Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia spoke with Nigeria Vanguard Newspaper and below are some of his comments:
As the country inches towards the 2015 elections, many Igbo believe it should be the turn of the South-east to produce the president. But many of those who ought to lead the South-east presidency campaign appear to have a half-hearted belief in the cause. They are believed to be reading President Jonathan’s body language to see if he would be going for a second term.
But Kalu sees no sense in such wait for Jonathan. He says, “Anybody who wants to run for the presidency should prepare to run. Why should they wait for anybody to tell them whether he will run or not? That is part of the things that are not right in our democracy.”
“South-east has not been fairly treated. That is why when I see some Igbo people say they are waiting for Jonathan to decide whether he would run or not, I look at them as very stupid. Nobody should decide for anybody. As far as I am concerned, it is either you give Igbo the presidency or nothing.
“Almost 48 years after the civil war, you are telling people they are not entitled to rule Nigeria. Unless an Igbo man rules this country, the country would not be well. That is the truth because we are the salt of the nation. Whether you want to believe it or not, that is the truth. Anywhere you go in Nigeria and you don’t see an Igbo man living there, nobody lives there. So why don’t you give them the opportunity to rule their country? They have given Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, and Jonathan room to rule. Now is the South-east’s turn, it’s either the South-east or nothing.”
Strategy to Actualise President of Igbo Extraction
On whether the South-east has a coherent strategy for the achievement of their presidential dream, the former Abia State governor says formulating such plan is his preoccupation at the moment. “I know the national appeal is there,” he says. “I am going to play a leading role within my community to organise people for what Igbo are going to do. I wanted to be totally out of politics, but I’m going to sit back in my house and be part of their planning.
“I will plan for them and give them to go and execute. Awolowo wasn’t a president but he was a very important man in Nigeria. I’m sitting back to help give the Igbo what they don’t have: planning. I’m going to reconcile those who are quarrelling and get one of them to lead. We will get it right this time.”
He says the leaders; the candidates from the zone would emerge on their own. “But give me some months to be able to consult. The most important thing is the process that gets who would run for president. The president is just a by-product of unity. What I’m talking about is to kick-start the process. I have to go back to the drawing board, go back to the academics, traders, politicians, etc, and re-energise them to move forward.”
Is He Stepping into Ojukwu’s Shoes?
“I purposely kept away when Ojukwu died because his burial became an avenue for sycophancy. People who abused Ojukwu in my presence, people who never believed in him were praising him in death. I was surprised. That was why I sent a delegation to extend my condolences and I didn’t go”, he says..
“When Ojukwu was alive, they abandoned him. Most of these people who were talking abandoned him. Ojukwu’s brothers are there, they can speak because they know how close I was to him. They know I always tried to be with him at any point of his need.”
For the rest of the interview: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/09/2015-igbo-dont-have-to-wait-for-jonathan-orji-kalu/