The Alaafin of Oyo in Oyo State, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi (III), has described the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo as “a moving train” that former Governor of Abia state, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu was able to cross.
He said it takes courageous man like Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to step on toes, and powerful ones like that of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Kalu was one of the few people with courage to confront Obasanjo, whom we know as a moving train.”
Oba Adeyemi who spoke today when Kalu paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in Oyo, said that he had followed Kalu even before he became governor and knew that Kalu had always been a courageous man that would not mind saying the truth even at a great risk to his life.
Oba Adeyemi briefly recalled the many face-offs Kalu had during his tenure as governor with the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, saying that he was once caught in the crossfire between Kalu and Obasanjo.
Adeyemi, who revealed a secret he said he had been keeping for years, said Kalu helped him in running his empire with the provision of funds, adding: “In your eight years in government, you did very well.
“You had money before you became governor so it wasn’t that you went into politics to look for money.
“In fact, I wanted to confer him with a chieftaincy title but he ran away.
“And one thing he did not want me to disclose while he was governor was that he gave me a lot of money to run my own empire and government.
“In so many instances, you stepped on toes. That is the attribute of a courageous man.
“He even confronted Obasanjo, a moving train. I ran into one of their face-offs.”
Oba Adeyemi prayed for Kalu after his speech in which he also eulogised Kalu for establishing so many businesses for Nigerians and even foreigners to benefit from.
He asked God to embrue Kalu with long life so he could enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Kalu, who went on the trip with Senator Emmanuel Onwe, Bayo Fatussin (CEO of House J), Hon. Chibuike Jonas, Hon. Edozie Mbam and Akinniyi Babatunde, said he was in Oyo to “pay homage to my father”.
Kalu thanked Oba Adeyemi for standing by him throughout his “trauma” in Abia State as governor.
He said this was more so during his many confrontations with Obasanjo.
He said he was in Ibadan to deliver the Centenary Lecture of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oyo State chapter and felt it would not be right not to see the eminent paramount ruler.
He admonished Nigerians to continue to co-exist in peace.
He said Nigerians should see the wisdom in the decision of God to put them together into one country, adding: “We should be tolerant of our religious and language differences.
“Diversity should be our strength and should not put us in disarray.
“European countries are acquiring other countries.
“But in our own case we want to break up.
“God knows why He made us this way and why He put us together so we should maximise our size and diversity.”
Kalu said that with the several challenges facing the country, it has become important to support those in leadership positions.
“Once somebody is elected, he needs the support of all, irrespective of parties, religious and tribal differences.
“Let us give our leaders the opportunity to showcase what they have.”
Kalu prayed to God to grant Oba Adeyemi long life.