Chief Emeka Kalu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and
Director General of Atikulated Agenda 2019, was one of those who
persuaded former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to run for the
2019 election. Kalu, a former governorship candidate of Abia State
under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), spoke to
EJIKEME OMENAZU on Atiku’s emergence as the PDP presidential
candidate, among other issues. Excerpt:
As one of those who were behind Atiku Abubakar’s declaration for
the 2019 Presidency, how would you react to his recent emergence
as the PDP candidate at the party’s primaries involving about 12
It is by God’s grace and hard work that played out there. Alhaji
Atiku Abubakar at first did not want to get involved when I and few
other people approached him to run for the Presidency. He simply
said ‘I am not interested. I have tried it before and it never went
well’. But, we kept on begging him to come and save Nigeria, being
someone with the interest of this nation. After much pressure, he
accepted to do it and told us to go and make sure that the political
elite do not use this opportunity for their own private gains.
Atiku, the Waziri Adamawa, focused on the Rescue Nigeria project
and we as a support base mobilised across the nation to actualise
the New Nigeria dream. Today, here we are one down, one more
to go. This is because it is a national rescue project.
Atiku went from city to city declaring his intentions before elders
of our great party and Nigerians. No one else did anything close to
what he did. So, he deserves the ticket because of hard work. I
would also say that God’s grace found him worthy to lead us out of
the current government that is killing us.
How do you see the attitude of Atiku’s opponents since after his
victory at the primary?
I would describe them as perfect at sportsmanship. These are
worthy gentlemen who are committed to the national rescue
project. Nigeria needs such men who would stand by their worlds
and even work for their opponent’s success because it simply
means that they understand the sacrifice required of each Nigerian
in this enormous task ahead.
What is your take of his choice of a running mate from South East,
and specifically Peter Obi former Anambra State governor?
Wow! I have always believed that our incoming president, Alhaji
Atiku Abubakar, is a great strategist. But, he proved it to the whole
world that day Mr. Peter Obi was announced. Obi is the most
strategic individual for the position of the Vice President. He is
young, experienced in governance and politics, and even was the
best governor in his time. Till date, no other person has been able
to meet his records. Peter Obi is an economist per excellence. He
has no baggage to weigh him down as he left over N50 billion in
the state’s accounts before he handed over. He is not just an
economic manager, but also managed APGA all through to ensure
that power was not snatched from the party.
Pater Obi is also a dogged fighter who always wins. Remember,
among all the APGA governorship candidates of the South East
who went to court in 2003, only Peter Obi fought his way to
Government House and continued fighting till he completed his
The South East Governors’ Forum and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo
reportedly complained that Atiku did not consult them before
appointing Peter Obi as his running mate. How do you see their
Point of correction; South East political leaders of the PDP, not
Governors Forum, neither did Ohanaeze complain. Having said
that, I don’t think the complain was in order at all. This is because
the presidential candidate can only choose who he feels he can
work with comfortably. The position has not been zoned to the
South East. Even it was, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s own experience
under Obasanjo is enough to teach him that he must work very
carefully to avoid a tepid relationship with his deputy. Therefore,
the South East PDP didn’t act well in releasing that Press
How do you see ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement
of Atiku and the backing he received from the Northern ex-
Generals at the primary?
It is a step in the right direction and a very positive one. The
impact of Atiku’s efforts began to tell on everyone once he won. It
was a wildfire effect it had and Atikulated has become the
password for Nigerians. In fact, let me even ask you: Are you
OBILIGATED and ATIKULATED for a new Nigeria? I am sure you
are. Nigeria was on the verge of chaos, but the victory of Atiku
was a great ray of hope for everyone and Obasanjo saw this
instantly and keyed into the mantra. Obasanjo, the northern
governors and all of us have become Atikulated and Obiligated.
Soon, even APC leaders will begin to get Atikulated.
With the popularity of both Atiku Abubakar and President
Muhammadu Buhari in the North and the zones where their running
mates come from, to what extent would the outcome of 2019
presidential election be determined by the Niger Delta and the
Middle Belt in terms of voting patterns?
It is clear to you and all that President Muhammadu Buhari has
not been the best of Presidents. Instead of garnering popularity
across the country, he has become notorious and Nigerians are
Despite being the incumbent, Nigerians will vote him out. The Niger
Delta will support Atiku knowing that a PDP government will favour
them more. The Middle Belt on its part is the most hit in the
herdsmen attacks. So, do you truly think they will vote for anyone
other than Atiku?
How do you see the travel ban placed on some people said to be
corrupt by President Buhari through Executive Order 6?
Where was the EO6 all these while? Why did it bare its fangs and
teeth immediately Atiku won his primaries? The truth is that no one
knew that Atiku would win the primaries and they felt it was going
to be an easy victory against anyone who would emerge. But, once
he won, they knew it was time for war. But, it won’t work. Buhari
unfortunately thinks he is a military dictator. Nigerians will teach
him that there is no space for dictators at Aso Rock.
How do you see the crises arising from the primaries of some of
the political parties, especially the APC?
Simple, APC is on its way out. It is a party of confusion. Despite its
struggle to keep being relevant, it keeps failing. Everyone in APC is
desperate, unhappy and afraid. They are simply trying to tell the
world that the party is an avenue to win elections because it is
currently in control of the Federal Government, nothing else. But,
all that will be history come May 29, 2019.
Chief Emeka Kalu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and