As former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu, clocks 57 on Friday, April 21, we share eight interesting facts about the peripatetic politician.
- He is a university drop-out
He dropped out of the University of Maiduguri where he was studying political science due to student activism. The young Kalu participated in some demonstrations against the system which got him suspended, after which he left school to build his own business.
- Started business with $35 borrowed from mom
He started his multi-million dollar business with just $35 at age 19. The money was lent to him by his mother. His SLOK Holding has grown big it is now a conglomerate which has other companies under it. Some of the companies are Ojialex Furniture Company, SLOK Nigeria Limited, SLOK United Kingdom Limited, Adamawa Publishers Limited, SLOK Vegetable Oil, SLOK Paper Factory, SLOK United States Incorporated, SLOK Ghana, Togo, Cotonou, Guinea, South Africa, Liberia, Botswana, SLOK Korea, Supreme Oil Limited, SLOK Airlines, Sun Publishing Limited, and First International Bank Limited.
- Became millionaire at 20
He attained the rare feat of becoming a millionaire by the time he was just 20 years old due to the diversified nature of his business.
- Received National Merit Award at 26
Receiving the National Merit Award at age 26 in 1986 is another incredible feat achieved by him. A few of his other awards are the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce’s Industrialist of the Year, the Humanitarian Award of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s Humanitarian Club, the Volunteer Award of the International Association of Volunteers, the National Merit Award, the EU Special Award in Brussels, and the World Bank Leon Sullivan Award.
- He has university certificates
He has a certificate from the Harvard University and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Maiduguri from which he earlier dropped out.
- He is a media mogul
Kalu is the chairman of two big Nigerian newspapers, the Daily Sun, and New Telegraph. Nothing could make one attain this position except with the love for the media and an interest in its business side.
- Seventh governor of Abia State
His governorship tenure from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007 makes him the seventh governor of the state. He took over from Lt. Colonel Anthony Obi and handed over to Theodore Orji.
- Contested the presidency
He contested for the supreme political position in Nigeria under the flagship of the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA) in 2007, losing to the now late Umaru Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As at that time, he was also the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees.
- Dumped PPA for APC
Kalu left the PPA and joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in November 2016, making it its third political party since 1999. He was governor of Aba on the PDP platform.