By Emmanuel Onwubiko
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a household name in politics all around Nigeria. He was instrumental alongside others like Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Nassir Elruffai, Orji Uzor Kalu and the All Progressives Congress’s machinery made up of the National hierarchy of the then opposition All Progressive congress, to the emergence in 2015 of the former military Head of State of Nigeria retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari as the elected President of Nigeria. Muhammadu Buhari it would be recalled had already given up on running for the office of civilian President of Nigeria after he failed thrice spectacularly. Tinubu and all others moved in with a lot of resources to match the then ruling party money for money.
It was a tough call but fortunately, the incumbent President then Dr Goodluck Jonathan an urbane, well polished, sophisticated academic and someone who loves peace, conceded victory to his opponent who in the last 7 years has held sway as the President of the largest black nation on Earth- Nigeria. He will inevitably retire after two terms in 2023 and as it is, campaigns are intensifying on the potential successor to the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari. In APC, itis expected that it would zone the office of the President to Southern Nigeria.
However, political events in the past few weeks, have shown that there is indeed someone in politics who is so loved that his ‘indecision’ or calculated waiting for the appropriate time to declare for office of the President of Nigeria in the next year’s election has landed him in the Court of law by his supporters who do not share same Ethnic or religious orientations but have decided that this gentleman who has young age on his side, physically and academically fit and competent, politically experienced, is the best amongst equals who should run for the most important political office in the World in 2023 which is the office of the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria.
This person is no other than the Senate Chief Whip who served successfully and triumphantly as elected governor of God’s own state of Abia for eight years and who played significant role in making the All Progressives Congress one of the fastest growing political parties East of the Niger- Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who also represents the good people of Abia North in the Ninth Senate of the Federal Republic.
Hitherto, some supporters of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu made threats to drag him to court so he declares his aspiration to run for the office of President but this threat fizzled into thin air because those supporters never activated their mechanisms to do as they threatened.
But not ths same with these supporters of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who proceeded to the Bauchi State High Court to file their suit showing how serious, committed and result oriented that they are with their resolve that the Senate’s Chief Whip must declare immediately. I saw the Senate’s Chief before the Christmas break and from what I gleaned, it would seem he has been served with the relevant court documents. He did not disclose any information to me because my visit to him was a social and non political visit.
I actually met him to invite him to the Thanksgiving service of my new baby girl Nneoma Chisom which took place at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral Abuja
Back to the pending suit in Bauchi, specifically, two supporters of the former governor of Abia State Senator Orji Uzor Kalu actually instituted a suit at the Bauchi State High Court-3, asking the court to compel him to join the 2023 presidential race.
The suit was filed by Comrade Aliyu Ladan and Lawan Abdullahi.
The plaintiffs, while addressing the press on Sunday, claimed that only Kalu could rescue Nigeria as the country is engulfed in suffering, hardship and insecurity.
They said, “we know his capacity to change the scenario, his capacity to change things from negative to positive, He has done it in Abia state, despite its challenges, Kalu turned the people of Abia into good persons in Nigeria because of his laudable achievements and leadership capacity.
“We have entered into an agreement with him on February 2nd, 2021 that he would contest for president but he is reluctant to declare his interest. Kalu is a person with all the capacity and capability to change the narratives of a nation, he is a man of purpose and foresight, a mentor to many citizens, a dynamic Nigerian, an advocate of justice, a revolutionary politician, a consummate administrator, master strategy, he is a blessing not only to Igbo but the entire Nigerians.”
The supporters had in a suit number: BA/331/2021 approached the Court to compel Kalu to contest the coveted office.
“We are in court because we want the court to respect our agreement, for contesting as president of Nigeria, we want the Court to compel Kalu to declare his interest to run in the 2023 General election, as a presidential candidate, under the flatorm of All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other party,” they said.
“We want the court to direct Kalu to commence preparation and put all the necessary machinery in place, for the purpose of contesting as presidential candidate.”
The plaintiffs said that many credible groups across the six senatorial zones were drumming support for Kalu to vie for president in 2023 because they found him worthy to deliver good governance to the nation.
They urged the ruling APC to commence a process of adopting him as the sole candidate of the party.
The case was assigned to the presiding Judge, Justice Sambo who said ordered the plaintiffs to serve Kalu with the originating summons in Abuja outside the jurisdiction of the court and he adjourned the suit to 27 January 2022 for hearing.
Observers say this is a historical moment and that this is the first of its kind in recent memory.
Few weeks after the suit aforementioned was instituted, another political pressure group called Grassroots Mobilizers Association Of Northern Nigeria (GMANN) has chosen Orji Uzor Kalu as the best choice to replace the incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria when Buhari’s elapses in 2023.
The group also expressed their total support for the Southeast geopolitical zone to produce the successor of President Buhari in 2023 hence their choice of Orji Uzor Kalu from the Southeast as according to them “Igbo Presidency is ideal for 2023 because it will bring about political stability needed to entrench peaceful coexistence among all the inhabitants of our great nation”
Converner and National Chairman of the group Alhaji Muritala Mohammed alias Ten Ten who spoke to journalists in a press conference addressed in Abuja explained that GMANN picked Kalu for the top position at Aso Rock Villa because he has all it takes to pilot the affairs of Nigeria as regards the ability to manage the resources of our great nation into 21st century economy considering his profile as a global figure being an international businessman, a two term State governor and a Senator.
Alhaji Ten Ten went further to say that the Senate Chief Whip who is representing Abia North in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly made the choice of GMANN because he holds the ace as a democrat, a fighter of the people and detribalised Nigeria from the Southeast who is popular and acceptable both to the people in all parts of the country and to the international community.
The GMANN convener who is a well known mobilizer in parts of the North expressed the preparedness of the group to work in collaboration with others groups across the length and breath of Nigeria for Kalu adding that the group has already rooted its structures across wards and villages all over the Northern regions.
He added “We have made our checks and picked Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as the one who is much better to take over from President Buhari in 2023 because he has the exposure, experience and capacity to unite the people, reposition our future with adequate management of our goods and services and transform our great nation into a safe, secured place of abode and a prosperous 21st century economy”
As a Strategic political observer, I think the Senate Chief Whip should make up his mind and declare to run given that he is eminently qualified and he has what it takes to win victory for his political family in 2023.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is a HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND POLITICAL STRATEGIST IN ABUJA.