It is sanity for Ndigbo to forget their right in Nigeria. To the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, it is only the dead that forget his or her right. And this could be the reason he has told the Northern part of the country that has been spitting fire and brimstone to take power back in the 2015 president elections, to forget the hypothesis and support Ndigbo to mount the exalted seat in that year.
Through many individuals and groups, but, especially, the one called the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), the North has declared that the problem of insecurity, which has been bedeviling that part of the country, can be solved, but only when power goes back to the region. Conceivably, this is the only agenda that the North has. And that has been propelling it to clamour for power return to the region, in the next presidential elections.
Ask one Prof. Ango Abdullahi, spokesperson of the group, who happened to be the former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-vice-chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, what the position of the North is in the 2015 presidential elections and, he will tell you. He forgot that Dr. Kalu, who has been championing the cause of Igbo presidency and the Igbo unity, through an assemblage he serves as the impermanent head known as and called Njiko Igbo, did not care whatever was the resolution of the NEF, in a meeting that was said the group have held at the house of Maitama Sule in Kano, to tell the North that it never had it so good.
Kalu saw the North to be inconsiderate for this call, whereas Ndigbo of the South-East zone has been shouting on top of the roof that they are marginalised in the things and politics of the country. The courageous and cheerful Kalu has not minced words to remind Nigerians of the marginalisation of Ndigbo, by stating that his two eyes have seen that the North shares and benefits much and more under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, with such positions like the Vice President, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Federation, Chief of Defence Staff and even the chairman of the ruling party, yet, it is not satisfy. So, what does the North want in 2015?
According to the fiscally and well-connected dude, the North should even be pleading to the rest of Nigerians not to make the international community know that it enjoys 20 states. But how many does the South-East has? Only five poorly funded states by the Federal Government. Kalu was crying that the North should not see the South-East zone, as a place belonging to a people from the blues. He was of the belief that the North has been over-pampered in the country, with whatever it clamoured for given to it, but not the presidency of 2015.
It was because of the unity of this country that both the president and his vice were once allowed to come from the North. Kalu said that this was during the Muhammadu Buhari/Tunde Idiagbon regime. Both of the military men who once ruled the country came from the North. And, in 2011, for the same unity to reign, the Yoruba gave the position of Speaker to the North. Kalu wondered why the North should always be calling for the ‘human heads’ anytime other zones want to test what it had tasted.
It was evident that the major problem with the country had come from the North, especially whenever power shifted from the region. This was why Kalu has urged the so-called northern leaders to stop any parochial mindsets that do not augur well with the country and, should also, stop anything that would overheat the polity, like the North’s fierce eyebrows about 2015.
But while the North has said that it wants to take power back in 2015, in order to solve the insecurity problem besetting the region, which some northern Islamic extremists started sometime in 1999, because it was a non-northerner that was elected as the President of the country, Kalu has expressed concern that the economic kismet of the country would skyrocket to the acme than ever, if a president of South-East descent leads Nigeria.
Kalu made this succinctly, at a dinner with the Nigerian community in Belgium at Speidemberger Hotel Resort, Brussels, where he spoke clearly, unlike some Igbo sons and daughters, who have spoken against the onerous task, because of the lucre they gain from this present government of President Jonathan.
Like he has told the North to forget its perceived unbridled quest for the presidency in 2015, Kalu has also sounded it clear and loud that the Igbo will not support President Jonathan in 2015. Some few Ijaw personalities and militants and ex-militants have been threatening like the North of clamping this amalgam of different nations called Nigeria, should Jonathan their son is not allowed a second term in office.
Kalu made this disclosure in September, 2012, when the body language of the president suggested that he (Jonathan), was wearing his political boots to join the presidential race again in 2015. Kalu has said no. Many Nigerians know that Kalu gave up his booming and well supported 2011 presidential ambition, when it was trend that Ndigbo wanted and supported Jonathan to be elected president. Kalu withdrew his ambition, which he had already spent billions of naira, and placed advertorial in many of the national newspapers urging his teeming supporters on why he was withdrawing from the race and the need they should support Jonathan to win. Kalu did that for ‘brotherly’ love and did not come back after Jonathan was elected, to request for political appointments in the government, which has been the character of many, who cannot do what Kalu did for Jonathan.
Anybody, who may be seeing Kalu to be fighting for the Igbo presidency at a wrong time, should be ashamed and hear from Kalu that Jonathan promised Ndigbo the 2015 presidency, in the event of Jonathan’s 2011 presidential electioneering campaign. But, what is Jonathan doing today? Kalu who has said that “I am not doing politics now... I am doing Ndigbo now”, has not rested on his oars that Ndigbo should unite.
And luckily, the perceived disunity among them is now becoming a thing of the past. Igbo personalities like Senator Annie Okonkwo, Govs. Rochas Okorocha,Peter Obi, Sir Victor Umeh, Chief Chekwas Okorie, Mrs. Rose Ikechi Onwumere, Comrade Zulu Ofoelue, Comrade Emmanuel Nnadozie Onwubiko, Mrs. Dora Akunyili, Dr. Chris Ngige (Onwa) and other Igbo sons and daughters, are always in different peace talks and personal writings, on how to better the country.
Unlike before that any person or group had used the politically motivated disunity of Ndigbo to work against them, it is no more. The North benefited much from this ruse against the oneness of Ndigbo. Ndigbo are speaking with one voice today. Let it not be said that Njiko Igbo is in the forefront for this achievement, as there is no trophy to be won by saying so.
From the UK to the USA, from Zimbabwe to the Zaire, Nigeria to the Niger and many other countries, Ndigbo of different organisations, personalities and sundry have been endorsing Kalu to carry on with his persistent crusade that Ndigbo should produce the presidency in 2015.
By the end of July, a statement from the USA read that Ndigbo in the Diaspora, have approved of the call by the World Igbo Congress (WIC), for a conversation on the likelihood of the President of Nigeria of Igbo origin in 2015 and strongly censured Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Lagos State’s sadistic action of deporting Ndigbo from Lagos to Anambra State.
Conversely, while the North has always thought that people from other zones in the country are inferior to it and that it is born to rule the country and will continue to dictate the pace in the Nigeria’s political space, it should beware that Kalu, who can’t rule out the fact that Ndigbo need the North’s votes to actualise the Igbo presidency, has been described by many Nigerians as a man, who has never failed in any course he was championing. They do not only say that Kalu is a man of many hats and dispensation, but that he is also, a man of honest words.
It is this honesty that Kalu wants the North to show in the country, before it could politicise it. Honesty is paramount to Kalu, to enable the country in its industralisation. As a result of this, he has been described as a man that has E's: Exposure, Experience, and Education. This is what the North must understand.
The North should also understand that it’s not only Kalu that has what observers have described as international knowledge and connection, and agility to support, mobilize and transform and so on, but that his kiths and kin across the world also possess these qualities and are interested of the presidency in 2015.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.