As the South-East continues to push for power shift in 2015, former governor of Abia Sate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday urged ambitious northern politicians to tap from the wisdom of Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Generals Yakubu Danjuma and Abdusalami Abubakar.
According to Kalu, the trio, all prominent northerners, looked at the larger picture even when opportunity offered itself, and chose not to satisfy self first. He said: “Alhaji Bello, the Sardauna, would have been the first Prime Minister of Nigeria in 1957, but he dashed it to Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. “As Premier of the North, he brought fellow premiers, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo together, ahead of the 1957 Constitutional Conference in London where among other things, it was agreed that the country should have a Nigerian prime minister. Even when Zik and Awo took up positions in Lagos, the Sardauna chose to remain in Kaduna.”
On Danjuma, Kalu brought in the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed in 1976, saying “Danjuma could have usurped power then. The head of state was dead, his next in command, General Olusegun Obasanjo’s fate was unknown since the bullets meant for him landed on Ordinance boss, Col. Reys Mathew Dumuje. As Army Chief, Danjuma sent Lt. Col. Ibrahim Babangida to shake Lt. Col. Bukar Dimka and later, Lt. Col. Chris Ugokwe to clear Radio Nigeria. He would later encourage Obasanjo, who had emerged from Col. Olu Bajowa’s house, to take over.”
The former Abia State governor also gave credit to General Abubakar, adding, “here was a man who was to be retired in June 1998, his month of birth (June 13, 1942) and a tough month (following June 12) since 1993.Then he got the Presidency on a platter of gold. “With both Air Force and Army background, Abubakar could have continued with military dictatorship.
He chose to leave in 11 months, a man of honour,” Kalu said. Concluding, Kalu said the journey to 2015 needed more men of honour and honesty leaders with a sense of history, patriots, who would stand up against marginalisation and preach a fair deal for the Igbo.