By George Samuel
A frontline politician and Nigerian Professor of Sociology, Yemi Olarewanju has stated that to bring closure to the Nigerian civil war, the next president of Nigeria should come from the South-Eastern part of the country
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday night in Lagos, Professor Olarewanju, stated that “Fifty years after the civil war; fifty years after the Igbos rightly or wrongly believed they have been marginalised and persecuted in Nigeria, it is morally incumbent on the rest of Nigeria to make concessions to them for the land to be healed and the negative perception addressed”
He however emphasised that other geo-political zones in the country will be needing a detribalized Nigerian of Igbo-extraction to occupy that position and has identified Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as a man that meets that requirement.
According to Professor Olarewanju, “The current Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Orji-Uzor Kalu has acceptance in all the geo-political zones of country and is widely perceived as a bridge between Northern and Southern Nigeria. He is an astute Business man with interests in shipping, aviation, oil and gas, publishing and the banking industry. His track record is there for all to see”.
“He is quite different from most of the people parading themselves around as political leaders in the country. Most of our leaders became rich by dipping their hands into Government coffers unlike this man that was already rich before joining politics”
He further stated that, “You cannot talk about Nigeria’s return to democracy without mentioning the name Orji-Uzor Kalu since you cannot talk about our democracy without the formation of the PDP”
“I attended several meetings in his residence in Lagos during the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in 1998. I saw a man who was committed to the unity of Nigeria. He did not just commit his time and effort but his resources to the formation of PDP and the emergence of a South-Westerner as President”.
“The N5 million for the registration of the party was provided by him. He gave Gen Olusegun Obasanjo N100 million naira to fund his presidential campaign and also made the first N500 million donation to the party”
“He was funding most of the activities of the PDP at the formation stage. Everybody that came for meetings in his residence in Ikoyi collected transport money from him at every gathering. It was only Atiku Abubakar and Yomi Edu that never took money from him”
Asked if the Senator’s recent conviction would not count against him, he responded that his recent acquittal by the Supreme court actually counts in his favour.
He reminded Nigerians of various leaders who went to prison in the past and later became Presidents. He mentioned former President Olusegun Obasanjo and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari as some of the people that went to prison in the past.
In his words “Even Joseph went from Prison to the Palace in the Bible. I bet a lot of people in and outside the corridors of power in Egypt at that time believed the false accusation levelled against him by Potiphar’s wife before his conviction”
“Orji Uzor Kalu was already a billionaire before he became Governor of Abia state so I wonder how they say he stole their money”
“Joining politics was a set-back for his business. He lost his airline, banking license etc to politics. In fact, he would have been richer if he did not join the murky waters of Nigerian politics”
“Nigeria has done great disservice to this man. To think that they jailed him for some political reasons based on some funny calculation for 2023 is the greatest injustice that could be done to any man”.
“But I would like to thank the 7 justices of the Supreme court of Nigeria that saw the injustice meted to him by the High Court and found the courage to nullify his conviction”
“Governance is about managing human resources as well as the economy so we need people that are business oriented to come and run the affairs of this great nation”
“We need someone that has a track record of growing businesses from scratch and not people who became businessmen by stealing money from the government”
“I think Nigerians should ask this man to come and run the affairs of the country. The people from the Eastern part of the country should compel him to throw his hat into the ring and come and rescue this great nation.”
Concluding, the Professor of Sociology stated that “In 1998, Nigerians agreed that with the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, there was a need to heal the wound in the land by ceding Presidency to the South-West. We should as a nation do the same for the South East. They have not tasted power since the return to democracy in 1999. It would be morally wrong for any other zone to contest against them in 2023”