Who Is Afraid Of Orji Uzor Kalu? By Prof Akin Femi



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Former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu is a freeborn citizen of Nigeria. Thus, he is imbued with the rights, privileges and responsibilities that inure to all Nigerian citizens, including freedom of association.

A few days ago, an assortment of characters, led by the Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, marched on the headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at Wadata Plaza, Abuja, primarily to declaim their visceral hatred and fear of Dr Kalu under the veneer of protesting his purported efforts to rejoin the PDP. The shady and duplicitous attributes of these characters are not hidden from the Nigerian people. That they are led on this disgraceful display of ignorance and squander of the people’s time and resources by the very patron saint of ignorance himself, Governor Orji, is not in the least surprising. But the willingness of members of the National Assembly, including, emphatically, distinguished senators of the republic, to participate, openly and vocally, in this extraordinary disadventure, brings unmitigated opprobrium to that assembly and further exposes the colossal failure of leadership in Abia State.

Today, Abia State languishes in conditions of absolute neglect and degradation. Life for 99% of its citizens has seen a steady deterioration for nearly 6 years. They are being pushed to a state of existence which is only marginally better than existence in the Stone Age. Ask Abians whether they are better off today than they were 6 years ago and you will get a measure of the despair and hopelessness that presently prevails in God’s Own State. The cascades of priorities bearing upon the leadership of Abia State are urgent and overwhelming. These are the priorities that the Abia leadership has abdicated for over 5 years and has chosen to dedicate itself to frivolities and shadow-chasing.

There is not in existence any record of evidence of an emergency summit called by these men in order to brainstorm and find practical solutions to the practical problems of Abia State. They have marched against neither poverty nor unemployment. Rather, the senatorial indifference to constituency needs is matched by gubernatorial excess, aggrandizement and mental malady. Personal vengeance has been raised to official policy, complete with budgetary allocation and out-of-state travel and estacode for its prosecution – against one man. What a tragedy for Abians!

Governor Orji has taken a prime position among his peers as a man who makes astonishingly mighty efforts over small things. Both as a man and as a leader, it is virtually impossible to point to any mark of distinction he has made in nearly seven decades of his existence. Treachery is a small thing, so is vendetta, irrational fear and inordinate ambition. His personal history is replete with stark examples of the superlative efforts he has made in furtherance of these belittling traits. For a man against whom thousands of the citizens over whom he presides as a governor jeered and abused in open stadium for his grand failure to now lead a coterie of chequered characters to protest against the unknown political intentions of one man is a clear measure of the depths of sand into which Abia State has been ground by its small minded leaders.

Dr Kalu has not made either a public or private declaration of his intention to rejoin the PDP. What he has made public, however, is the commitment of his undivided attention to the task of promoting the political cause of Ndigbo towards a realistic stake in the upcoming presidential politics of 2015. In that direction, he has instigated the formation and propagation of the objectives of a non-partisan political association called Njiko Igbo. He has hosted meetings and congresses of Njiko Igbo both within and outwith  Nigeria, including the USA, United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc. The multi-party nature and openness of this effort is evidenced by the membership which is drawn from practically all political parties in the country, with or without Igbo origins.  He has held consultations with Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of Government in furtherance of this cause. In short, he has brought his customary intense self-application to the task.

The march on Wadata Plaza led by Governor Theodore Orji against the imagined re-admission of Dr Kalu into the PDP is a devastating repudiation of the authority and agenda of the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. It betrays the warped and anti-rational mindset of some top members of the party from Abia State. It calls into question the viability of the new image of the PDP currently being espoused. It is an action that further shrinks the circumference of the umbrella.

The involvement of members of the national assembly in a public protest against a free citizen’s constitutional right to express his freedom of association is yet another example of the escalating national malaise. The precedent that has been set by this deplorable action will take a generation to erase from the consciousness of a politically literate population. It is such an extraordinarily

myopic delegitimizing conduct against the constitution by those sworn to be custodians of its very soul. It has brought dishonour to the assembly.

By doubling down on the lunatic pursuit of vengeance against his benefactor, Governor Theodore Orji, abetted by the ill-informed political leaders in Abia State, has simply elevated the political status of Orji Uzor Kalu to the class of mythology. He has provoked an epic political story more compelling than he could ever have anticipated. He has demonstrated to the whole world that there is only one political issue in Abia State. Dr Kalu is the undisputed issue.

 


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