By Emmanuel Onwubiko
I know Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on a personal note and i have related with him for over two decades.
I regard him as a brother and a friend and from time to time, I do visit him at home and even wine and dine at his dinner table because I admire the speed with which he arrived at very unprecedented political heights in a Country of over 200 million and specifically, he is from Abia State whereby from every family you will inevitably find an academic professor and there is hardly any family out of the nearly 4 million citizens of Nigerian extraction who consider Abia as their State of nativity, that there are no five University graduates if they are at least seven in totality. I have just recently disengaged from a part time media strategic communication job for him for which he paid me handsomely and never owed me a dime of my entitlements.
During those days I worked partly for him, i have also scripted a number of articles on this upwardly mobile politician.
But there is only one diametrically opposite that both I and the Senator has- our political ideological leanings differ. I’m a progressive and a democrat who believes that in a Country of diversities, it is only equitable and just if persons from different ethno-religious and demographically distinctive backgrounds are afforded the best opportunities like anyone else to rise to their peak/apogee of their chosen field including of course in political leadership.
I’m of the view that it is unjust to deny the Igbo Speaking people of Nigeria, the Civil and Political Rights of being elected by consensus to become President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria given that the Igbo ethnic majority is one of the tripod that are synonymous to the historicity of Nigeria from time immemorial has never held due to the conspiracy of some hawks wth their slaves from the South.
The Igbo, Yoruba and Hausas are the Tripod on which the nation-state of Nigeria was erected but of course there are over 200 other ethnic minorities that are part and parcel of the Federation known today and since 1914 as Nigeria when the British colonial master Lord Lugard alongside his babe who was a journalist with a British colonial tabloid then introduced that name and merged the North and South as one federation.
But Senator Orji Kalu doesn’t seem to fit into any specific political ideology because within the last twenty years that he has circulated as a politician, he has jumped into about 4 political formations including the Peoples Democratic Party from where he started as one of the youngest governors of Abia State in history and he has traversed the different political plaforms over the years and then landed on the cosy bedroom of the All Progressives Congress from where he got elected about four years ago to represent Abia North Senatorial Zone.
He is also someone in politics who believes in joining the ruling party that controls power at the centre. When the Peoples Democratic Party ruled Nigeria for 16 unbroken years, Orji Kalu was one of their Founding fathers. Today, he is a ranking member of the All Progressives Congress.
But one sad thing about his style of politics is his aversion for putting the political interest of the South East in the front burner. Few Months back when the Independent National Electoral Commission blew the whistle for political parties to begin the process of nominating their Presidential candidates, Orji Uzor Kalu aspired and reportedly bought the N100 million worth of nomination form and asked his party members to concede the position of Presidency to the Igbo Speaking nation.
But when the chips were down he introduced his friend from Yobe state who is the most colourless Senate President Ahmed Lawan to instead run for the Presidency. It is not known how someone could lavish N100 million to pick up a nomination form and then abandon that line of pursuit to work for someone else from a far flung part of Nigeria.
Orji Kalu was actually campaigning that he wanted to become President this year as someone from the South East of Nigeria but when he stopped aspiring to be nominated the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, he suddenly remembered that his ethnicity that has never produced the executive President of Nigeria since 1914 amalgamation and 1960 independence, is not ripe to take such a shot at the Presidency.
What kind of poor logic is that? This is at best the lowest form of political hallucination for someone identifying himself as Igbo to say that in the 21st century that the Country is not ready to be led by someone of South East extraction. What qualities are lacking amongst Igbos and why does he think playing politics with some kinds of passion has become emotive?
This line of argument canvassed by Orji Kalu is a fallacy of disjointed middle or more appropriately it is what Philosophers would call ARGUMENTUM ad baculum or the fallacy committed when someone like the politician Orji uzor Kalu makes an appeal to force to bring about the acceptance of a wrong headed conclusion such as cynically arguing that Igbo person shouldn’t be elected President because Nigeria is not ready for a President of Igbo extraction.
What can be more politically suicidal and profane than that which has come from someone who is the Senate Chief Whip today because his Igbo Constituents in his side of Abia State including AroChukwu my Ancestral lineage gave him their mandate to come to Abuja to speak for them but now he has made it his duty to speak against his people who are Igbo Speaking? It is only an Igbo politician that can so brazenly speak in contempt of their people and then thinks that he has made sense. But his point is nonsense and a total bunkum.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is particularly disdainful of the fact that someone of Igbo nativity in the name of Peter Obi a Philosopher has gained a nationwide support and momentum from all around the Country. Must politics be played by seeking to self destro your own ethnicity and even at one time this my friend who built a Chapel of the Roman Catholic Church in his house thinks that it was not right for a Christian to be made the running mate of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and then on Sundays the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja would send a Priest of the Mother Church to his House when he can’t stand up for his faith? This is precisely why I have slowed down with going to Church except I’m in Arondizuogu or London.
But in his political hallucination, Orji Kalu denies his identity and then turns against the reality that most Nigerians want to vote for an Igboman because in his warped logic, Nigeria isn’t ready for an Igbo man to be so elected as President?
If this is not political insanity, tell me what else it is. So are Igbos no longer part of Nigeria and where and when did the rest of Nigerians congregated and told Orji Kalu to announce that Nigeria is not ready for someone from the South East to become the next President comes 25th of February 2023?
Why does Orji Kalu think in his heart of heart that Igbo man in this 21st century shouldn’t vie for the high office of the President of modern day Nigeria but he has mortgaged his conscience for a porridge of yams and Agbado to serve a Yoruba man in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu who hates Igbos so much that he nominated a Muslim who supports boko haram terrorists as his running mate? Why should Fulanis with less than 10 million people dominate the political and military scene and the Yorubas only recently produced General Olusegun Obasanjo but yet an Igbo man says Nigeria is not ready to elect an Igbo man? In effect Orji Kalu is such a bad Igbo man that he doesn’t want his brother who has gained acceptance all across Nigeria in the person if former Anambra state governor Peter Obi to become President even when Afenifere the Yoruba mainstream cultural group backs Peter Obi? Who has done this to Igbos? Why should someone identifying himself as Igbo so denigrate his ethnicity this much? He spike exactly against Igbos exactly how Adolphus Hitler spoke and worked against the Jews in those days.
To even think that few hours back, Orji Uzor Kalu announced at a Church in Abia State capital Umuahia that he was donating N1 million every month for five months and N500k every month for the same duration to the Catholic diocese of Umuahia and the Presiding Bishop. Then few seconds later, this same man told the media that the scarcity of new naira notes has brought anguish and hunger to his family as if to say that someone who is considered a billionaire with thriving businesses including many estates and newspaper printing presses can now pretend to be hungry in a way to make joke out of the millions of Nigerians that his All Progressives Congress led Federal government has absolutely impoverished. This same All Progressives Congress has reduced 130 million Nigerians into the inglorious status of being poor multidimensionally.
So you can see that my friend Orji Uzor Kalu needs some tutelage on how to think and speak in the public with logic and consistency.
How on earth does this Chief Whip of the worst anti- people Senate, Orji Kalu, on Wednesday, say that Nigerians are not ready for a president from the Igbo extraction ahead of the forthcoming election? I speak as someone from Igbo state of Imo but who was born and bred in the North West and speak Hausa fluently, that this is the most destructive and demarketing of the Igbo people of South East of Nigeria thar I have seen all of my life and I have decided to responding through the mass media so generations of Igbos to come will know that we did not all kept quiet and accepted this denigration of our people from one of us Orji Uzor Kalu hook line and sinker. Never!
Speaking on the 2023 general elections in a Channels Television programme, ‘The Verdict’ on Wednesday, the former governor of Abia State said Saturday’s presidential election would not be the best outing for the Igbo people despite having one of the popular candidates, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, as their son.
The APC Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District emphasised the need for the region to amass bulk votes from five other regions out of the remaining six to be victorious.
Although, there are a number of contestants of Igbo extractions among the 18 presidential candidates for this year’s election.
Dismissing the chances of Obi emerging victorious in the polls, Kalu said “I’m well-experienced; I ran for President in 2007 and I’m not sure Nigerians are not yet ready for a President of Igbo extraction.
“I’m not sure because I have tried to nose around that. We have five other regions to come up with and I am not sure.
“The people of the South-East are the best professionals but not the best politicians.
“We do politics with emotions and I want Igbos to stop doing politics with emotions; I want Igbos to do practical politics,” he added.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is wrong in this political and illogical hallucination and he should be told as I have personally sent him a message on his lines and we exchanged messages, that his statement aforementioned is wrong and irredeemably illogical, senseless, despicable, condemnable and is self destructive.
And this same Senator is on the ballots asking his people to return him as a Senator so he can canvass and lobby to become the next Senate President since he has no national support base to become President.
Some of these politicians from the South East undermining the political interest of the Igbos are the reasons the Igbo youths think that they were imposed by the Fulani caliphate of Sokoto that dominates the Nigerian military and police.
But Nigerians who watched him on channels must be told that his statement which is a big fallacy and a contradiction should be jettisoned because it is self centred and warped.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.