Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that the Igbo will provide qualitative leadership for Nigeria and Nigerians if given the opportunity to lead the country in 2015.
Kalu, the protem coordinator of Njiko Igbo, said he has no doubt that the economic fortune of the country would be turned around if a president of South-east extraction leads Nigeria.
The former governor spoke at a dinner with the Nigerian community in Belgium at Speidemberger Hotel Resort, Brussels on Friday.
He said anyone who will emerge president from the South-east will have dynamic leadership qualities that can turn around the economy.
Kalu decried the unfair treatment by the government to the people of the South-east when compared to other regions in all spheres of life.
Speaking on Njiko Igbo, Kalu described it as a non-partisan and apolitical movement conceptualised to correct the anomalies Ndigbo have suffered over the years.
He stated that the association is not in competition with other groups but playing a complimentary role to other established social, economic and political and cultural bodies, with the collective interest of Igbo sons and daughters at home and in Diaspora in mind.
He noted that what Nigeria needs now is a dynamic leadership that will be responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
He said Ndigbo, having excelled in various fields of endeavour, with qualified people who can bring their vast experiences in the private and public sectors into play if given the chance to rule the nation, should be given the nod to rule the country.
He said: “Igbos are the salt of the nation.
“Anywhere you don’t see Ndigbo, the economy is incomplete.”
Kalu said Njiko Igbo, in partnership with other stakeholders, is preparing a policy paper anchored on three focal areas - internal security, infrastructure and agriculture - for the nation.
He said this will serve as a manifesto for any Igbo presidential candidate in 2015.
He noted that the people of the South-east are not just clamoring for the zoning of the presidency to their region but are ready to change Nigeria for better, adding: “We absolutely believe in pragmatic strategies for rebuilding the nation.”
Kalu lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for deregistering some political parties, noting that in a democratic setting, only functional parties should be in existence so they could contribute constructively to governance.
He tasked the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attairu Jega, to conduct all elections in a day and ban everyone, including government officials, from the collation centres in future elections.
He decried the payment of money by politicians to the electorate in exchange for votes and admonished Nigerians on the need to participate in the political process by voting genuinely for leaders of their choice for a better Nigeria.
In his remarks, Mr. Nuhu Tadeh, a classmate of Kalu at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, lauded the courageous effort of Njiko Igbo in championing a genuine cause and providing a common platform for Ndigbo to seek for a chance to rule the nation.
Tadeh stated that with the challenges facing the country, there is no doubt that Nigeria needed someone with vast experience in the private and public sector to steer the affairs of the nation.
He said: “I believe in Dr. Orji Kalu, who has wide acceptability in all the regions of Nigeria.”
He advised Kalu to join the presidential race in 2015, stating that he is a detribalized Nigerian with wide network of contacts and goodwill across the geographical regions of Nigeria.
Dr. Ebe Ozua, a medical practitioner in Brussels, in his vote of thanks, appealed to Nigerians to live in peace and harmony.
Ozua commended Njiko Igbo for its noble efforts in mending fences and faces in the South-east in order to reposition Ndigbo and reaffirmed the support and commitment of Nigerians in Diaspora to any cause that will make Nigeria a great country.