When King Solomon in the Holy Bible (Proverbs 22:29), said, “Seest thou a man diligent in his ways, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men”, he probably had in mind, the likes of Chief Umeh Kalu SAN.
From a very humble background, through diligence, tenacity and hard work, Chief Kalu has left his footprints in the sand of time.
The conferment on him of the Honourary Doctorate Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) by the Abia State University is an eloquent testimony of where you are now.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
He was born in Ohafia, Abia State to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Umeh of Okagwe Ohafia in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria.
He went on to complete his primary education at Central School, Okagwe Ohafia, in 1973 on his return from Western Cameroun. He attended secondary school at National High School, Aba, from 1973 to 1978.
Because of his unquenching appetite for knowledge, he proceeded to the then Imo State University, where he was admitted as one of the pioneer students into the prestigious Faculty of Law in 1981, from where he obtained his Bachelor of Law, LL.B (Hons.) Degree in 1985. He was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar and admitted to practice Law in Nigeria in October, 1986.
In 2006, having attained so much in legal practice, his determination, desire and quest for continuous self development saw him enroll at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), University of Lagos, Akoka Campus where he earned his Masters Degree in Law (LL.M).
After the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) assignment, he embarked on a journey to fulfill his lofty ambitions as a legal practitioner, he set up his own Law Firm, Umeh Kalu & Associates based in Surulere, Lagos State after a period of pupilage in the Chambers of Chike Okoro & Co. The firm has since then metamorphosed and grown in leaps and bounds, expanding its operations to other parts of the country with head office in Abuja.
He has served as the Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters (2009) to the fomer Governor of Abia State, Senator Chief T. A. Orji before he was appointed as the Hon. Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice in 2009, a position he held until 2015.
In 2015, he was as reappointed by Okezie Ikpeazu Ph.D, the present Governor of Abia State, as the Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice, in recognition of his distinguished service to the Government and people of Abia State, excellent leadership qualities, exemplary character and all round abilities as a legal practitioner and a manager of people.
He has at various times held the following leadership positions, amongst others: Pioneer Secretary – General, Abia State University Student’s Union 1981/82; NEC Member, National Association of Nigerian Students; NEC Member, National Association of Law Students; President and Founder, Tenants Solidarity Organisation; Chairman, Board of Governors, Isiama Comprehensive Secondary School, Ohafia; National President, Abia State University Alumni Association; Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters to the Executive Governor of Abia State; Honourable Attorney – General & Commissioner for Justice, Abia State; Life Member, Body of Benchers – the highest regulatory body for legal practitioners in Nigeria; Member, Council of Legal Education; Member, Abia State Security Council; Chairman, Abia State Council on Prerogative of Mercy; Chairman Abia Patriots; Secretary – General Old Bende Improvement Union; Founder, former President, Ohafia Improvement Union, Lagos, and founder the Umeh Kalu Foundation.
HONOURS AND AWARDS
As a distinguished legal practitioner, he was presented with the Alumni Award by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), which was presented to him by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukthar, in recognition of his exceptional career accomplishments.
In the year 2016, he was admitted to the Inner Bar and accorded the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in recognition of his outstanding law career and his contributions to Legal Jurisprudence in the country. As a further testament to his exceptional career, Kalu Umeh (SAN) was recently appointed a Life Member of the Body of Benchers. The Body of Benchers is the highest regulatory and decision making body for legal practitioners in Nigeria.
The Abiriba Communal Development Union, North America INC, also recognized his role as a bridge builder and lover of peace and presented him with an Appreciation Award, for his dedication and immense contribution towards the restoration of peace and unity in Abiriba Kingdom.
He has also been honoured by the Hallmark Newspaper during the Business Hallmark People of the Year Awards, 2017, as Man of the Year for Professional Excellency in Law & Jurisprudence, which award was presented by Chief Dr. Emeka Anyaoku – former Commonwealth Secretary.
In continuation of his meritorious service rendered to humanity, love and care for the needy and less privileged members of the society, he founded the Umeh Kalu Foundation, a philanthropic foundation with the primary objectives of rendering free medical care, legal aid as well providing educational scholarships to his people.
PROJECTS IN PHILANTROPY
He built the Oroni/Nguzu-Edda/Nkporo Bus Stop building presently housing the military men at Nguzu Junction; built and donated to the Nigeria Bar Association, Ohafia Branch a Bar Centre; renovated the Ohafia Magistrates Court; completed the Oboro Ohafia Health Center; completed the Abia – Ohafia borehole scheme; re – roofed a section of the Umuahia Prisons and has at various times conducted free medical schemes to the inmates, including the donation of beddings and mattresses.
At various times, he has conducted free medical and diagnostic schemes at various communities in Ohafia, Nkporo, Ututu and the Nigerian Prisons.
The Umeh Kalu Foundation has severally provided financial empowerment scheme to indigent Ohafia women across the country and at home, including Lagos, Abuja, Aba, Port – Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha and Ohafia.
A devout Christian and distinguished ambassador of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, an accomplished Legal Practitioner, astute Politician, Philanthropist and Activist, Umeh Kalu (SAN) is happily married to his lovely wife, Elder Barrister Chioma Kalu Umeh and their union is blessed with Four children and two grandchildren.