Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu
Odimegwu Onwumere submits that for the Igbo as a race to assert their place within the national equation, unity is first a factor
Unity is something that is essential in the Igbo mythology. This is why every family, kindred and village in ala-Igbo, always meet in their different soirees to discuss issues bothering on their welfares. The Igbo knows the importance of unity, and the forebears had a proverb that says, no one can break a bunch of broom, but it is easy to break just one broom.
For the umpteenth time, the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, is calling on the Igbo to unite, irrespective of their political affiliations and associations. He has been reaching out to Igbo people both at home and in the Diaspora. From Cambodia to Canada- he has not hidden his voice for this noble act. He is of the belief that the Igbo might not have gotten it right in the past, but are capable of getting it right this time. All it will take is just unity.
What makes his call unique is the neutral position he has taken in making sure that this is achieved. But this does not make him not to support any political party in Nigeria that would zone the 2015 presidential ticket to Ndigbo. This is what Kalu sees as the fundamental objective of his intervention, since Ndigbo are not in dearth of credible and dynamic persons that the presidency of the country can be entrusted on.
Being over qualified to be president of Nigeria and with their wealth of entrepreneurship, Ndigbo can ever boast of the sagacity and dexterity to lead Nigeria. This is the bane of Kalu: why a people with such charisma cannot be allowed to mount the exalted number one seat in Nigeria’s political positions. And that it is time Ndigbo came together and avoid trading blames of the past that seemingly can never re-emerge in the existence of man.
Kalu would tell anybody who doubts the stuff the Igbo are made of that they have made name in virtually all the areas of man’s endeavours. Is it in the business, politics, academia and benevolence- the Igbo has always held the mace, but has not been allowed the pronouncedly lead Nigeria.
In the area of doing everything humanly possible for the wellbeing of Nigeria, the Igbo has always put in its legs; they have always expressed their republican nature in the amalgam that is called Nigeria by voting people of different ethnic backgrounds overwhelmingly.
Amongst others, they voted for Chief M.K.O. Abiola (when he was alive) and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1993 and 1999/2003 presidential elections. They have also shown the same affability in them to President Goodluck Jonathan by mobilising and voting for him without blemish in the 2011 elections and have stood by him till date, in affirming the Igbo aphorism that says, Igwebu ike.
But there is chagrin on the face of Kalu that the Igbo cannot always be in unity, only when they want to support an ‘outsider’. They have to support their own and guide their integrity with every thud of responsibility.
For this reason, from the USA to UK, Kalu has been mobilising for the unity of the Igbo. Many people have expressed and given him their support for this Igbo unity crusade, while few persons are still swimming in the pool of political brigandage against their Igbo kiths and kins, because of the infinitesimal derivations they get from the powers that are, especially in Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power.
Ndigbo have to parley without equivocation for their unity. If it is not Kalu today that is calling for this unity with the pet project called Njiko Igbo, who would do better. Ndigbo must solicit for the support of this unity project with unflinching support to the Igbo cause. No matter how anybody might be looking at it, Kalu has always fought for a selfless cause. One was when he rocked as the president, Student Union Government of the University of Maiduguri, Borno State.
It could be recalled that he refused the offer by the school authority to pardon him alone during the remonstration of the SUG that saw to many students hounded out of the school.
Just as he is going everywhere telling the Igbo to come together and unite, so also he refused to be solely pardoned by the University of Maiduguri, saying unless everyone involved in the match was pardoned.
His function in shopping for the formation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) cannot be easily forgotten. The likes of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, late S.M. Afolabi, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Atiku Abubakar and Aliyu Gwarzo, amongst others would always thumb up for Kalu for his political wizardry.
Today, the party has become a party that has produced the highest political office holders since democracy was restored in the
country in 1999. It is therefore very aplomb to applaud the commitment of Kalu in making sure that the Igbo is united to further the promotion of Nigeria. Kalu has got what it takes to unite the Igbo no matter the contrary opinion. He has got the contacts beyond party and ethnic linings.
•Onwumere, Poet/Author is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes in Rivers State