As I reminisce on the political and economic plight of the people of my poor state, Abia, I remember Orji Uzor Kalu. So many things make me think about him, especially his giant strides when he had the reins of governance between 1999 and 2008. But in melancholy, I wonder why he had to use his hands to pull down a solid foundation he laid by supporting the incumbent governor. Abia state is now in a very sorry political and economic state. Teachers have not been paid their June salary. Pensioners are dying in bits. The state civil service has long packed up and in a ridiculous condition. No single project completed in over 5years. The local government council, which is supposed to be the third tier of government, is technically not in existence in Abia. For three years illegal transition committees have been used without election and the State House of Assembly is comfortable with it. Where is Orji Uzor Kalu? He has to say something because every other Abia elite have been whipped into the line.
It is extremely difficult to write about Orji Uzor Kalu at this era of political brigandage, stinking corruption, unabashed greed and the most crude and cruel form of propaganda going on in Abia State. He is somewhat an enigma. To some, He is a social critic or crusader while others see him as a democrat that has bridged the gap between the old and new political order. As a matter of fact, the objectivity of the analysis of the phenomenon called Orji Uzor Kalu depends on the political bent of the individual probing into his contributions towards the political development of Abia State and Nigeria in the last two decades.
I am very proud to say that Orji Uzor Kalu is my political mentor and a beacon to the generality of Nigerian politicians who desire a just and egalitarian society as thought of by our political forebears like Awolowo, Azikiwe, Enahoro, Ahmadu Bello and the rest of them who fought relentlessly for our unity and progress. His courage and tenacity cannot be questioned. Where young men of his age have surrendered, Kalu has conquered. Where other politicians have compromised their principles, he has adhered strictly to it. He has continually aired his views and taken a definite stand on the National question regardless of whose ox is gored.
When an objective compilation of events of political development of Nigeria as a nation is made, the name Orji Uzor Kalu will feature prominently. Within a short period he has been involved in politics of Nigeria he has left indelible marks in our history. At a period when Nigeria was drifting to a one party state, Kalu blazed the trail by convincingly winning the government of Abia State through his newly registered political party, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) while others followed. He is one of the most celebrated politicians of his age. Today, Kalu is the only politician that has a structure that covers the remotest political cell in Abia and beyond. A feat that was common during the political era of the Bellos, Azikiwes and the Awolowos. One may ask why he ‘’lost’’ the last elections across board in Abia. There was a gang up between the Abia army general, Abuja politicians, the Electoral Commission and the rest of anti- democracy elements that Abia must be captured. In Abia North Senatorial zone, armored tankers were ubiquitous, even one was permanently stationed in front of his residence in Igbere through out the elections. That was how they showed their desperation. I think the compensation for the general is the government house in 2015. The mandate has been stolen again ahead of time.
The phenomenon called Orji Uzor Kalu has distinguished himself in both business and politics. His immense wealth has been carefully directed in philanthropic activities that has assisted in manpower development and ameliorating the suffering of the poor. His vast business empire covers newspaper, shipping, banking, oil and gas and farming.
Despite his wealth, this Board of Trustees Chairman of PPA, has not lost sight of his humble beginning and has continued to use his experiences as young man to chart the course of our political development. During his two terms as the executive governor of Abia, he brought development to the door steps of Abia people through infrastructural development, unity and political cohesion.
Any genuine effort towards the attainment of true nationhood that ignores our new crop of politicians which the likes of Orji Uzor Kalu represent will end at stillbirth. He has over the years distinguished himself as a true nationalist that is bereft of tribalism, selfish political interest and aggrandizement and other political vices that tend to stunt our growth as a nation. Kalu is the flagship of our dream political ideology. Our political future belongs to them and we look up to him and his ilk to register the name of Nigeria in the new world political order.
The rogue elections in Abia that denied you a place in the Senate is not a set back but an exposure of our flawed, corrupt and pretentious electoral system. And it has been, and it will continue to be an embarrassment of monumental proportions to the government. You are strengthened by that set back. Like the proverbial phoenix, you must rise from your ashes. This is the time to begin to make more useful contributions to Nigeria and humanity. Child of destiny! Keep marching on courageously. Your political future is secure.For we that believe so much in him we have to be steadfast in our support and not to be drifted away by what we hear or make to see.
- By Gabriel Awa from Abuja