Fellow Nigerians, let me say how nervous I’m about our pricey beloved nation, Nigeria. Sure. I’m troubled due to how a lot we’ve got allowed politics and politicking to show our land right into a playground of beasts and vampires. It’s unhappy, very unhappy.
Simply yesterday, an previous good friend woke me up from my deep sleep. He’s no aside from the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. I had tried to succeed in him desperately in the previous couple of weeks after studying all types of stories on-line about him. The one which alarmed me the most was a purported “Breaking News” that stated Orji has simply died after an unsuccessful operation in Germany. I used to be so rattled that I shortly put a name by way of to my pricey pal and former colleague at Harmony Newspapers of Nigeria, Eric Osagie, now the Managing Director of The Solar Newspapers. As quickly as he picked his telephone, I attempted to verify if I might hear, or really feel, any wailing, or gnashing, of tooth in the background however my pal sounded as boisterous as ever. Ever since I knew Eric, I’ve by no means seen or heard him in a uninteresting second.
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Eric screamed my moniker as all the time “Bob Deeeee!” I retaliated, “Ericooo!” and I went straight to the purpose I used to be calling him, “Where is Orji Kalu?” I requested, hurriedly. “Your friend is in his house in Abuja,” Eric responded, matter-of-factly. Someway, I assumed he was simply being intelligent and tactful and didn’t need to break the unhappy information simply but. I wasn’t going to permit Eric do this to me. The reporter in me took the higher hand and I thundered: “I just read that Orji is dead!” However Eric, in his attribute confidence mode, responded authoritatively. “Bob Dee, don’t mind them, your friend is in his house in Abuja, please call him.” Wow, thank God, I sighed and simmered. I referred to as however received no response from my pal of over 27 years.
Regardless of the state of affairs, my associates are all the time my associates. Enterprise or politics ought to by no means separate associates. Orji was already a profitable businessman once I met him round 1990. I used to name him “The Aba Trader” then and he modified my nickname from Bob Dee to Don Dee. He used to select me up each now and then to go to his numerous websites and properties in Lagos and I used to be fairly impressed about his enterprise acumen and imaginative and prescient. I beloved to gist with him, as he had unimaginable info on all the things and everybody. Considered one of the most fascinating tales I savoured endlessly from him was that of the coup that nearly toppled Common Ibrahim Babangida from the seat of energy at Dodan Barracks. Orji is a particularly affable man whose wealth of associates, from North to South and East to West, is exceptional and commendable. I want each Nigerian was like members of their era who noticed Nigeria as one nation and not a rustic of fratricidal fractional nationalities.
Once I was in exile in England, Orji contacted me often each time he breezed into London and he all the time invited me to his lovely house in North Finchley. We had enjoyable visiting the greatest eating places and we have been so shut then and stay so now. I’ll all the time recall his go to to our former house, on Romford Street in East London, when my spouse and I had the naming ceremony of our second son, Enitanyole, in July 1996. Additionally current was Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Sadly, I’ve not been capable of find most of the pictures taken on that special day, however we nonetheless have that of Tinubu and myself.
When Ovation took off full blast, we did an unique interview with Orji Kalu at house in London, entitled “Aba Trader Eyes the Government House.” It was the first time Orji revealed that he was nursing the gubernatorial election in his house State of Abia, in South-East Nigeria. I used to be excited by the story, which was lavishly garnished with lovely footage of his London residence. Although I had my doubts about his means to tackle and dislodge the firmly-rooted skilled politicians in Nigeria, I used to be nonetheless comfortable that profitable managers of males and assets have been stepping into politics, as an alternative of abandoning governance in the arms of semi-literates, mediocrities and never-do-wells.
My solely fear at the time was the danger of duelling with political sharks and alligators who have been able to tear everybody and every little thing into shreds if it threatened their entrenched pursuits. I felt that Orji may find yourself a veritable sufferer of their customary shenanigans. Orji quickly began his marketing campaign and I monitored him from a distance. His uncooked braveness all the time marked him out and I assumed his humongous enterprise conglomerate was the supply of his confidence and suavity. He contested and gained the governorship race and I used to be very elated. We met a couple of occasions every time he was in his Lagos house and I relished our breakfast conferences at his house on Victoria Island. He had brilliant concepts about the right way to rework Aba from a rural setting to a cosmopolitan society. I observed in his first time period that he launched into an aggressive modernisation of roads, which was hailed in many newspaper studies, which I consider gave him the alternative to win a second time period, regardless of his operating battle with President Olusegun Obasanjo. The one time I visited Abia State was once I was made a Chief by HRH Eze Dr. Ngozi Israel Ibekwe, the conventional ruler of Etiti Mgboko Umuanunu Historic Kingdom. Until I’m doing a narrative or I’m expressly invited for some exercise, perform and even go to, it isn’t my fashion to hassle my associates who’re in positions of energy. I consider that they’ve sufficient on their plate and that I shouldn’t add to their issues or distract them from their critical work of nation- constructing.
