Orji Uzor Kalu's Conviction and the Cry of Injustice By Ebuka Onyekwelu Nigeria is not the only country in the world made up of people of diverse ethnic nationality. In truth, there may not be more than one country in the entire world made up of people from the same ethnic background. However, the Nigerian case often take very funny twist. For instance, if a Taiwo Adekunle or Musa Bello is convicted, some people of his ethnic nationality will pick him up and exalt him to saintism. They will do anything possible to prove his innocence. And when that fails, well, they will point to other people in other ethnic groups who are yet to be questioned by Police, much less convicted. There is this narrative of my thief is better than your thief or your thief is worse than my thief. No attention at all is given to the facts in the case. Many people are not concerned about justice, as they would be, if a case in point involves someone from other ethnic group. Knowingly or not, we condone these things, thereby reinforcing the resolve of the ruling elites to continue to feast and merry on our common wealth. We see this all of the time. The sad reality is that Nigeria's ethnic identity is deeply politicized. Patriotic loyalty in Nigeria, is first and primary to one's ethnic group and second to the state, third to the geo-political zone or region at large, then finally, non, not a single patriotic loyalty is left for the country. As a natural consequence, conviction by the court, resource allocation, employment, right or wrong, virtually everything is weighed on ethnic scale first and viewed from the same prism. Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia state for 8 years, has been on trial for over 10 years. He was tried for his role in embezzlement and misappropriation of Abia state money during the time he served as governor. Over these years, Kalu has moved from PDP to PPA and to APC, believing that the better he is aligned to the centre, the better for him. Make no mistake about it. His move into APC was solely to avert his trial and corruption charges. He did not join APC to speak for Ndi Igbo or secure Ndi Igbo's share. Before now, he totally undermined Ndi Igbo and instead, did everything possible to please APC in order to forestall the judicial process on his years, as Abia governor. It paid off as he was returned elected as Abia senator, against popular will. Add to it that Kalu as governor of Abia state was a plague. A disaster that left Abia in ruins even till today. More devastating is Kalu's own stand and personal persuasion in the face of calculated deprivations experienced by Ndi Igbo under his new party, APC. In all, he heard nothing and saw nothing. Perplexing is the fact that Kalu, who has youth and vigor on his side when he was Abia state governor, failed to use his personal reach and influence to better the political, economic or social lot of Abia state, much less Ndi Igbo. Instead, he exploited everything at his disposal including Abia state treasury for his own personal gain and profitability, as of result of which he quickly climbed the rungs of wealth, possibly into billionaire-hood. People know this. We all are aware of these. Yet, some people have conveniently given Orji Kalu's conviction some ethnic coloration. But in truth, his conviction is a win for justice. No man who wasted great opportunities to salvage his society and better position his own people, should be treated as an innocent or a victim of ethnic misgivings by the powers that be. No human being who has such opportunities as Kalu, at such a young age, but instead feasted on the common wealth of his state, should be defended or judged, with mercy. He simply does not deserve it. I have read how people are trying to question why Tinubu also should not be tried and convicted. You see, the difference is that Tinubu who was governor within the same period Kalu was governor, then in the opposition, but demonstrated leadership. Tinubu moved from governing Lagos for 8 years, to remain in charge till date. From Lagos, he took over Southwest. From there, he and others, were able to produce a President who is serving his second term.If Tinubu is corrupt, then perhaps, corruption can be benevolent and profitable. But beyond that, why must we drag Tinubu into the case of Kalu? Has Tinubu had his day in court, like Kalu? Therefore, it is baseless to try to make the non existent point that Kalu was so convicted because he is an Igbo man. When he stole Abia state money, was he not an Igbo man? When he flittered opportunities to re-position his state and etc, for good, was he not an Igbo man? When he kept on talking from all sides of his mouth to please the party in power against his own people, was he not an Igbo man? Now he is convicted to pay for his affliction on Abia state, we suddenly recall he is an Igbo man and therefore a victim, solely on the premise of his ethnic origin? The case of Kalu's conviction is a case of justice, done! Perhaps, the only evidence of President Buhari's war on corruption. In fact, Kalu's businesses with traces of Abia state money, should be forfeited to Abia state. In Orji Uzor Kalu's conviction, justice was done.
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