PROLOGUE: The Call of the Wild: This matter of the rather desperate return of Chief Orji Uzor Kalu (OUK) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), keeps reminding me of Jack London’s more than a century- old classic, The Call of the Wild. Those who are familiar with this little but hounding book will recognise that PDP and even to a larger extent, Nigeria, could well be the setting for London’s 1903 epic novel. Simplified, The Call of the Wild is about the crazed era of the gold rush of the early twentieth century when the Western world thought there was a surfeit of gold in the ice-decked Northern hemisphere. The quest for gold in a hellish environment was brutish and ultimately futile as “In the end, the gold is washed away. It returns to the earth from which it was pried.” The Call, in summary, tells us that we humans in our frenzied pursuit of the banal, miss the essence of life.
PROGNOSIS: I had written about Kalu and his attempt to re-join his PDP cohorts late last year after the Wadata House (PDP’s Abuja head office) drama during which his state governor literally mobilized to fence him off the precincts of the building. Though the action of the Abia State governor had caused a stir, I had argued that Kalu’s desperation to regroup with a party he jettisoned about seven years earlier to found his own party, is, to say the least, embarrassing and inimical to his quest for Igbo leadership. I raised numerous questions including the fact that he would never in the life of him, have brooked the effrontery of a parallel camp in a party where he sits as a governor and leader. NEVER. And I posited that if he had a political party that captured two states in the Southeast and which Ndigbo were willing to align with had he provided the requisite leadership, and he threw it all overboard, then his leadership credentials are suspect.
One would think that Kalu would sleep over this ill-advised and utterly denigrating political gambit. Not by any chance, it seems. He must have had a most remarkable Yuletide plotting and sharpening the dah for his next political masterstroke which is to seize the Abia PDP – by any means possible. The plot matured in the New Year and by mid January, some village wags were corralled into issuing Kalu a verisimilitude of a PDP membership card. Knowing that loose brotherhood called PDP very well, you could ‘generate’ a membership card and register by any street corner if you so desperately seek to do so. It is a very loose, if not lousy confederacy, PDP.
When it came out that Kalu had eventually returned to the PDP passing through an obscure bush path in his Igbere village, one only had a good laugh. This is the ultimate Orji Kalu redox – a desperate and diminishing quest for relevance; and it had to be executed secretly in a rustic, nether area of the country; far removed from the rest of the world. Say, how could this show have escaped the ubiquitous beam of the media? How could an Orji Kalu return to PDP without feasting and fanfare; without the knowledge of party leaders in the State? Again, is this how the OUK persona has shrunken? Why wouldn’t the PDP hierarchy accord him some respect by way of a reception?
Now that Kalu has ‘rejoined’ PDP through the back yard, has he publicly renounced the leadership of his party, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA)? Or is it possible to be a member of one party and a leader of another? What is his message to his mass of confused followers currently trapped in PPA? Where does this leave Ndigbo and Kalu’s campaign for an Igbo to be the next president of Nigeria?
EPILOGUE: What we see here is opportunism sneaking into bed with megalomania. It is indeed a call of the wild. This entire enterprise is all about three persons: Orji, Uzor and Kalu locked in a futile yet maniacal pursuit of the great ‘prize’. It is gold rush as always. Poor Abians are the grass that will be trampled in this turf fight being set up by Kalu. The sitting governor will now be distracted more than ever as he spends time, energy and resources fending off the onslaught of Kalu and his hounds and fighting for the soul of PDP in the State. Isn’t there is a certain godly virtue in stepping away from the arena, especially after you have done your bit and allowing your underlings some space to make even their own mistakes? To tarry in the arena eternally is to play god.
Kalu could have led and can still lead PPA to greatness if he was a leader. Where are honour, principle and dignity in this singular move of crawling back to PDP? This explains why few leaders have emerged from Igboland lately; most so called leaders are desperate hustlers even after being two-term governors. It is hoped that kalu would someday grow bigger than Abia, than even PDP.
LAST MUG: Maku’s merry-go-round across Nigeria: Irrepressible federal information minister, Mr Labaran Maku has his job well-defined and cut out for him but we wonder why he is currently criss-crossing the country trying to do the jobs of state information commissioners and chief press secretaries. Pity, that Maku may have happened upon the dubious template used by the erstwhile occupier of that office, Prof Jerry Gana and he chose to run with it. What great pity? The no-brainer he calls the “Good Governance Tour” which takes him across the States of Nigeria must be part two of the Media Tour of about 10 years back that earned Gana no plaudits.
How can Maku deign to tour the 36 States and inspect their projects? That’s what we call Afghanistanism in journalism; he should be inspecting and showcasing federal government projects. That is his brief and he is failing at it if he must know. Even the modest efforts of his government are not adequately showcased to the public. Where are the power plants? Where are the green field refineries? Where are the on-going airport remodelling? Where are the FG-assisted rice plants? Where are the strategic grain silos? Where are the burgeoning new federal universities? There must be some roads being fixed by FERMA and the Ministry of Works; where are they? Where is the monthly Nigeria Journal that was doing a bit of this sometime ago? Where is his Ministry’s weekly reports and updated website, etc? Honorable Minister there is so much on your table to do so quit chasing the wind and dabbling into other people’s job which you lack the capacity to do anyway. What would be your legacy?
The clean-shaven criminal: if a clean visage betokens a benign heart, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu would be an angel. I have never seen a better shaven face since Gillette declared war against the male beard (don’t look up now) and other bodily hairs. Did you see his photo in the papers yesterday? He cropped even his eyebrows so clean as if to erase his guilt. Of course we all must know Yusufu now; the deputy director of Police Pension Office who admitted to stealing over N20 billion. We ask: if a mere deputy director could heft so much cash, where were his directors, permanent secretary, t he supervising minister and the auditors? What manner of man would covet so much cash and what manner of system would let him have such access?