He was called the action governor when he held sway as governor. He was loved and admired. He was a young man, handsome, rich and full of courage. He fought Obasanjo and installed a governor in absentia. His preferred stooge was in Kirikiri when the elections held but he was returned and under a party that he formed barely months to the elections. Such were the powers he wielded. He was on course to replicate the Jagaban dynasty in the South East when his party poached Imo, but that was not to be. His greed and vaulting ambition made sure he never went beyond Abia and that greed would relegate from Abia politics for 12 years.
He is back on familiar turf and boy, he is having a field day. I watched him on Channels sunrise daily and it was vintage OUK. He may not have the gift of eloquence but he has a way of making you listen to him. He knows how to impose himself, how to grab attention and how to make it about Orji Uzor Kalu. When the ‘constituted authority’ of Oyo had a running battle with Adebayo Shittu, it was Kalu that played the peacemaker. When Nnamdi Kanu was in prison and tension was palpable, it was Kalu that went visiting to explore the chances of a political solution. The man is simply a good opportunist. He knows when to move in and strike.
He wants to be deputy Senate President. He wants to do it for us. He says Ndigbo cannot be sidelined and he is right. He says it is wrong for Ndigbo to have no voice at the top echelon. He says he will drop his ambition if APC zones the Speakership to the South East. Such altruistic intervention can rarely be faulted. But his altruism loses flavor if we probe deeper. He endorsed Femi. He says The President wants Femi. He foreclosed the door on a position we’ve never occupied since the dawn of this republic. By endorsing Femi, he makes himself the only choice. For 12 years we’ve held that position and it doesn’t occur to him that the South South will insist on having their turn since they’ve never tasted it.
The mace runner seems poised to land the position. Obarisi, as he is fondly called became notorious for leading thugs to invade the National Assembly. They stole the mace and ridiculed our democracy. For a party that prefers men who display unquestionable loyalty even at the expense of the country’s democracy, APC seems to have more faith in Omo Agege. In him they have a tested voltron who can do the dirty jobs in the name of patriotism.
I am sure OUK will not mind being the Senate Leader. Whatever puts him in a vantage position of reckoning is more important than any claim of Igbo cause. A good leader will rally fellow leaders and choose a fight to face.
We may lose both positions and it will be because when it mattered most, we allowed personal interest distract us from the bigger picture. It has always been Kalu’s mortal flaw. He seeks to be the face of the Igbo leadership but he must learn when to sacrifice personal interest for the common good.