Your Excellency, Dr. Orji Kalu, MON, kindly permit me to write this piece not because I am qualified to do so but because I feel a personal loss and grief just like millions of Ndigbo over the loss of a colossus, the fearless lion of Ndigbo, the soldier’s soldier and true hero of Nigeria, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. I am an ardent reader and admirer of the Kalu Leadership Series and I dare to say that it is an excellent column to have come out of Eastern Nigeria of this era. Please keep it up. Ndigbo are watching you, I believe.
I remember, with nostalgia, the day you came to campaign in Abakaliki, precisely at People’s Club ground during the 2007 presidential campaign. I was there live. I was an undergraduate then in final year. Your speeches were electrifying and superlative and were greeted by the cheers of an ecstatic crowd. You were undoubtedly the most popular candidate for Ndigbo in 2007 till date, I believe. Your 2007 presidential contest sold you out as a true son of the soil, a true Nigerian patriot and hero of Ndigbo.
In your words in the Kalu Leadership Series of Saturday March 3, 2012 entitled: “The Grandeur of Ojukwu’s Funeral,” you said and I quote: “The life, death and passage into glory of Ojukwu meant so much for an average Easterner…. The enthusiastic participation of Nigerians of all shades, irrespective of political, religious or ethnic affiliations in the burial was quite instructive.”
The death of the Ezeigbo is the closing of an era. It is giving birth to another era. Your Excellency, you belong to this era. You are fearless, bold and vibrant. Ndigbo are waiting to endorse you for our liberation like they did way back in 2007. You have an unwavering belief in our essence as Ndigbo, an irrepressible spirit of forthrightness like Ojukwu.
Like Ojukwu, you are a realist. Like Ojukwu, your solid personal achievements speak for itself. Like Ojukwu, you possess the trademarks of a leader, namely Serenity, Courage and Determination. Like Ojukwu, you are currently sacrificing. Unlike your many colleagues who jumped to the Senate as a panacea for political relevance, you rather chose to commit your resources for Ndigbo in 2007. Like Ojukwu, you are an embodiment of the Igbo trinity of adventure, enterprise and of accomplishment.
It was Archimedes (287-212 AD) who wrote: “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” Like an Iroko, you are standing tall among your contemporaries. Ndigbo need a voice. Your voice is strong. Ndigbo need unity. You can unite Ndigbo. Ndigbo need you. You can be our Hero. Just like Ojukwu.
God bless OUK. God bless Ndigbo.
Ikenna Odii wrote from Garki Abuja. [email protected]