Now that our political leaders are about settling down to business after the 2019 general election, it is only godly for us to pray to the Holy Spirit, who inspired and engineered the election of Matthias in Judas Iscariot’s stead, to kindly assist us.
It is, therefore, under this canopy that I passionately appeal to all Nigerians, especially senators-elect and the ruling party, to do the right thing and the needful, so as to uplift our staccato political and economic judiciousness.
This is why the dexterity, brilliance, industry and religious commitment of former governor of Abia State and senator-elect for Abia North, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, come to play. There is a heavenly appeal to all Nigerians to support his candidacy, which is also the desire of the Igbo people and people of goodwill across Africa. He is truly the man to submit his political, economic and socio-political savvy and wealth to help Nigeria back to the right track of integral development. Ordinarily, he is the right man, by all standards, to lead the Senate, but since the ruling APC has denied Ndigbo that right, it is only rational to elect Kalu as Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this dispensation. As a matter of importance and religiosity, he is the suitable man to represent Ndigbo and Nigerians in that regard, following his experience in governance.
When Kalu was the governor of Abia State, former President Olusegun Obasanjo named him, in less than a year of his headship, the “Action Governor” because of his proficiency, industry and sagacious developmental drives. He was such a philanthropist that he never discriminated against non-Abians in the governorship of Abia State. He was self-actualised and fulfilled before venturing into political office, as he had the Slok Airlines, shipping and sundry companies.
When I was a student in Malta in Europe, I used to celebrate Holy Mass at the high sea where seafarers from Europe and America usually asked me about Orji Kalu. It is very surprising that his proficiency and economic intelligence are positively experienced globally. Doubtlessly, Orji Kalu’s political and economic savoir-faire has moved out of the shores of Africa. He enjoys cordial, first-class and squashy connections with the White House and other Western nations.
Logically, his globally politico-economic, social and cultural affinities will unquestionably be of assistance in this indulgence more than ever before. Religiously and culturally, Kalu is a detribalised Nigerian, who has unrelenting grace and spirit to continue in his pivoting bridge-building and the cultivation of friendships and forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, impartiality, and conviviality among the people of the world.
I always conjecture about the breed of peacemaking and reconciliatory mien of this rare young man. This is the brand of Nigerian we crave for in this time when we are all crying for restructuring, truth, justice and an egalitarian society. For example, when the former Enugu State government was accused by the Church of brutalising adoration worshippers, it was Orji Kalu, as the governor of Abia State, who rushed to Enugu with a view to calming the tension among Enugu people. Therefore, Kalu as the Deputy Senate President, will champion peaceful coexistence. A vote for him is a vote for distinction, youth skill development, bridge-building, social justice and security, unity of Nigeria and convivial climate and a pro-active Nigerian state.
Ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, to give verification to Kalu’s suitability globally, his deputy Senate presidency has been designated by regional, political and individual groups.
While endorsing him, the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, via its leader, Comrade Shettima Yerima, said, as Mayaki of Katsina, “He is a pan-Nigerian who has contributed immensely to business and political circles” (Daily Sun, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, p. 12). He further said, “Kalu has, over the years, played key roles in advancing the cause of the people and as such he is the right choice for the position of deputy Senate president in the 9th Assembly.”
Also, the North East Peace and Good Governance recommended Kalu for the position, arguing: “What Nigerians expect from the 9th Senate is not business as usual kind of leadership. Nigerians expect a Senate that will be seen to be progressive not only in name but in deed. It is a clear fact that the expired 8th Assembly did not perform but was in constant antagonism with the Presidency. The South East deserves to be offered the deputy Senate presidency, with Kalu as the man to beat, if merit is the yardstick for measurement under the present progressives dispensation.”
In any case, Kalu is miles ahead of his opponents. His co-contestants, Kabiru Gaya is from the North, while Ovie-Omo-Agege comes from the South-South, the region of the APC’s national chairman. It would only be a symptom of sin and tactlessness against the Igbo if the North gets the President, Senate President and Deputy Senate President, while the Yoruba get Vice President and Speaker and the Igbo are left in the cold. That would be morally wrong, irreligiously inhuman, against sense of integrity, civility and would only be a source of unyielding grief and haplessness to the Igbo.
A socio-political analyst and sociologist, Chief Ibe, said, “in the spirit of fair play, Kalu, a much successful international business tycoon, an astute negotiator and a grassroots politician from the most marginalised South East, should trump the duo of Senators Kabiru Gaya and Omo-Agege.”
Again, the Igbo Development Union, in support of the South East Town Unions, (ASETU), in a communiqué in Enugu through its chairman, Chief Emmanuel Igwe, stated that: “After due consideration of the acceptability of the various senators-elect from South East zone, we do hereby endorse Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu for the position of deputy president.”
It would really be a disservice to the South East to be left without any key position in the emerging government, despite the importance of the region in national development.
“We appreciate the fact that Orji Kalu has had legislative prowess and experience in the National Assembly of 1991 and none of the senators-elect can claim to have been part of that exercise, except him. This keeps him higher on the ladder of leadership among his colleagues. He doesn’t need us, but we are the ones who need him very badly so that he can help to fix this rising and falling country into a true, just and stable, egalitarian nation.”
Since the President and the APC have already shortlisted and sworn to the candidature of both the North and South West for the Senate presidency and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the best thing to do is to approve and support Kalu as Deputy Senate President also. This is the time for the APC and its leaders, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, John Oyegun and Oshiomhole, to do the needful
• Rev Fr. Offor Evaristus, Ph.D, is the parish priest of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and Eze Udo of Umuoka. He is also founder, Scholars Association for the
Preservation and Promotion of Igbo Civilisation