ABIA: OUR GOVERNOR HAS DONE IT AGAIN.
Dateline Lagos,Nigeria.November 21 1979.President Shehu Shagari,barely seven weeks in office, granted pardon to rusticated student union leaders.Among them were former President of the National Union of Nigerian Students[NUNS] Segun Okeowo[University of Lagos],ex-President of Ahmadu Bello University[ABU] Zaria students union Bukar Mbaya,his University of Benin counterpart Ekpein Akpan and Offiong Aqua of University of Calabar.
The young men had been sanctioned by the General Olusegun Obasanjo Government in 1978.Part of the terms of the Shagari deal was that the quartet could re-apply for admission outside the institutions they attended before their rustication.
Former Abia state governor Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu was to suffer similar fate a couple of years later when as a Student Unionist,he was asked out by authorities of the University of Maiduguri.The young man was to be pardoned if he abandoned his other colleagues,this proviso, he flatly rejected.And that kept him out of university education for a long while.
Unlike Okeowo and Mbaya ,there was no President to revive Kalu's career.In 1999,he was elected Abia state governor.At that time,he chose to continue with his studies.Note that one did not need a degree to be a governor.And beyond Maiduguri,Kalu had been to Havard Business School.The governor went back to school.Abia state University received a new student who chose to sit in class like everyone else.
Donkey years on,the closest official to Kalu in those gubernatorial years,Chief Theodore Orji has decided to wage a political battle with the man who trusted him so much.Orji was Kalu's Chief of Staff for eight years.Infact,Kalu caused a stir when he resigned as governor two days to time in 2007,just to ensure that Orji was sworn in as his successor so that immunity would save him from EFCC witch-hunt.Today, Governor Theodore Orji, through the Abia state University, thinks the best way to prolong the strife is by withdrwing Kalu's degree.
Some of us may be wondering what is going on.Many are not amused.Chief Orji reads a lot of books,i know that, because he is a graduate of English.I am sure he remembers Idi Amin Dada of Uganda.From the rank of Sergeant,he was promoted to Colonel in 1964, and eventually appointed Chief-of-Staff, Defence by President Milton Obote.The same Amin toppled Obote in 1971.
Governor Orji must be familiar with this story.In Bangladesh,there was a certain Ziaur Rahman who was brought out of jail by Col.Abu Taher in 1975, and installed President.Less than a year later,Gen.Rahman hanged Taher.In neighbouring Pakistan,Zia-ul-Haq was moved from the position of Brigadier to Chief-of-Staff by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.Zia also drove Bhutto from power and hanged him.It should interest us to find out where these hangmen ended up.
Back to Abia.Politics is not a matter of life and death.We all know that Chief Obafemi Awolowo refused to join Shagari's government.Yet,when he was given the GCFR Honour Papa gladly accepted it.In our country,we applied the Docrine of Necessity.There are things that are done ,far away from politics,so that justice could seem to have been done.
In India,there is the Rajiv Gandhi story.When Sanjay,his younger brother died in an air crash in 1980,the former was elected to the latter's seat in parliament.He became Prime Minister following the assassination of his mom Indira Gandhi in 1984.It also hapened in Sri Lanka.Sirimavo Bandranaike became the world's first female Prime Minister in 1960, month's after her husband Solomon was kiled by a Budhist monk.
That a sitting governor could go sit down with fellow students in the lecture room was applauded by all including his Chief-of-Staff.When General Yakubu Gowon went to Warwick University after his ouster,Gen. Murtala Mohammed did not like it one bit.Mohammed felt it was not good for Nigeria's image for a 'whole' Gowon to be rushing for meals with students.
In Abia today,the people are looking for a statesman.Politics of exclusion and intimidation never changed anything.In Bolivia,there was two-time President Gen.Hugo Banzer Suarez.He was not only 'El Excelentisimo',they called him 'El Supremo'.In Italy,we had Benito Mussolini,'il Duce',a close ally of Adolph Hitler,'der fuhrer'.Definitely, these are not the kind of leaders Gov. Orji would idolise,no, not two years to the end of his tenure.Our own dear Zik,Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe taught us,"NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT.I wish Abia peace.
Obasi, is an aide to ex-Gov. Kalu.