PISE-P Unveiling: Deputy Speaker, S’East Govs, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Not on War Path
Echo it loud. Shout it to the mountain tops. Thousands of Nigerians from all walks of life who trooped to Bende Local Government Area of Abia State on Friday, December 29, 2023 for the unveiling of the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) and indeed, Nigerians at large who watched or read about it can’t be hoodwinked. They are wiser now.
It is rather unfortunate that in a move that smacks lack of patriotism and support for the pursuit of peace and tranquility of a region hitherto enmeshed in violence, a plethora of sponsored gibberishes are coming up both on conventional news platforms and online medium, all aimed at casting aspersions on the person and the office of the Deputy Speaker for championing a worthy cause.
In quick succession to the event, a national newspaper on Sunday, December 31, 2023 went on a wild goose chase, perhaps, on envy spree, publishing a heresy, more of a distillation of garbage called news, saying that the launch of PISE-P has put the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, the governors of the five eastern states and the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo worldwide on a war path.
It also said that Kalu is on a chase with Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State over who controls the south east politics in the ruling All Progessaives Congress (APC).
This is to say the least, a hogwash, indeed, a fabrication of lies that passes for tales by moonlight. At best, it is the figment of the overheated imagination of the author of the report, one Johnchuks Onuanyim and his Newspaper.
Ordinarily, the Office of the Deputy Speaker would not bat an eyelid over such claptrap of a publication that lacks simple journalistic ethos of attribution to a story but because we owe the unsuspecting members of the public the huge responsibility of protecting them, this rebuttal, then, becomes very necessary.
Thankfully, the discerning reading public already knows that hiding under the guise of “a source” to spew lies in the name of news cannot in any way be convincing.
To set the record straight, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Kalu is not looking for a fiefdom to exert his control over. For those who know him, he is only passionate about the peace, unity, growth and development of his native region.
As the a true son of Igbo land, Kalu is very much concerned and greatly distressed by the security challenges that had bedevilled the south eastern geopolitical hemisphere of the country for a while now.
What is expected of any son of the soil and the occupant of an office such as his is to galvanize the people and deploy the influence of his office to finding the panacea for the travails of the zone. And this is precisely what Kalu has done and still doing with PISE-P.
Needless to say that the launch of the novel, noble and bold idea, altruistically initiated by Kalu was a huge success.
Before the event, Kalu toured every nook and cranny of the country, including his south east, selling PISE-P to everyone. So, for an event that was eventually attended by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu represented by his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima; the senator President ably represented by his deputy, Senator Jubrin Barau, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajideen Abbas, Ph.D; the governors of 5 eastern States including the chairman of Governors Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi who represented the traditional rulers from the South; the Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero who represented Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Mohammed Sa’adu Abubakar III; the President-General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu amid an array of stellar personalities from different political, cultural, business and religiously backgrounds, it then defies every logical reasoning to say the talk for peace did not get the desired attention.
It will be mischievous on the part of the newspaper and the author of the story to feign ignorance of the fact that Governor Hope Uzodinma, Governor Alex Otti of Abia State and the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo President-General, Chief Iwuanyanwu who are prominent sons of Igbo land made a declaration and also took turns to eulogize Kalu for the initiative.
Needless to also mention that beyond the government officials and the traditional rulers, over 15 billionaires from Igbo land also gathered together in one space for the peace initiative which was the first of its kind.
Will it not also be edifying to remind the naysayers that prior to the unveiling, the Abia State government hosted their son, Kalu to a grand civic reception, such that has never been held in the history of opposition politics in the state before?
The Newspaper forgot that Chief Emeka Offor, Chief Arthur eze, Chief Allen Onyema, Chief Tony Chukwu, Chief Chika Okafor, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, Ngozi Ekeoma amongst many other worthy sons and daughters of Ndi Igbo have even before the event identified with the project in no small measures.
All of these leaders supported the peace initiative and pledged to work with PISE- P to achieve peace that had eluded the south east.
These purveyors of lies also forgot that the clergy men and the traditional leaders appreciated President Tinubu for remembering Ndi Igbo through PISE-P.
How can anyone also forget that all the traders union in Lagos under Igbo-Amaka with over 58 unions attended the programme and accepted to partner with PISE P for peace?
So, one wonders how Kalu will turn around to pick a fight with his elder brothers and friends who spoke glowly of him and the PISE-P idea.
Has it been heard of anywhere that since the end of the Nigerian civil war in 1970 if not since 1914 amalgamation of the southern and northerner protectorates till date, the leaders of all the regions in Nigeria have gathered physically on any soil in Igbo land for any occasion including peace talks? Yes, only Rt. Hon Benjamin Okezie Kalu could do it and by this token, he has broken a jinx.
Only enemies of peace and haters of the current efforts of the present administration to be as inclusive as possible for Ndi Igbo will sponsor such divisive articles when confidence in the peace we all are longing for has been built through PISE-P.
For the umpteenth time, let it be said that these worthy sons of Igbo land excelling in their political callings and making Ala Igbo and Nigeria proud are not at daggers drawn with each other. Succinctly put, they are not at war. They are rather synergizing to rescue the south east and relaunch it into the scheme of things in the Nigerian mainstream politics.
Kalu is at home with Uzodinma, the reason he vigorously campaigned for his reelection in November, 2023. He is also at peace with all the southeastern governors. PISE-P emphasizes peace. Peace among brothers and sisters. Peace for the development of South East. Peace for all.
May be, this rebuttal will also suffice for the online medium which unabashedly took the path of self destruct and dishonor with its publication titled: “Kalu’s Brazen Assault and Calculated Torpedo to Undermine South East Governors’ Peace Effort”.