•House Of Rep. Member, Hon. BENJAMIN OKEZIE KALU
Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu is an APC member of the House of Representatives, representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State. He is currently the spokesperson of the House of Reps. He is the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs.
In this interview with Chief Ifeanyi Ubaka Okali, the founder of ABN TV, Umuahia, Abia State, he reveals why many Igbos will vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Below are excerpts.
Honourable, you are of Igbo extraction, many Igbos are calling for an Igbo Presidency from persons like Peter Obi and others. Now, you’re talking about Tinubu, why didn’t you go for an Igbo man as a President?
I’m a party man, a strong party man who stands for what I know is the best for my people, not sentimentally, not emotionally, but realistically. Tinubu fought for the interest of the Igbo man. If not so, the GDP of Igbo people in Lagos wouldn’t have increased at the time he became Governor till now. Go and check the records, the GDP of a common Igbo man in Lagos increased through the innovations of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu when he became Governor, because the Igbos used the innovation he created for their own benefit. That has raised so many millionaires, billionaires of Igbo extraction in Lagos, go and check the records. Is it in real estate? Is it in Commerce? Just mention it. Igbos have scored high, because this man brought innovations that helped them to empower themselves forward. He is the only man who took it upon himself to appoint Igbos to his cabinet. And the only man that provided somebody that will occupy an agency as a big as National Planning and Budget.
That is the planning of the country. He didn’t give it to a Yoruba man. He didn’t give it an Hausa man. He called my brother, Ben Akabueze, a great man, a sound man, God-fearing man, to occupy that position and he has ruggedly occupied that position for the benefit of Nigeria through thick and thin. Who scouted for him? No Igbo man scouted for Ben Akabueze, it was Tinubu that scouted for him and he put him there. Igbo have one of the most important positions in this country and that is Ben Ibabueze.
Ben Akabueze is the one who runs the budget of the country now, who decides what goes where, who says this is right, what goes there and this will not go there. An Igbo man is the one who is in charge of that. Appointed, nominated, supported, projected, showcased, scouted by Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Let me tell you this, an Igbo deserves to be the President of Nigeria, nobody should deny that fact. I will always stand for an Igbo man, but the Igbo most know that, becoming the President of Nigeria is not just with the Igbo votes, you need more than the Igbo votes to become the President of Nigeria, that is the fact. So, what do you need? You need more than regional politics. That will build bridges between the South-East, South-South, South-West, North-West, North-East, and North-Central. When you have a political structure that accommodates this philosophy of embracing others, so that you can become who you want to become, then, you will become that. When you do isolatory politics, or politics of isolation or regional politics, you will run for the position alone and you will not get it. For no region goes to the presidential election, even by virtue of our Constitution, you must get 25% across board and how are you going to get 25% if you are not interested in Politics? If you want to play politics, embrace other regions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Until we do that, I will tell you that our efforts may not yield the result that we are expecting. Peter Obi is a good man, but we need more than a good man to be the President of Nigeria. Peter Obi is educated, but we need more than education to be the President of Nigeria. I will not talk about Structure or no structure, what I will talk about is how long has he played into regional politics? Can you call somebody down there without the youth shouting on Facebook, which is very good. I like the frenzy, I like the fact that people are beginning to like progressive politics, you know Democracy is working. But beyond that, how much has he invested in playing politics that will make his name a household name, in the inter-land of the North, in the inter-land of Yorubaland and other groups across Nigeria? He has started well by taking a good step, but I am not sure that step will yield the desired result in these 45 days that is remaining to the elction, I am not sure. Compare that to the candidate of my party, there is hardly any place you will go to that he has not touched lives, there is hardly a place you will go to he has not showcased a talent that will appoint him to places of prominence, either a judge, Whether is heading a department or an agency, or a ministry. He doesn’t have to be a Yoruba man. He has spread his hands to reach out, that is the behaviour of a man who wants to be President, if you focus on your family alone, focus on your community alone, focus on your ethnicity alone, you will never become President. A presidential material is a material that sees ahead of time what he wants to become, starts early to spread so that people, beyond the rhetoric of interviews and data presentation, would have related with you closely as to know whether you are what you claim to be.
So that is a journey and that journey has commenced by Peter Obi. But I am not sure the destination is insight in the next 45 days. I think the destination is more insight for Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President of Nigeria come 25th February, 2023. Many may not like this, but you know me, I have always said things the way I feel they are. You are free to have your opinion, but my opinion, through my own critical analysis that Obi is a great man, he is a good man, he is not corrupt, he is a decent man, all the good things. But, it’s a journey.
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