The Chief Whip of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who represents the good people of Abia North constituency has always been someone who is beloved by the masses but not so much always loved by the powerful especially those who wield political power at a national or subnational levels but who are not so much charismatic as to earn the love, admiration and respect of the greatest percentage of the citizenry.
What this means is that, because he has always carried on any political task given to him by the voters in such a very humbling manner and in such a very zealous way with the mindset that the wellbeing and welfare of the greatest percentage of the people represents his acceptable and irreducible benchmark.
By becoming such a grassroots man who is beloved as a politician at the grassroots level, he very often have found himself in externally induced confrontation with some of these very powerful people.
This was exactly what made the then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as the political tool to witch-hunt the Abia State born charismatic politician Senator Orji Uzor Kalu because the then President aforementioned, whose tumultuous tenure was about to end because he was not successful in getting the illegal third term that he very much sought after, was actually seeking for imaginary political enemies to pull down and so he thought Orji Uzor Kalu was his perfect prey.
Unfortunately, the EFCC led persecution which the government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo started has lingered and even when it has become so clear that it was purely a political vendetta and a malicious prosecution as established by both the nation’s apex Court and the Federal High Court, the EFCC which appears to be playing the political game of some northern phantom interest of desperately power hungry powerful office holders, has continued with the malicious prosecution by instituting a needless appeal against the well considered and well articulated judgment of the Federal High Court that barred the EFCC from prosecuting Orji Uzor Kalu over the so called charges bothering on the disappearance of N7 billion from Abia State treasury.
The Federal High Court had stated clearly that the person of Orji Uzor Kalu has nothing to do with the order for de novo trial ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. So his ordeals in these needless shenanigans by the EFCC have almost carved a niche and catapulted him on the same pedestal, I mean Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to that of the late black Freedom fighter in then apartheid South Africa Mr.Nelson Mandela.
These related ordeals suffered by Nelson Mandela were recorded in a colourfully produced book which I will quote below to demonstrate that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is the Nelson Mandela of modern Nigeria.
While Mandela was absorbed in the Freedom Charter, he was fighting fires in two other areas of his Life. On the legal front, the Law Society of the Transvaal applied to the Supreme Court to have him removed from the roll of accredited attorneys.
The reason: unprofessional conduct, given his political activities and his suspended sentence in defiance Campaign case.
At the same time Mandela & Tambo was flourishing and the motivation behind the action was clearly an attempt to hobble him professionally and privately.
In true Mandela fashion, the notice was no sooner served than he had arranged for a defense, briefing two high-powered advocates who agreed to act pro bono.
Or considerable encouragement during the run-up to the hearing were the offers of support from well-known Afrikaner lawyers and staunch National Party members who, nonetheless, viewed this action as an affront to the legal profession.
Mandela, pleased that even in a racist milieu, professionalism could sometimes supersede the color of a person’s skin, was further heartened by the outcome.
His defense argued that in a state where the rule of law applied, citizens had a right to their political beliefs. The judge agreed. He found in Mandela’s favor and ordered the Law Society to pay costs.
Whatever jubilation this occasioned, he went home to an increasingly disapproving wife. As thoroughly as Mandela was embroiling himself in the politics of liberation, so Evelyn was committing her life to the Jehovahs Witnesses. She took to distributing their magazine the Watchtower, thrusting copies at her husband and trying to convince him to accept her faith. But he couldn’t. For one thing the doctrine preached passivity, the last message Mandela wanted to hear. For another, he found her belief obsessive and wondered if this was to cover some hurt in her life.
He was being more than somewhat disingenuous. He might have devoted his life to the ANC, but these devotions included some of the female office-bearers. When Evelyn heard rumors that he was having affairs she challenged him. Mandela flew into a fury. He had long tried to convince her of the necessity of the struggle but they had no common ground in this regard. Now she was questioning his integrity. He moved his bed into the sitting room. He became cold and distant. In despair, Evelyn appealed to Walter and Albertina Sisulu to intervene. Sisulu did so, and was roundly told by Mandela to mind his own business. He then accused Evelyn of broadcasting their problems. Mortified, for a time he stopped eating at home, occasionally slept out, and took his laundry to his cousin. The atmosphere in the house upset his mother and she returned to Qunu. In trepidation his sister stood by watching two people she loved and respected tearing one another apart. (MANDELA THE AUTHORIZED PORTRAIT).
Whilst the first part of the experiences of Mandela recorded above represented the same kind of political persecution that EFCC is waging against Orji Uzor Kalu, the second which is domestic, does not apply to Orji Uzor Kalu because he is a reputable family man.
However, the maltreatment meted out to him by the Peoples Democratic Party that he Orji Uzor Kalu co-founded and funded the campaign of then Presidential candidate Chief Olusegun Obasanjo can be likened to the fires of instability ignited at home by his then Wife against Nelson Mandela.
