The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abia has expressed joy over Friday’s judgment of the Supreme Court that voided the conviction of the Senate’s Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, for fraud.
The state Chairman of the party, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Umuahia that the judgment had exonerated Kalu from the alleged N7.65 billion fraud.
“The party is very happy that the apex court has set Kalu free. He can now go back to the Senate to continue to serve his constituency, Nigeria and humanity in general.
“With this judgment, the Supreme Court has shown that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
“The victory has brought joy to our party, Abia North, the entire Abia people and Nigerians of good conscience and justice,” Nwankpa said.
He further said that the party envisaged the victory “because we know that Kalu has a genuine defence”.
Also, Kalu’s Media Aide, South East, Maduka Okoro, expressed profound gratitude to God over the judgment.
Mr Okoro said that the judgment was in the interest of the nation’s democracy and justice.
“The judgment proved that Kalu was innocent of the allegation of fraud and an indication that truth and light shall triumph over darkness and injustice.
“It further shows that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man,” he said.
Mr Okoro noted that the victory would enable Kalu to return to the Senate and continue to pursue the execution of the over 20 development projects he attracted to his constituency.
“We are happy, all Abia people, the old, young and little children on the streets and entire Nigerians are jubilating over the development.
“We know that God will use Kalu to change the face of democracy in Nigeria,” he said, while thanking the nation’s media for “their objective coverage of the legal process”.
However, a legal practitioner and former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Umuahia branch, Nnamdi Eluwa, faulted the judgment, describing it as “funny”.
Mr Eluwa said that The Administration of Criminal Justice Act stipulates that a judge, who was elevated to the Appeal Court, could still conclude a matter he began before his elevation, with permission from the Chief Justice of the Federation.
Eze Eme Ogbu, the Traditional Ruler of Umuisi Autonomous Community (Kalu’s birthplace) in Bende Local Government Area, said he was excited over the judgment.
Mr Ogbu said: “I give God the glory. My community is very happy over the judgment but my joy will be complete, when I finally set my eyes on my son.”
According to him, the judgment has set the hitherto quiet community agog.
“Everybody is happy and the enitre community is in a joyous and celebration mood,” the monarch said.
Mr Kalu, who is representing Abia North Senatorial District, was alleged to have defrauded the state, while serving as governor between 1999 and 2007.
A Federal High Court in Lagos in December convicted and jailed him for 12 years.
But the apex court in its judgment quashed the judgment of the High Court on the ground that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
The panel held that Justice Mohammed Liman, who convicted Kalu, was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court, having been elevated to the Appeal Court.