Youths in their thousands on Thursday besieged the ever busy roads in Anambra State calling on the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to contest for the 2023 presidential election.
Kalu, who was billed to deliver a keynote address at an entrepreneurship youth programme held in the state, was received with chants of solidarity by the youths.
The entrepreneurship programme, tagged: “Access More With Stanel,” was organised by Anambra born business mogul. Dr. Stanley Uzochukwu, in collaboration with Access Bank, Anambra State Government, Airopay, Bon Hotel and other top rated business entities.
Displaying their various colourful placards and banners with inscriptions such as: “Orji Kalu for presidency 2023,” the youths in their thousands trooped to the major road on sighting Senator Kalu’s convoy.
The development prompted the Chief Whip’s convoy to slow down for Kalu to acknowledge the greetings and cheers of the visibly excited groups.
Recall that earlier same day, the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, received Kalu in the Anambra State Government House, Awka.
Obiano who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, received Kalu and his entourage at 1:10pm and proceeded for a private meeting.
In an exclusive chat with one the youth leaders, Okezie Ibezim, on the motive behind the rousing welcome, said the South East people are with the interest of becoming equal among other regions of Nigeria in the leadership of the nation.
In Ibezim’s words: “The relative peace of the nation can be achieved if all stakeholders of the United Nigeria are carried along, given equal opportunity and 2023 is actually the time to include the South East into the leadership of Nigeria.
“We are here today to welcome one of our own, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, to Anambra State.
“The youths you see gathered today had prayed for a time like this, an opportunity to tell Dr. Orji Kalu our view on the presidency in 2023.
“We want him to run for the presidency in 2023 for it’s our right, going by the rotation seen so far since 1999.
“We’re happy he’s here today.
“You can see that from the crowd here to welcome him.”
Speaking further on the agitation and unrest by some South East indigenes to secede, Okezie said those motives were driven by the way the zone had been marginalised.
He said: “We have not forgotten how this region has been marginalised for decades.
“That is the very reason we still have some Igbos not believing in the nation Nigeria.
“2023 is another time for Nigerians to prove we are a one united nation.
“2023 will either change the thinking of an average Igbo man to if we’re united in one purpose or not.
“We’re ready to support our own.
“We are ready to even change the economy of the nation.
“We have the skills naturally and we have the people that are with the capacity to make Nigeria a great nation.
“Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is one of those persons from this region that we know and believe can take on this task.
“We have our rally around him.”
Okezie stressed the need of other regions to throw their weight on the Igbo presidency vision of 2023, just as they’ve supported other regions, be it in the Peoples Democratic Party or All Progressives Congress.
He said: “No region is an island to the success of elective presidential positions in Nigeria.
“We had supported other regions in past elections, be it the PDP or the APC.
“Anambra is All Progressives Grand Alliance state, but you can’t say the state had no single votes in respect to elected presidents from other political parties that had mounted the presidential seat.
“I see no reason why other regions should turn their back on the South East for no one knows where the messiah would come from.”
The lecture was delivered by Senator Kalu at the Stannel Dome, the venue of the event.
Also had in attendance were the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke; former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Founder President and Chairman, Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmos Maduka; former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Charles Soludo; CEO, Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyeama; Founder, Centre for Value in Leadership, Prof. Utomi; Hon. Chris Azubogu; Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Uche Okafor; Hon. Edozie Madu; and traditional rulers among others.