Orji Uzor Kalu
Whose Interest Is Ohanaeze Defending?

By Odimegwu Onwumere

orji_uzor_kalu (1)?There should not be simplistic arguments that Abia people from all walks of life recently, reassured their support for former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, at his Igbere home town.

One million man-convention from the 17 Local Government Areas, LGA, was said to have converged to give Kalu their unflinching support ahead of 2015 elections, despoiling all the supposedly attempts by his political opponents that were geared to seeing that the rally was not a success.

Judging by the mind-blowing degree of support the people have shown to Kalu, he in return pledged his conviction that the elections of 2015 in the state will be free of rigging and any iota of intimidations or harassments of the electorates. He also charged his maximum support for President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election, should the president show interest to contest.

But the one million man march has not ended without hassles. There is an information making the rounds that the Bende Division of the Nigeria Police, Kalu?s locality, has been directed by the state government to cordon off all the roads leading to or out of Igbere. According to a source, the shoddy move was aimed at preventing a socio-political group ? Reality Organisation ? known to be in total submission to Kalu, from attending a compassionate protest, which was supposed to be convened by Mrs. Eunice Uzor-Kalu, the mother of the ex-Governor.

Without minding such clatter by his political foes, Kalu has never been away from the politics of the country for awhile. He has said that he is bent on salvaging the country of prolific corruptions and that those who are part and parcel of the government should live by positive examples, to help in deciding the faith of civil Nigerians.

It is believed that now that Kalu has publicly expressed his support for Jonathan, all Igbo will do same. He does not say that he is giving his support for Jonathan for the simple reason that Jonathan is from the Niger Delta, a region known for contributing 95% to the country?s economy, but that Jonathan has exposed some qualities, which seemed a step towards a right direction.

Kalu does not want other countries to continue to make fun of Nigeria. This does not mean that he hates people from other regions who may be gingering to contest in the said elections. Besides, this is not the first time that he is giving Jonathan his support.

In 2010, Kalu took a stand and supported Jonathan. He said then that there were so many reasons why he wholeheartedly urged Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to throw his hat into the ring for the 2011 presidential elections. Kalu believed that should Jonathan contest in 2011, majority of Nigerians would vote for him, which would make him win (by the grace of God).

Kalu also believed that the victory of Jonathan would ensure continuity and completion of the patronising programmes his former boss, the late President Umaru Musa Yar?ardua, had started. According to Kalu, Yar?ardua and Jonathan were voted into Aso Rock, as a package. From all indications, Kalu had said, that package could have gone for a second term had the late president lived till 2011; unfortunately and regrettably, one half of that package was gone.

Giving Jonathan his support, Kalu had said that he thought it was only fair that the remaining half was given the opportunity and the support to continue and complete the eight years; anything to the contrary was against natural justice. Kalu henceforth asked a salient question to perceived persons, especially those from the north, who did not want Jonathan to contest, saying that he was worried that perhaps the people saw the Niger Delta region as a people only good at producing the wealth of the country, but not good enough to produce a President ? a manager of that wealth.

Kalu clamoured that there was nothing in the constitution of Nigeria that excludes Goodluck Jonathan, or Ibrahim Babangida, or Atiku Abubakar or Orji Kalu or Bola Tinubu, or Muhammed Buhari, or Ebitu Ukiwe, from contesting for the presidency in 2011, if they were nominated to do so by a political party. Against that backdrop, Kalu could also be saying today that those who are opposed to Jonathan?s candidacy in the event of the 2015 elections on the fact that he should not go for a second term are wrong and have ulterior motives.

He, however, advises that the president must simply ensure for a transparent elections, taking a note from the not-too-far familiarity in Ghana, Republic of Benin and Siera Leone, which have shown that all it takes to accomplish a convincing election is an in-parallel minded adjudicator who is equipped to achieve election according to the law of the land and say-publicly true results which may not always be in favour of the sitting president.

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

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