Kalu: Arrival of the True Igbo Messiah

Kalu: Arrival of the True Igbo Messiah

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By Philip Agbese

Nigeria is a beautiful country. A good people and a great nation. But we have our share of the good, bad, and the ugly. It is not peculiar to us. It is universal and a norm in every society inhabited by humans.

In the course of my engagement as a member of the House of Representatives, I have had the privilege of interacting with my colleagues. We have shared ideas on how to make a meaningful impact in our various constituencies. I must confess that the interactions have been engaging and an eye-opener for me. Most members of the 10th Assembly are in-tune with our reality, and the urgency to make a difference is intense.

One such individual is the Rt. Hon Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives. He is such a character that you find interesting because of his line of thought. He can be brash when the need arises. He can be meek, and he can also be a lion, depending on the circumstance.

One thing stands out in all these circumstances. He is passionate about Nigeria and that explains why when he stands up to introduce himself in plenary, Kalu expresses his joy, happiness and pride in being a Nigerian. Its very rare.

He is also passionate about his people. The Igbo race occupies a strategic place in his heart, as it does in the country. He tells all that cared to listen that his emergence as the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives is a function of the home support he received. He owes the people the duty to ensure that issues that concern the Igbo race are given due attention.

Despite this love, Rt. Hon Benjamin Kalu is firm. He calls a spade a spade. He is a firm believer in justice and equity. He sees Nigeria from a broad perspective and has formed the habit of inclusiveness. He is fond of saying that we need each other regardless of ethnicity and religion. He has vowed to bring about this truism by pushing for patience and tolerance.

I subscribe to the school of thought that postulates that every generation has one man who champions the cause of his people. Rt Hon Benjamin Kalu is one such, and he reminds me of  W.C.H. Prentice, who stated that “Effective leaders take a personal interest in the long-term development of their people, and they use tact and other social skills to encourage the people to achieve their best. It isn’t about being “nice” or “understanding”—it’s about tapping into individual motivations in the interest of furthering a goal.”

Prentice defined leadership as “the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants,” a successful leader can understand people’s motivations and enlist participation in a way that marries individual needs and interests with the group’s purpose. He called for democratic leadership that allows the people to learn and grow—without creating anarchy.

When the leader succeeds, it will be because he has learned two basic lessons: humans are complex and different. Human beings respond not only to the traditional carrot and stick but also to ambition, patriotism, love of the good and the beautiful, and many more dimensions and patterns of thought and feeling that make them human beings.

Rt Hon Benjamin Kalu fits the bill. His approach emphasized that the Igbos are reliable, friendly, and trustworthy and believe in one Nigeria, our democracy, regardless of what some might want to think. This much he has preached in the green chambers. His passion for his people and desire to ensure peace and unity in Igbo land impressed me.

In all ramifications, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu has demonstrated that it’s a new era of Igbo leadership. Through his current position as the highest-ranking political office holder of Igbo extraction in Nigeria today, he is ready to champion this struggle for his people.

Maybe he is the messiah that had been long awaited to address the concerns of our Igbo brothers. With his position, the Igbos would have a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project. We must do well to admit that our Igbo brothers have not been carried along in the journey of the Nigeria of our dreams, and that is why I am excited by the position of Rt: Hon Benjamin Kalu and the steps taken so far.

I know he has the support of members of the 10th Assembly due to his intellectual approach. It is a case of using what you have to get what you want for the collective interest. This is a departure from the past, where persons in positions of authority need to remember easily that the people are central to their position and must act in their interest at all times.

I am glad the Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu is leading this new charge that would benefit the Igbo race and Nigeria because we all must unite as Nigerians in our quest for sustainable growth and development. Wangari Maathai once stated that ” It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference.” Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu has toed the path of honor, and with our support, he can achieve great things.

In all ramifications, Rt. Hon. Benjamin  Kalu has demonstrated that it’s a new era of Igbo leadership. How this crusade of love will take Kalu and the Igbos can only be seen in the future. I wish him luck.

Agbese is the Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives.

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