orji Kalu because of his 2023 senatorial ambition. The people have the inalienable right to determine who should be re-elected or not. That right resides in them through the ballot boxes and not any alleged political jobber on a dark propaganda. We concede that the said Emenike Iroegbu has his constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech but he needs to avoid spreading half truths, innuendos and outrightly malicious and unsubstantiated allegations. We are in the process of documenting and synthesising the legislative contributions of South East Senators and from our preliminary findings, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu stands the chance of making it to the tops by the time the organised human rights community in Migeria will come up with the comprehensive report on December 10th 2022 being the International Human Rights Day.”
October 12, 2022
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.