Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Ahmed Wase, has asked Nigerian politicians with prison experience to regard it as a badge of honour.
Wase led the principal officers of the House on a visit to the Abuja residence of Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who recently regained his freedom from Nigeria Correctional Centre, Kuje.
He said: “If you are a good politician you should be willing to taste prison experience because it will come to you in very many dimensions. That happened to us sometimes past when we were being chased and humiliated and he asked us to be resolute and face the issues as they are.
“My leader, late Chief Solomon Lar, told me not to fear as a politician to go to prison. He told me that going to prison is a badge of honour.
“He reminded us of how he was sentenced to over 90 to 150 years in prison. He told us that as leaders there is always judgment that could be passed.”
Wase said the leadership of the House was in Kalu’s residence “to commiserate with you over what happened and your incarceration. As a politician I want you to take it as one of those things. First, we congratulate you and urge you to put everything before God and believe it is part of our destiny.
“As our leader we want you to appreciate what God has done for you. Use it for the positive development of our country’s judicial system. Use it in the interest of humanity.
“I saw your comments and they were very responsible and intelligent because you said you will use your experience to pursue the reform of the judiciary and justice system in Nigeria. We are here to commiserate with you and to encourage you never to be weakened by what happened to you.”
In his response, Senator Kalu thanked the delegation and explained that “these six months in prison has given me a lot of encouragement about the unity of the country. When you go inside there, you do not know who is Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. Everybody inside there is one family.
“This is not a time for speech making, it is a time for prayers. Our country needs a lot of prayers and forgiveness. Politicians have to find time to forgive each other so that the masses can get democratic benefits.”
He described the visit as an exceptional act of love because “you could have said what are we going there to do? We will see him in the National Assembly tomorrow. But you have graciously led this delegation to visit me.
“I want this friendship to continue whereby we are always there for one another and we are there for our people. We need to support our people so that our people can know that we represent them.”