By Dr. Johnson Greg
Instinctively, one should sense that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was going to be the decisive factor in the choice of the next president for Nigeria. There are certain culmination of forces that shape and control the affairs and destinies of men. One could see the stars lined up in favor of OUK. That which was thinkable only on the outer margins of human imagination not long ago became a distinct possibility within months.
Yes, on December 5, 2019, OUK was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. It was a day that will live in infamy. Everybody thought that OUK was finished once and forever. Six months and 3 days later, the tide of destiny turned in his favor. Now look at what has happened within three months of the unanimous Nigerian Supreme Court judgment. That which was unthinkable in December 2019 became a possibility in May 2020. And in August, it has become a fait accompli. That is if you understand what is happening all over the country, particularly in the East right now. There has been a massive realignment of forces, all galvanizing behind OUK as the leader of choice. The churches, the politicians, market women and trade associations, traditional rulers, youth organizations rally behind OUK. Entire political structures are being dismantled and realigned behind him.
Some may still not understand why OUK would have such appeal at this time. It is not about the man per se. It is more about the compelling story of the indefatigability of the human spirit. It is about the story of triumph of justice over injustice. If William Shakespeare were alive today, OUK’s story will have inspired a play by Shakespeare and such book will be about the unseen hands of destiny that shape the affairs of men. Today, OUK is no longer just a man. He is no longer just one person. He is becoming a movement and an inspiration. The story of OUK tells you this: whatever challenges you may face, however much man may castigate you, however dark the day may look; don’t panic, don’t fear, hold firm to your principles, God is in charge.
For every great story, everybody is involved. So we are all involved in OUK’s story. Even for a person, who vigorously opposes him today, such a person is deeply involved in OUK’s story. Whether you like it or not, OUK is an indisputable Nigerian phenomenon, a direct product of the unique Nigerian circumstance. If you are a good student of history, you will be familiar with the factors that characterize moments of social transitions. OUK could be a bridge. That’s is the plan of those of us who support him. Every bridge must have to traverse the river. You must expect every bridge to start from one bank of the river and touch the other bank. As a bridge, OUK must be part of the past and part of the future. He must end the past politics of disunity and start and start the new politics of reconciliation, justice and development. Judging him harshly for being part of the past will be a terrible mistake. OUK had to be part of the past political establishment in order to act as a bridge across to the new era. He will be the last and first of two political orders in Nigerian history.
Two things make OUK’s presidency inevitable. First, Nigeria must allow now an Igbo president. Failure to do that will amount to missing the last boat. To not end the civil war through the gesture of an Igbo presidency now is to continue that war. Secondly, if presidency is zoned to the East, the successful Igbo candidate must be one that enjoys the widest support of non-Igbos, particularly the North. It is precisely on this calculus that Orji Uzor Kalu’s presidency in 2023 is considered as inevitable, an unstoppable thrust, and a fait accompli.