• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Orji Uzor Kalu as Senate President – Why minor issues matter

Don’t laugh when Orji Uzor Kalu weeps

ORJI Uzor Kalu fancies himself as the next President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Why should he? Why not? Who are more qualified? He is a ranking Senator, two-time Governor, Chief Whip of the Senate, former university room-mate of the current Senate President.

Kalu speaks his mind, though you may not understand what he says. The incoherence is none of his business. If you fail to understand him, then you are not the audience for his message.
Kalu is courage in motion. He speaks English the way no one else does.

He has been his own chief campaigner asking that the office be zoned to him “by my name”. Trust Kalu not to entrust such important assignment to anyone. He is the masquerade that dances to his own beats.
The recent passing of his wife Mrs. Mercy Kalu has slowed down his campaign. She was interred last Wednesday. May the Almighty rest her.

If you know Kalu, you will not wonder why in a video he uses for his campaigns he listed the qualities expected of the new Senate President. Does he have the qualities?
According to him, the new Senate President should have high character, competence, capacity, conviction. With Kalu the meanings of those words are guaranteed to change.

“I am an economic person. I am an entrepreneur,” he said in justifying his claim that economic laws were needed to pull Nigeria back from further doldrum.

While 2019 seemed a great year for Kalu with his victory in the Abia North Senatorial Election, it ended badly for him. He was jailed 12 years for corruption first in Lagos, later in Kuje (Abuja), in a case that the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecuted over 12 years.

They were landmark moments for Kalu. He spent Christmas of 2019, and the New Year in jail. His 60th birthday was in jail too. It was a new low as he had spent almost a year planning his 60th with its pre-announcement being made at the 59th birthday that he celebrated during a visit to South Africa.

The Supreme Court on Friday 8 May 2020 released Kalu from jail. The verdict was that he was wrongfully convicted.
“I have come to know that the course of justice will not be complete if it stopped at my case. It must continue until it touches the lives of millions of Nigerians who face injustice anywhere in this world. I shall be dedicating my time henceforth to ensuring there will be justice for all Nigerians whether they are in Sokoto or Akwa Ibom or in Lagos or Maiduguri or in Jos or Enugu, or wherever they may be,” read Kalu’s statement as he stepped out of jail.

“Justice for one man or for a few people will no longer be enough in this country. A system whereby over 70% of all prison inmates population is made up of people awaiting trial cannot be allowed to continue. Situations where innocent people are falsely charged with murder just to get them out of the way does not dignify our country and cannot continue. Justice must now mean justice for all. That is my pledge to Nigerians.”

Who has heard Kalu say a word about prisoners and their conditions since May 2020? What happened to “my pledge to Nigerians”?

Kalu is a momentary man. He has always been. His post-prison re-habilitation was fast as he re-integration into the Senate whose principal officers paid him courtesy visits.

Read also: Reps spokesperson, Kalu joins race for speakership

Ahmad Lawan (APC-Yobe North, Senate President, Kalu’s room-mate in their days at the University of Maiduguri left the Chief Whip’s seat vacant until Kalu returned from jail. Kalu worships Lawan, the gratitude is everlasting.

Kalu is proof of how Nigeria has degenerated in case a proof is required. He is also proof that in a country, like ours, fractured through religion, region, poverty of indiscernible dimensions, and the arrogance of selfish leaders who are never done until they make a public show of their absence in things that ail Nigerians, does not realise the importance of positions and offices.
In truth, our leadership selection process is again being called to question.

We have gained immense expertise in skipping the question, at best we skirt round it. Anyone can lead, we say.
These egregious positions on leadership have thrown up all manners of people into positions that demand knowledge, expertise, and capacities to be groomed for future responsibilities. We think it is a little matter that does not matter.

Southern Nigeria, specifically, South East and South South, could lose the Senate presidency to the North because all the “pre-qualified” candidates from both zones are deemed unsuitable for the office.

See what we have from the two zones apart from Kalu –

Peter Ndubueze from Imo North Senatorial District and a member of the Otanchara Otanzu political bloc of the Okigwe area, first time Senator, thinks he qualifies. He is not ranked, but he reminds you that he was in the 1992 House of Representatives that the military threw out.

From Imo West comes Osita Izunaso, a ranking Senator whose victory has kept former Governor Rochas Okorocha, another prospect, out of the race. He is described as “unknown”, without presence.

Senator Godswill Akpabio is also on the card. Many of his colleagues say they are challenged to describe him. Whatever they think of him, he is another side of the same coin with Kalu.

Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano Central), Sani Musa (Niger East), Abdul’Aziz Yari (Zamfara West), Lawan (Yobe North), the current Senate President, and his perennial rival Ali Ndume (Borno South) have all joined the race “since the seat is for the best”.

Senators across party lines should rally to elect a worthy candidate from the South to the seat. If the search for a successor to Lawan is expanded beyond the All Progressives Congress, APC, we will find one who will give the Senate the respect that has been missing for years.

WHAT great ideas can rescue States from the grip of their “executive” Governors? The situation is critical.

.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues