Former Abia state governor Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu drew reminiscences of pre-Independent bond Sunday declaring that the South-east backed President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambitions in 2011 as proof of the evergreen ties amongst various groups of the old Eastern region.
Without taking anything away from the President,Kalu prayed the South-south to join the crusade for a President of Igbo extraction in the next dispensation.
He said,”The Igbo showed that Nigeria cannot divide the the old regional spirit.We put the Civil war behind.And President Jonathan took off from there.Nigerians got to know of his Azikiwe background,Ebelemi became Ebelechukwu.Nothing wrong with that.You have a lot of Igbo settlements in Bayelsa,Opobo in Rivers state was founded by King Jaja of Amaigbo Imo state background.The South-south is full of men of honour and courage,Ndigbo expect their support in 2015.”
Going down memory lane,the ex-governor recalled interactions between colonial court clerks and interpreters,students and teachers as evidence of unity and understanding in the past.
“Most prominent South-south men attended college in Igboland.Ken Saro-Wiwa,Okoi Arikpo and Elechi Amadi were at Government College Umuahia, like Chinua Achebe and Vincent Ike,Obi Wali finished at Saint Augustine’s Grammar School Nkwerre,Felix Ohiwerei left Government College Owerri.An Izonman Chief Kombo Igbeta from Ogbolomabiri, was Principal Government College Owerri,and in two of those elite schools,one name Erekosima stands out.An Izon too,”Kalu pointed out
He also harped on the price the South-south paid in the 1966 crisis and sacrifices for Biafra by men like Gen. Philip Asuquo Effiong,Chief Ntieyong Udo Akpan,Mathew Mbu,Prof.Samuel Cookey,Chiefs Emmanuel Agumah and Frank Opigo.
“In the July 29 1966 coup,Majors Ukpo Isong,Ibanga Ekanem and Lt.E.B. Orok were murdered alongside many Igbo officers.During the war,the most prominent name on Biafra Radio was Okokon Ndem.Effiong had the brave task of calling off the war,Akpan served as Secretary to Government,Mbu Foreign minister.There were Chiefs Ekukinam Bassey and A.E.Udoffia.Some of the best Biafran military officers came from the South south .Col. Nsudoh. Maj. Archibong ,Victor Masi,brave men all.Check these out.Today,the governors of Akwa Ibom,Rivers and Cross River states have Igbo wives,just like the Anambra governor is married to an Akwa Ibom daughter.Renowned South-south activists Margaret Ekpo and Asari Dokuboh grabbed some background from the South-east.All these must count for the Igbo bid,”Kalu said.