I had no technique of assessing or ascertaining how properly he did as governor, however he appeared highly regarded from the means he was handed a second time period by his individuals. Sooner or later, he even nursed a presidential ambition. I can’t be stunned if he nonetheless does as a result of I do know he’s captivated with Nigeria and feels that we now have to date been short-changed by the high quality of leaders that we’ve got had. He stays resolute and agency in the perception that he nonetheless has rather a lot to supply the nation. Orji was certainly one of the most vociferous critics of the Obasanjo regime. He have to be recommended for surviving the blistering Hurricane OBJ that swept away a number of governors of that unimaginable period. Since he left energy, his critics have attacked him too endlessly and he’s been dragged earlier than the anti-corruption company, EFCC, accused of pilfering a few of the assets meant for creating his state. The latest controversy has now led to the hearsay of his dying.
Nicely, Orji woke me up from mattress yesterday morning. “Don Deee, how are you?” Then he went into the hearsay of his demise. He stated he was comfortable that he survived his operations that lasted many hours.
He questioned why some individuals needed him lifeless after serving his state and nation meritoriously. He jogged my memory of how lengthy we’ve recognized one another and recalled how he had made his billions by way of his SLOK Group, lengthy earlier than he went into politics.
He was very excited to talk with me identical to previous occasions and as we often do each time we have now the alternative to work together. He stated he was returning to Germany to recuperate correctly and absolutely and I wanted him a protected journey. It’s all the time a delight chatting with a person who has a few of the hottest gist about males and ladies of energy. His tentacles and attain additionally transcend Nigeria.
Orji shouldn’t be the solely butt of jokes and ridiculous rumours in this season of political giddiness. I’ve needed to virtually interact in scorching verbal exchanges with supposed educated and clever Nigerians over the cloning or physique double hypothesis about our President Muhammadu Buhari.
I sat just lately with a senator at the Transcorp Hilton Lodge, Abuja, who insisted that Buhari is not on this planet and he’s been changed by a nebulous Jubril from Sudan. My God, what method of nation is that this, I soliloquised. The thought that any rational or affordable individual might ponder that such far-fetched subterfuge and con could possibly be perpetrated by any group of Nigerians with the collaboration of foreigners, particularly the English, simply makes the thoughts boggle. It’s for instance completely ridiculous and sheer insanity to ascribe to the Vice President,
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo – a cerebral, discerning man of God, a professor of Regulation and the quick beneficiary of any unlucky accident to the President – any position in such a farcical debacle. Certainly, it’s such a crying disgrace that supposedly sensible, clever and clever males and ladies would even deign to condescend to hitch the cacophony of noise and pleasure about the existence of such a dastardly plot. For me, this can be a distraction that we will least afford when there are essential issues to interact us as a nation, notably as we draw close to elections, which can become the making, breaking or in any other case of our nice nation.
I’ve met Buhari at shut vary on at the least 4 events since 2011, together with partaking him on their lonesome in a room in Aso Rock in 2015. So far as I’m involved, he stays the similar individual now as he was then. He could also be affected by the growing older course of and ailing well being, however that occurs to us all. It does not make us cloned or a physique double or doppelgänger of a Sudanese man. How can anybody need to brainwash Nigerians like widespread idiots? The very fact individuals disagree politically is not any purpose to fabricate such malicious, irresponsible and fallacious tales about anybody least of all the President of our nation.
All our political gladiators should purge themselves of this toxic bile. At the similar time, I’ve a beneficiant recommendation for Buhari and his handlers in specific. They need to resist the temptation to play politics of coercion. Whereas I agree that there’s loads of pretend information going round, which is a mere a part of the Web phenomenon, not a lot of it’s hate speech, however mere irresponsible, spiteful or simply jocular individuals who have no idea any higher. Solely God provides energy. To label rational however dissenting speech as pretend information simply heats up the polity and clearly degrades us and our democracy.
Dissent and criticism are the hallmarks of true freedom and the capacity to tolerate such critique is the distinction between celebrated statesmen and despised autocrats, dictators and tyrants.
A few of the strikes of sure authorities officers and businesses in current occasions have been interpreted as an indication of panic and desperation. Blocking and obstructing opposition on all fronts may very well make sure candidates extra fashionable. We’ve got current historical past to check with in this regard. A phrase is sufficient for the sensible.
As we strategy 2019, one other yr of elections in Nigeria, the unification, safety and financial well-being of our countrymen and ladies ought to be our precedence. It isn’t how lengthy we rule or reign however how properly that’s necessary and very important.
God bless Nigeria.
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Culled from ThisDay