On Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, former governor of Abia State and senator-elect, my own direct “oga” and one of the most resilient politicians in Nigeria, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, would be 59 amid boyish swagger that belies the mature age. His youthfulness is demonstrative of his inimitable attitudinal disposition to life.
By now, everyone must have known that Kalu is an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, hence his sustained campaign for the inevitable re-election of the President.
Kalu’s hypercritics vituperatively keep mushrooming! For a while, they will recess and another irritant set will restlessly come up in mutative trance and exponential dimensions. Social media and provincial rag-sheets are the yellowish instrumentalities of their unbridled scurrility.
Kalu is not going to be a docile or fringe senator. In all his political trajectories he has always been active and productive at his own expense. He is not like a certain senator from Abia State whose passivity in the Red Chamber is unparalleled! Kalu is unstoppably a party leader and reputed financier of political associations right from his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) days. It is on record that he donated N500 million to the PDP during its formation in 1998, among other financial interventions. Kalu’s existential humanism is a life of service at all levels and not obscene acquisition of wealth.
We shall all see the revolution he is going to evolve in the Senate any moment from June when sitting begins. I have the strong conviction that he would make a difference in the upper legislative chamber. Even his detractors know this full well.
Kalu does not seek publicity by any shred. He is an institutional publicity himself. If anything, he runs away from visibility most times because whatever he does or says is news. News hounds and top media establishments run after him for audience wherever he goes and oftentimes his arrival in airports, which is a routine, is a veritable source of information any day for airport correspondents. Anyone who knows Kalu’s profile should realise that he cannot seek publicity — contrarily, publicists look for him at all costs. It is specious for any sane Nigerian to say that Kalu craves publicity. That is the summit of stupidity. Kalu does not need to take any odd or octane step to attract media attention — it comes to him rather circumstantially and naturally.
Each time these regenerative and oppositional baboons who love to hate Kalu mutate they rehash what their co-conspirators and sponsors have devilishly, erroneously and defiantly been gossiping about since 2007, one of which is that “Kalu did not go to university.” This is one of the greatest fallacies of our generation. Kalu, on his own exuberance and accord, withdrew in protest from the University of Maiduguri on grounds of student unionism that led to the rustication of a few co-unionists. Prof. Jubril Aminu, as vice-chancellor then, can confirm this.
Recently, the foremost university in the country, the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), lionized Kalu by conferring on him an honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration. This was long before a high court vacated the vindictive directive by T.A. Orji to the Abia State University (ABSU) to quash the bachelor’s degree certificate duly awarded to Kalu. The revalidation of his degree by the high court is a testimony to Kalu’s serial victimisation by those he taught how to fish. In all his struggles, Kalu is always vindicated because he does not witch-hunt anyone unlike his vanishing, mischievous and malicious opponents whose cruelty is boundless and borderless.
Beyond the salacious and contrived non-issues of Kalu’s scholarship, have his tribes of antagonists established the cerebral optimality of their victim in and out of school? Such audacious brigands will be astounded by Kalu’s off-class intellectual depth and the profundity of his active knowledge quotient. If it were otherwise, he would be taciturn and less interactive in the public. He would also shy away from regular TV/radio interviews and parley sessions on multifarious national and global issues. How many members of his 2007 governorship class are still in the limelight?
This is confirmatory of how propagandistic tiny tots think. What is wrong with Kalu campaigning for President Buhari’s well-deserved second term? And why should the deployment of his personal resources for an irrevocable course he confidently subscribes to be any mite’s concern? It is only a moppet who will tell other brats like him how to spend their impoverished resources — not an entrepreneurial behemoth like Kalu whose opulence is certified by Forbes resulting in his classification as one of Africa’s 50 richest men. Whether papooses like it or not, Kalu was unflinchingly and unapologetically committed to the re-election of President Buhari.
As a way of foreclosing the dilemma of a columnist writing about his publisher and others, especially in controversial circumstances, I employ my poetic/literary licence and journalistic freedom/liberty to refer them to what I wrote in The Post Express of July 24, 2001, as the Deputy Editor (and, subsequently, Editor) about the former governor of Abia State when I had never met him at a close range either formally or informally, let alone work with — and for — him as his Media Adviser, among other engagements and assignations, as I do now.
This is germane to the context of my multifarious essays for obvious reasons that border on cynicism of the hue of “what else do you expect”! My dispassionate contributions to this medium either here or elsewhere, therefore, I authoritatively assert, do not belong to the realm of he who pays the piper calling (not dictating, take note please) the tune. In subsequent articles, too, this standpoint will form the basis of my writing on key players in Nigerian politics and other spheres of life and existentialism.
This explanation has become inevitable because I have heard vituperative insinuations from critical quarters to the effect that the erstwhile “Action Governor” (according to former President Olusegun Obasanjo) has a great influence on the editorial content and policy of the medium. I make these declarations with all sense of honesty and responsibility. I welcome constructive challenges or informed contradictions on this declaration.
For the last time, Dr. Kalu does not meddle, in any way, in the core (professional) editorial administration of The Sun titles and other institutional issues involving the publishing company exclusively owned by him. Most times he is abroad on business trips. Right now, he is in London for entrepreneurial meetings. He does not have time for organisational intrusion, unlike other publishers.
There is also the raging debate that Dr. Kalu performed quintessentially in his first term (1999-2003) and went to sleep in his second (2003-2007) tenure. This conjectural and controversial aspect of his two terms as governor of the state belongs to history and not the currency of our time.
This is wishing our “oga patapata” many more years of selfless service to humanity.
•Wabara ([email protected]/08055001948) is the Senior Special Assistant (Media) to Dr. Orji Kalu