A former Abia Governor, Chief Orji Kalu, has called for a cessation of the agitation for the Republic of Biafra, saying that the break-up of Nigeria will not be in the interest of Ndigbo.
Kalu made the call in an interview with newsmen on Saturday while reacting to the proscription of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the South-East Governors’ Forum.
He spoke on the sideline of the opening of the 2017 Annual Youth Summit organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI), Ikoyi, in collaboration with Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation at his ‘Camp Neya’ country home in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of Abia.
Kalu said that given the huge investments by Ndigbo in different parts of the country, the people of South-East stood to suffer more than any other tribe, should Nigeria split.
“Ndigbo should stop boxing themselves to a corner. We are serious contenders and members of the entity called Nigeria.”
He, therefore, advised those agitating for the dissolution of Nigeria to have a rethink and work toward achieving peace and harmony in the country.
“The struggle for Biafra is not a serious one. Those agitating for the break-up of Nigeria should stop.
“Ndigbo should rather struggle for equity and justice so that they can feel safe to live and work in any part of the country.
“It is true that Ndigbo are marginalised but even our own people have at one time or the other also marginalised us.”
Kalu justified the deployment of troops to checkmate the activities of IPOB, saying that the organisation was challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria.
He said that the current tension resulting from the actions of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu could have been avoided, if he had respected his bail conditions.
“If Kanu had abided by his bail conditions, all these would not have happened.
“If the court gives an order, you are bound to abide by it whether good or bad. Then you can return to court to challenge the order.”
Kalu further said that the current military operation in the South-East, code-named “Operation Python Dance II” was intended to stem the rising wave of kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the area.
Kalu, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, lent his support to the call for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference recommendation on restructuring the country.
He said that restructuring does not mean dividing Nigeria and argued that it would promote competition and economic growth among the different regions.
“Nigeria has grown beyond the level where governors should continue to converge in Abuja every month to share Federal Allocation.”
The former governor also underscored the need for the creation of an additional state in the South-East to bring it at par with other geo-political zones in the country.
Meanwhile, Kalu has admonished Nigerian youths to embrace peace and love and shun divisive tendencies.
In his keynote address on the theme of the JCI summit which is the “role of an active youth in the society,” Kalu advised youths to channel their energies and intellectual endowment to national development.
Kalu charged them to eschew negative tendencies, including indulging in drugs, crime, prostitution and offering themselves to be used as canon fodders and thugs during elections.
He expressed joy that the nation was blessed with vibrant and intellectually-endowed youths, waiting to be harnessed for national development.
He said Nigerian youths should endeavour to mobilise, equip and reposition themselves to assume leadership roles in the society.
“You should demonstrate the capacity to lead and then struggle to take up leadership positions. Do not expect it should be given to you on a platter.
“You should get rid of the beggarly mentality, expecting that anybody would relinquish positions to you,” Kalu said.
In his brief speech, the 2017 JCI President, Chikelue Oguejiofor, said that the summit was organised for the cross-fertilisation of ideas on how they could prepare themselves to take up leadership positions in the country.
Oguejiofor, who thanked the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation for partnering with the group, expressed the hope that the summit would be a life-changing event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a major highpoint of the event was a road-show along Onu Ibinna Road’, Igbere, by members of JCI drawn from its various chapters across the country.