Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, has said his clamour for a president of Igbo origin in Nigeria in 2015 is not based on the platform of any political party. Kalu, at different fora in the United States of America, last week, said that to achieve the lofty aim, it has to be beyond the confines of a political party, hence the formation of a non-partisan political movement, the Njiko Igbo.
He said it had become imperative for all Igbo sons and daughters, home and abroad, to unite behind the Njiko Igbo for the realization of the objective of having, for the first time in Nigeria, an elected president of South-East origin. Kalu, who spoke first at a dinner held in his honour by Yoruba professionals at the residence of Chris Ogunrinde in Charlotte, North Carolina, added that as a person charged with the noble role of coordinating the aspirations of the Igbo and reaching out to other regions, he needed to be neutral by not associating with any political party at this point. Kalu said: “I need to be neutral at all levels in achieving a unifying platform for this laudable project.
We have many qualified and dynamic people who have both the technical expertise and wealth of experience in the private and public sectors that are fit to occupy the position of Nigeria’s president. Responding, Ogunrinde applauded the commitment of Kalu in promoting unity in Nigeria. He described the ex-governor as a bridge-builder with network of contacts beyond boundaries.
He acknowledged the support of the Igbo in voting en masse for the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1993 and 1999/2003 presidential elections, promising to mobilize Nigerians in the USA to support the move for a president of South-East origin. At another parley with a cross-section of the Igbo in USA, Kalu passed across the same message, soliciting support for the project. Dr. A. Eze, a consultant surgeon, who spoke on behalf of others, pledged their unalloyed support for the Igbo cause. Eze stated that the Igbo have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria in all ramifications and deserve to be given the opportunity to lead the country.
Also commenting at the event, a friend of Dr. Eze’s, Mr. Abdullahi Umar, poured encomiums on Dr. Kalu. Umar went down memory lane on the selfless fight of Dr. Kalu when he held sway as president, Student Union Government of the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. He also acknowledged his role in building the PDP with the likes of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, General Ibrahim Babaginda, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the late Chief S.M. Afolabi and General Aliyu Gwarzo, among others, and also the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), which have both produced political office holders.
In another development, Dr. Kalu was also a guest at the anniversary dinner of the North Carolina chapter of the Jewish National Association, where he thanked members for their support and sought the strengthening of cordial relationship with Nigerians. The association said it was delighted to have Nigerians grace this year’s anniversary dinner and promised to extend the same invitation next year.