Orji Uzor Kalu: Biography, Networth, family life, achievements
Orji Uzor Kalu is a prominent Nigerian politician and businessman who has been involved in various sectors of the economy and public service. He is currently the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District and the Chief Whip of the Senate. He was also the former Governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007.
Early life and education
Orji Uzor Kalu was born on 21 April 1960 in Abia State, Nigeria. Orji Uzor Kalu is the son of Johnson Uzor Nesiegbe Kalu and Eunice Kalu. He attended primary school at Christ the King School (CKC) Aba, and Government College, Umuahia. After his secondary education, he went to Barewa College, Zaria, and then transferred to the University of Maiduguri to study Political Science.
He started his business career at the age of 19, after being expelled from a university for leading student protests. He borrowed $35 from his mother and began trading commodities like palm oil, rice and sugar. He later expanded into furniture manufacturing, transportation, banking, oil trading, media and aviation. He founded SLOK Holding, a conglomerate with interests in various countries across Africa, Europe, Asia and America.
Entrance into politics
Orji Uzor Kalu entered politics in 1991, when he joined the National Republican Convention (NRC) and contested for the governorship of Abia State. He lost the election but remained active in politics. He joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998 and won the governorship election in 1999. He was re-elected for a second term in 2003. As governor, he implemented several developmental projects and policies in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and security.
Orji Uzor Kalu left the PDP in 2006 and formed his own party, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA). He ran for president in 2007 under the PPA platform but lost to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP. He later returned to the PDP in 2011 but left again in 2014 to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). He contested for the senatorial seat of Abia North in 2019 under the APC and won. He was also appointed as the Chief Whip of the Senate.
Orji Uzor Kalu has a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes. He is the founder of Slok Holding, a conglomerate with interests in various sectors, such as oil, banking, media and manufacturing. He has also served as the governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007 and is currently a senator representing Abia North Senatorial District. He is one of the richest politicians in Nigeria and owns several properties and luxury cars.
His legal battles and issues with EFCC
Orji Uzor Kalu has faced several legal challenges in his political and business career. He was accused of corruption and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) while he was governor. He was arraigned in court several times but was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2016. However, he was re-arraigned by the EFCC in 2018 and convicted by a Federal High Court in 2019. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment but was released by the Supreme Court in 2020 on technical grounds.
Orji Uzor Kalu’s family and social life
Beyond his public and professional achievements, Kalu is also a devoted family man and a socialite who enjoys the company of his friends and associates. Kalu is married to Ifeoma Ada Menakaya, whom he met in 1989 at a friend’s wedding. They have four children: Neya, Olivia, Michael, and Nicole. Kalu is very proud of his children and often shares their accomplishments on his social media platforms. For instance, he celebrated his daughter Neya’s graduation from the University of Buckingham in 2016 and her wedding to Lawrence Iyere in 2017. He also congratulated his son Michael for graduating from the American University of Nigeria in 2018 and his daughter Nicole for graduating from the University of Arizona in 2019.
Kalu is also very close to his mother, Eunice Uzor Kalu, who celebrated her 90th birthday in 2018. He described her as his “pillar of strength” and “source of inspiration” in a heartfelt tribute. He also revealed that his mother taught him the values of hard work, honesty, and generosity that have guided him throughout his life.
Besides his immediate family, Kalu also maintains a cordial relationship with his extended family and his hometown of Igbere in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. He regularly visits his relatives and participates in community events and projects. He has also built several schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges in Igbere and other parts of Abia State as part of his philanthropic efforts.
Kalu is also known for his social life and his friendship with many prominent personalities in Nigeria and abroad. He has hosted and attended several parties, weddings, birthdays, and other occasions with dignitaries such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Governor Ayo Fayose, Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (his younger brother), Chief Arthur Eze, Chief Emeka Offor, Chief Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson), among others. He has also met with world leaders such as former US President Bill Clinton, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, among others.
Orji Uzor Kalu’s achievements
Orji Uzor Kalu is a man of many achievements and a role model for many Nigerians. He has shown that with hard work, determination and vision, one can rise from humble beginnings to become a leader in business and politics. The following are some his achievements:
- He is currently the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District.
- He is the founder and chairman of SLOK Holding, a conglomerate with interests in shipping, banking, oil trading, manufacturing and media.
- He owns the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers, which are among the most widely circulated papers in Nigeria.
- He has won several awards and recognitions for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities, both locally and internationally.
- He was elected as the Governor of Abia State. He served two terms as governor, from 1999 to 2007, during which he implemented various developmental projects and reforms in the state.
- He founded the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) party, which he later left to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
- He was also appointed as the Chief Whip of the Senate, a position that makes him one of the principal officers of the upper legislative chamber.
In conclusion, Orji Uzor Kalu is not only a successful politician and businessman but also a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. He balances his professional and public responsibilities with his family and social commitments. He is indeed a role model for many Nigerians who aspire to achieve greatness in their chosen fields.
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