This is because, PDP as Orji Uzor Kalu’s then political family stood by and allowed then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to try to destroy the rising profile of Orji Uzor Kalu who left the party(PDP) and founded his party then which won two states of Abia and Imo states. Orji Uzor Kalu had in the earliest stage of this political vendetta told the Federal High Court that he gave the then PDP’s Presidential candidate in 1999 Chief Olusegun Obasanjo the princely sum of N100 million to aid his campaign and he also dolled out a whopping sum of N50 million to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Anyway, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has remained a political pillar of hope in Nigeria despite these obstacles mounted against him.
This is so because ahead of 2023 Presidential and general elections, National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu few days back paid a visit to the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, APC, Abia North.
Tinubu was said to have visited the former Abia State governor at the Aso-Villa, Abuja Home of Kalu.
Tinubu arrived at Kalu’s residence at exactly 4:25 PM and both men hugged each other and exchanged cordial pleasantries, then proceeded for an indoor meeting.
Reports gathered that Shortly before they engaged in the meeting; Kalu expressed his gratitude to God for his speedy recovery.Tinubu, his return to Nigeria on October 8 after spending months in London, where he underwent knee surgery.
The reason for their meeting was not yet known, but it might not be unconnected with political intrigues going on ahead of 2023 Presidential and general elections, APC National convention, the direct primary system, among others.
The visit came amidst talks that both men are being strongly positioned for the 2023 presidency to succeed the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Both men were former Governors of their respective states within the same tenure.
While Tinubu was a former Senator, Orji Uzor Kalu is the current Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District in the 9th Senate.
Some cynical people are asking can Orji Uzor Kalu run for the highest office in Nigeria.
My answer is YES, WHY NOT?
He is a leader of men and a distinguished achiever in both the business and political World. He is one of the very few business people and employers of labour that keeps to his financial obligations to his workers.
He is such a leader as described in the next piece I’m going to use some aspects as necessary citations for this piece.
Written by Jacob Morgan who is an author, TED and keynote speaker, futurist and creator of FutureofWorkUniversity.com.
He began by affirming that everyone knows what leadership is, but few people can articulate what it truly means. Creating a cohesive definition within your organization is a crucial step for developing future leaders and maintaining unity and a strong leadership focus.
We talk about leaders and leadership nearly every day in the business world, but have you ever tried to actually define leadership? It can be much harder than you may think, but taking the time to define leadership and what makes a leader is crucial to building a cohesive culture and developing future leaders.
He then Asked, What is Leadership? And responded thus: “Ass part of the research for my new book, “The Future Leader,” I interviewed more than 140 CEOs around the world and asked them each to define leadership. Many people struggled or had to pause to think because it’s a word we use so frequently without really defining. We take the concept of leadership for granted and assume that we all know what leadership is and what a great leader looks like. Once the CEOs found their definitions, their answers ran the gamut. From more than 140 people, I didn’t receive a single duplicate response.
Some CEOs defined leadership as having business acumen, like setting a vision or achieving goals for a company. Other people focused on human qualities like empathy, humility or diversity. Every answer was different, but they were each correct. Every leader has their own personal definition of leadership, which influences how they lead and the culture and direction of their company. The definition of leadership can also change as the leaders themselves change. With new leaders come new approaches to leadership, which impacts overall culture and employees.
He also asked, Who is a Leader? Who then is a leader? There have been countless people through history that led people but were inhumane and destructive. Does that still make them leaders? In my mind, a leader is someone who does more than just lead people. They have to be driven by the right motivation and make a positive impact on the people around them.
A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision. Leaders can work toward making their vision a reality while putting people first. Just being able to motivate people isn’t enough — leaders need to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful. Leaders don’t have to come from the same background or follow the same path. Future leaders will actually be more diverse, which brings a variety of perspectives. Of course, other people could disagree with my definition. The most important thing is that organizations are united internally with their definition of leadership.”
The truth is that Orji Uzor Kalu possess such distinctive leadership qualities and he is charismatic and so is qualified and suited to run for office of the President of Nigeria in 2023.
The caliber of stakeholders trooping to his house in Abuja for consultations, shows that he is a person of significant political force and by the Will of God, he is qualified to run for the highest office in Nigeria comes 2023. The Northerners are comfortable with him because he is a patriotic statesman. The Yorubas love him because he has always run successful businesses employing thousands of Yorubas. The Igbos love him because he excelled in governance.
Beautifully enough, he recognises the Supremacy of God as a practicing Roman Catholic and so believes that God is with him in this VOCATION of offering selfless service to Nigeria and Nigerians. He loves sports and the youths. He empowers women economically. All segments of the society are happy with him.
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and one time National commissioner of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.