Former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu, has predicted that a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction would provide a turnaround leadership that will halt the country’s decades of economic failings.
Mr. Kalu said given the opportunity at the next presidential polls in 2015, the Igbos will provide “qualitative and dynamic leadership” that can turn around the economy.
“Igbos are the salt of the nation,” he said. “Anywhere you don’t see Ndigbo, the economy is incomplete.”
The former governor spoke at a dinner with the Nigerian community in Belgium at Speidemberger Hotel Resort, Brussels on Friday. He was at the meeting as the Coordinator of a new Igbo socio-cultural group, Njiko Igbo.
Mr. Kalu said he spoke for any “candidate” that might emerge from the region as president. He did not say whether he will seek the office which he has run for and lost twice since leaving office as governor in 2007.
But the clearly politically-themed remarks would appear a subtle introduction of Mr. Kalu’s renewed bid for the top job come 2015.
And as he concluded his address, Mr. Kalu was immediately implored by a former school mate at the University of Maiduguri, Nuhu Tadeh, to run for the office. Mr. Tadeh, at the event, described Mr. Kalu as detribalized.
The former governor has faced a long-running corruption case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. His tenure as governor was rated amongst the poorest around the country.
Mr. Kalu decried the alleged unfair treatment by the federal government of the people of the South-East when compared to other regions.
He argued that the Igbos, having excelled in various fields of endeavour, with qualified people who can bring their experiences in the private and public sectors to governance if given the chance to lead the nation, should be given the nod to rule the country.
Mr. Kalu said Njiko Igbo, in partnership with other similar groups, was preparing a policy paper anchored on three focal areas – internal security, infrastructure and agriculture – for the nation.
The document, he said, would serve as a manifesto for any Igbo presidential candidate in 2015.
“We absolutely believe in pragmatic strategies for rebuilding the nation,” Mr. Kalu said.
The former governor lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for de-registering some political parties.
He tasked the chairman of INEC, Attairu Jega, to conduct all elections in a day and ban government officials from the collation centres in future elections.
Mr. Kalu said his new group, Njiko Igbo, was a non partisan and apolitical movement conceptualized to correct the anomalies Ndigbo has suffered over the years.
He said the group was not in competition with other groups but playing a complimentary role to other established social, economic and political and cultural bodies, with the collective interest of Igbo sons and daughters at home and in Diaspora in mind.