Dr. Emeka Kalu is a former gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 elections in Abia State. Speaking to Correspondent OFFOR ONUKWUWE from the US, in a telephone interview, the engineer said that assessing the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, a year on may be too soon because it is still evolving. He also warns that the recent killings of hosts by Fulani herdsmen deserves proactive legislative approach lest it morphs into another ugly situation in the Nigerian story and counseled Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu.
According to Dr. Emeka Kalu, “The herdsmen are in search of greener pasture for their cows. The Easterners have given them their fields to graze; why would they be killed as reward for their benevolence? Mr. President should ensure that the issue tops the list of current legislation in the National Assembly this time. It took a lot of lives, resources and national image to confront Boko Haram which is yet to abate. An additional crisis would not spell good for the nation”.
Speaking on the performance of the president as he marks a year in office, Kalu said that President Buhari’s government is one undergoing evolution and must be allowed to mature and yield fruits. “Every government has a direction. It is dependent on it policies and framework that it would be able to attain her desires for the nation. The presidency headed by President Buhari is still evolving. It is still designing its framework which is geared towards giving real meaning to the change mantra of his party, APC. Assessing him now may not be right. The government must be allowed to evolve properly and mature before assessment”.
On Abia State, where Kalu sought to become governor last year, he said “So far, the governor is governing to the best of his ability but I believe that if he would continue to improve in his governance, he would do better.”
Kalu however, suggested that as one who has a passion for transforming Abia, his manifesto could go a long way in making Abia the envy of its contemporaries, if adopted by the Ikpeazu government “There are six key things that any governor must work on – provide roads and accessible infrastructures which will lead to free flow of commerce and ease security monitoring. He should also invest in agriculture and agro-biotech industries to increase youth employment, self reliance and job security. He should equally provide stable power supply to encourage increase in small scale industries and transfer of technology.
“In the area of education, the government can invest to provide quality primary and secondary education and make it affordable and free to every child in the state.
“Health care system must be fixed for better affordability of care. Another major focus should be massive rural and urban development. This can be used to reduce migration of youths and increase of self reliance within the rural populations.
“A government that works must reflect on the quality of the people’s everyday life. We should have a safe and secure environment to live in peace and get back and forth to our daily cares affordably. Aba, our ancient commercial breadbasket city must be brought back to its old glory at least with all the previously thriving industries brought online to provide employment and economic boost to the state.”
The international business man also said that business thrives in an environment where there are less surprises in terms of security and government policies. His words: “With the efforts exerted by the current administration to stabilize the economy by ensuring that healthy policies are instituted, it would be encouraging for foreign investors to come in. At least, the much dreaded Boko Haram attacks have been suppressed to a level. We no longer hear of their frequent attacks. That shows that the security level is improving. But no investor would find it convenient with the Nigerian energy sector. That sector deserves urgent improvement.”
He also says it would be too hasty to assess Buhari for a second term now, since he just rounded off one year of one term. “I think we should allow the gentle man to round up a year at least in office before recommending or speculating 2019 elections. Nigerians should also know that sometimes the problem of leadership is in the followership.”
Kalu tackled issues regarding the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB and Buhari’s role in the whole matter: “I wouldn’t speak for the Ohaneze Ndigbo or any other responsible organization in this regard. As a Nigerian, I would advise that the Igbo nation take a stand on this struggle. I would also advise the IPOB to heed to the decision of Igbo nation. Both should sync in ideology and mission. There is a legal involvement on the matter and I would advise that both the presidency and the IPOB should respect the outcome of the matter in court. President Buhari should lead by example of a true patriot and a president under the rule of law regarding the judicial pronouncement to release Nnamdi Kanu”.