As serious underground alignments and campaigns have begun for the 2015 general elections which is clearly over two years away, one major point of discussion is on how best to carry all segments of the Nigerian society into consideration and give every one of them a sense of belonging in the project Nigeria. A salient component of the public conversations is the place of the Igbo speaking nationality in the 2015 elections given that the ethnic nationality is the only one among the tripod of Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa that has never produced executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria right from inception of Nigeria as an independent nation. The nearest that the Igbo have come to realize this objective was in the immediate post independence period when the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the then National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon emerged as the non-executive President of Nigeria but political power resided in the Hausa-Fulani dominated party of Northern Peoples Congress controlled remotely by the then Northern regional leader Sir. Ahmadu Bello but symbolize by the then Prime minister Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Belewa.
One leading Nigerian politician who has carried out vigourous campaign to right the political wrong against the Igbo speaking nationality is the former governor of Abia state Chief. Orji Uzor Kalu who is a founding member of the ruling national party- Peoples Democratic Party. Orji Kalu is perhaps one notable political heavyweight from the South of the Niger that enjoys significant name recognition in all parts of the country and he has leverage on these monumental political advantage to raise the tempo of advocacy for the rest of the Nigerian society to consider supporting a good Nigerian statesman of Igbo extraction to emerge as the democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2015general elections. In spite of the fact that he has unduly suffered political setbacks and witch-hunt from the man he single handedly helped to make the governor of his home state of Abia state, this great mind Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is not deterred in his selfless campaign to ensure that an Igbo Nigerian statesman becomes the President of Nigeria even when the political characters that populates the South East today have betrayed the collective agenda of the people of South East Nigeria by already canvassing support for President Jonathan who has not even signified intention to vie for election in 2015 and indeed whose administration has not favored the South East with any significant infrastructural development over the last three years that he has presided over as the President of Nigeria.
Recently, in one of his elaborate foreign trips to drum up support for the Igbo, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu had the privilege to address the British Parliament whereby he laid bare the case of the Igbo in Nigeria and canvassed actively for support for an Igbo Nigerian statesman to become through popular mandate of the rest of Nigerians as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In a voice laden with poetic wisdom, Orji Kalu had told the global audience thus; “My people are known as the Igbo and our language is Igbo. Igbo people constitute one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria- what Nigeria historians have come to term the tribal tripod. The other two are the Yoruba and the Hausa / Fulani”.
“The primary Igbo states in Nigeria are Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu (if justice and equity reigned there should have been 6 or 7, instead of 5 States). Due to their mobility, the Igbo constitute between 25%- 60% of the population in some other Nigerian state such as Delta, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Cross River, Kaduna, AkwaIbom and Plateau, to mention but a few”, he stated.
Continuing, the irrepressible human rights campaigner stated further; “Although my people mainly and primarily inhabit the south-eastern part of Nigerian, they have, however spread, like ants in the savannah, to every nook and cranny of Nigeria, Africa and the globe – Thriving, building and enriching themselves, their environment and others in all facts of life as they do so”.
He went deeper into his rich collection of philo-political thoughts and offered the following wise saying; “The veteran American diplomat, Henry Kissinger, hit the nail on the head when he aptly observed that: “The Igbo’s are the wandering Jews of West Africa…… gifted, aggressive Westernized; at best envied and resented, but mostly despised by the mass of their neighbours in the Federation.” Henry Kissinger, MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT Tuesday 28th [Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, VOLUME E-5 Documents on Africa, 1969-1972]”.
These words of wisdom were uttered by Chief Orji Uzor Kalu before the British Parliamentarians just as he was able to masterfully raise a professorial question whether the Igbo speaking people in Nigeria are subject to a carefully scripted native law of discrimination which has made it impossible for an Igbo Nigerian statesman to ever emerge as President of Nigeria and he graphically narrated the factual proof that concluded that it is only just and right that the rest of Nigerians should offer the Igbo speaking person the opportunity to serve them as their President in 2015.
His words; “The Igbo in Nigeria have become the receptacle of anger, hatred, envy and frustration oozing out of their fellow compatriots. But this is on the level of the transaction between private citizens. How about the place of the Igbo in respect of the manner in which public affairs are conducted by the Nigeria federal Government and its agencies?”
The simple answer is that the rain has continued to beat the Igbo.
Not done with citing international political scholars, Orji Uzor Kalu also quoted from a well known Nigerian diplomat and writer Chief Ralph Uwechue who incidentally served as the president-general of OhanaezeNdigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, who categorically stated of the Igbo, in a paper entitled Igbo are nation builders that; “to the Nigerian project, the Igbo have given a great deal yesterday, are still doing so today, and have a lot more in store for a much greater tomorrow.’’
Like most thinkers, Orji Kalu concluded by persuading the rest of Nigerians to considerate imperative that It is time for the bloody rain to stop beating the Igbo people and for all forms of political discrimination against the Igbo institutionalized in Nigeria to be radically uprooted.
“Igbo people are already drenched and soaked to the point of suffocation. It not only in the best interest of the Igbo but also in the best interest of the Nigerian people for the sun to rise and shine in us all”.
He used the opportunity to campaign for all poor Nigerians irrespective of ethnic and religious affiliations, thus; “Permit me to use this opportunity to appeal to the British government through this distinguished gathering to increase funding for special projects that benefit the underprivileged in Nigeria and Africa in general”.
He argued persuasively that the proposed legislation in the UK parliament to reduce aid for health, education and infrastructure, amongst others, while committing more funds to war areas such as Mali with the provision of arms and ammunition will be counterproductive both in the immediate and medium term. Nigeria, he rightly told the British political elites, needs increased funding to meet our development challenges, the biggest of which is achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs). “This intervention will bridge the gap between the rich and poor countries, thereby making the world a better place for all of us and our children”, Orji Kalu argued.