From Okey Sampson, Aba
It has been said time and again that for one to be a good leader one must also be a good follower. The former governor of Abia State and business mogul, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, recently demonstrated this as he celebrated his 57th birthday at his Okafia, Igbere, Abia State, farm.
Kalu, it was gathered, in the past 20 years has not celebrated his birthday publicly, but he did this year in a bid to heed to the call by President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigerians to return to land.
Thus on his birthday, April 21, some of his friends, political and business associates had planned to visit him at his country home to clink glasses and roll out drums in celebration.
But before some of them could get to his home, the former governor and one of the most successful businessmen in the country had left his palatial Camp Neya to his expansive farm at Okafia, Igbere, where he marked his birthday with his workers who used the opportunity to present him with a birthday cake which all of them cut and ate in the farm.
On arrival at the farm, he had mounted the tractor to till the ground and later planted some cassava stems to the surprise and admiration of his workers who marvelled at his mastery in driving the tractor and farming dexterity.
Kalu said time was gone when farming was left only in the hands of peasant who he said lacked both the financial capability and technical knowhow to produce enough to feed the nation let alone for export.
His words: “I live in Abuja and also have so many businesses across the globe. But because of the seriousness I attached to farming, I decided to come home to farm. The rich and those that have the professional training should join in the campaign in ensuring that there is abundance of food in the country.”
The former governor disclosed that he would be planting cassava only at his over two hectares farmland at Okafia Igbere while another two hectares of land at Ugwueke would be used to plant palm seedlings.
Kalu who has keen interest in taking the youths off the streets through gainful employment said he was optimistic that the two farms would also create jobs for many youths in Bende Local Government Area and the state at large.
He urged the well-to-do and those with the technical knowhow that were yet to heed the call of the president to do so now.
Some of Kalu’s political and business associates that came to felicitate with him at his country home when told that he had gone to his farm drove to Okafia to celebrate with him.
The leaders of the Hausa community in Abia State later in the evening paid Kalu a visit at his Camp Neya country home.