I have met him only once. I have heard so many things about him before the meeting and my meeting with this man for the first time was not to confirm all I have heard about him but to know him. And that one meeting was enough for me to know him. And the problem I think this man has is his openness and directness. And a country such as Nigeria where sentiments and hypocrisies hold sway, the man certainly must have a problem.
And to make his problem more compounded, he decided to choose one of the nastiest vocations in the history of the country. Politics. Ask the like of the sage, Awolowo, about the fastest route to one’s downfall in the murky business of Nigerian politics, and if the sage were to be alive, he would have advised Kalu; if you want to stay long and relevant and achieve all your political dreams in the politics of Nigeria, the best way to go about it is to opt for what Barack Obama calls the cynicism African leaders call wisdom. It is this cynicism that the sage, Awo, refused to walk and for that, he was nailed to the cross by political wickedness of his time. And since Kalu is not gifted with that kind of wisdom, he must realise that the long walk to political sanctuary is way and far off.
And thank goodness for his riches and wealth and power, hence the man would have been sleeping in the cooler by now for having the temerity to speak out his thoughts un-edited and stepped on the toes of many, who must consider themselves politically holy with leadership prudence. The man is loved and admired by the common man and the same common man believes that there is more to the man than meets the eye, but all the same, the love and admiration of the common man is usually common-placed in every sickening society where cynicism is at the digest of the evil minded and empty-headed skulls.
And many of this abound in the country and the influence is so strong on the same common man whose thoughts and decisions most times are determined not by pragmatism and constructive thinking and reasoning but by either the fullness or emptiness of the stomach. But for how long will the country continues to wallow in this kind of cynicism without it being challenged? Here is a country, I have come to realise, that men gather at the table of evil and wickedness to plot how these evils and wickedness can be executed on Nigerians and as long as this plot would enrich some evil few it is celebrated to the high heavens and before realisation, it soon becomes the norm that is celebrated by all.
And if one man says, no, it should not be and for once things should be done the right way and that man is being labelled and branded as being out of touch with the spoiler reality of the day and time, and he should be disliked with whatever venom that can be mustered. Maybe, the man should not have ventured into the dirt of the Nigerian politics in the first place and concentrate on his business and see how it continues to grow from glory to glory and use the proceeds to provide comfort for his immediate family and the generations of his immediate family. But what is riches and wealth if they only service a small group of the owner and the take home profit is only owned by the same owner? I think the man has this in mind when he decided to toe the beautiful side of politics, which is service to humanity.
Unfortunately, the man did not know that Nigerian politics is not a beautiful game and its players are as ugly as the game itself. And the truth about any game is that they have their beautiful and ugly sides and when the players of the beauty of it are few, they are bound to be frustrated by the many with their ugly dispositions. And that is the challenge Kalu has been facing since that decision of igniting his way into the politics of a country, which is ever struggling to attain the maturity of world politics where openness and directness are two ideal cherished and worshipped by the gods of goodness and progress.
But should Kalu give up now with all the frustrations that are being thrown at him by the many monsters of the game? It is a choice he has to make and in appreciating that choice, he has to know and understand two things: That the political road is rough in a country where his God has allowed him to be born into and if he is willing and ready to withstand these challenges; and the second is that he has to consider his society – one that is so buried in poverty that brain counts for nothing where the needs of the stomach must be urgently met. Yet, unfortunately still, it is this disgraceful poverty and many more vices in the country this man all his life has been working hard to attend to if only the political monsters and drunkards in the game would for once renounce their holds on their grand stupidity and madness.
But the problem of Kalu can only be served on the table of solution only by those all his life he has always wanted to serve. The masses. The educated poor. And not those who continuously have always allowed their conscience to be bought over by their immediate needs at the detriment of their future comfort and happiness. He has asked rather rhetorically at that first meeting; why cannot Nigeria be like and even better off than Dubai? That country is not an oil producing country as such but see what she has done with herself.
And that brings me to the other problem with the man; his business enterprise and success, which has come to make many to loathe him because they are afraid if that same zest is brought into the leadership of the country’s politics they might be driven out of their evil game in the business of politicking. Because many are they whose success is only rooted on the table of roughness and once the table is made smooth and lit, they lose their sanity. And Nigeria is ever full with many of such insanity that has continued to stand in the way of the ideal of any goodness.
•Ogho is a public affair analyst.