Igbo leadership now in our hands – Okorocha tells Orji Kalu
Old Igbo political ideology "not the best" - Okorocha I hope to bring Igbo leaders for roundtable discussion - Kalu
The Senator representing Imo West, Senator Rochas Okorocha, says that leadership of the Igbo nation has fallen on the shoulders of Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu and himself.
He said that this followed the demise of previous leaders like Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and inactivity of others like Senator Arthur Nzeribe and Jim Nwobodo.
Okorocha, who is a former Imo State Governor and current Chairman of Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, disclosed this in a Thursday statement.
The statement itself followed a meeting with Kalu at the Abuja home of First Vice National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) South East, Dr Julius Anyim Nyerere.
Okorocha said, “Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu is late, politicians like Jim Nwobodo, Arthur Nzeribe and many others are no longer active as they use to be. Many other great leaders are no more and that vacuum must be filled up. So the responsibilities have fallen on other people’s shoulders, and that shoulder is that of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and myself. So it is important that we gather as brothers and discuss issues that will help the entire Igbo people. Because if a child knows what killed his father, he wouldn’t allow himself to die same way.
“I am using this opportunity to tell my brother, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu that the dance we are dancing now is not for ourselves but to entertain the public and know if they will be happy. If I dance for you to give me money, that means something is wrong. So the dance now is not for us but to see if there will be a better future for Igbo people. We have decided to work together. We are learning on the job on how to work together. We have to make a shift from the normalcy.
“The political ideology inherited from our predecessors and political forefathers are not really the best. We were taught to maintain political enemies for the rest of your life. That is why the likes of Jim Nwobodo and Alex Ekwueme never agreed until death, Mbakwe and Arthur Nzeribe never agreed until death and so we must carve out a niche so we don’t transfer this to subsequent generation of “Ndigbo”, that is why people like Orji Uzor Kalu and myself must profess love amongst ourselves and not only within us but within our enclave.
“We should never allow division among ourselves. We must distinguish ourselves in character and at the same time know when to extend our hands of fellowship to our brothers who are not on the same political stand with us. This will help us to know when political war will end and when brotherhood will start. Because in life you need to know when to start and when to stop. We need to come together to make sure that Igbo people are no longer used as political spare tyres. I saw a protest yesterday in Abuja and Lagos and that protest is a pointer. We need to dramatize our love and peace so that subsequent generations can key in to it.”
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In a reaction, Kalu said, “I am happy because Owelle (Okorocha) has spoken so well. I want peace to return to APC in the Southeast. I am the highest politically-elected officeholder in the Southeast by virtue of my office as the Chief Whip.
“In the Senate, I am ranked number four and I have never taken it for granted. The only problem I am facing is resolving the issue between the Governor of Imo State (Hope Uzodinma) and the former Governor (Rochas Okorocha); for them to be on the same page. I will be fulfilled politically any day both of them decide to work together. My dream is to have a roundtable discussion with Governor Uzodinma, yourself (Okorocha), Senator Ken Nnamani, Hon Minister Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Chris Ngige and Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and others. Once we achieve that, the sky will be our starting point. If we are unable to resolve the political issues in Imo State it will be difficult for us to move forward.”
He said his concern was not limited to the South-East but for the whole Nigeria to live in unity and prosperity.
“I want to see a larger Nigeria where every citizen will be comfortable, where Igbos will be reintegrated into the socio-economic and political fabric of our nation, where our people will be more respected.
“There are two basic factors in democracy; the software and the hardware of democracy, but people are always focused on the hardware and pay less attention to the software, the software talks about strict compliance to the rule of law governing the society.
“People think democracy is only about building infrastructure but it is also about managing people I am talking about participatory democracy, where we create room for dialogue,” Kalu said.
The former Abia state governor advised governors and other stakeholders in the South-East to learn to resolve their differences amicably in private quarters instead of watching their dirty linens in public.