OUK, the Trojan, ticks 56 – By EBERE WABARA

Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

JUST in case you did not surprisingly know, ‘OUK’
stands for Orji Uzor Kalu who needs no introduction except to reaffirm that he
was the “Action Governor” of Abia State, according to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo,
between 1999 and 2007. The only governor ever so described in such a laudatory
phraselogy by a serving president in the country’s history.
Hurrah, OUK, the irrepressible Trojan and
humanist, is 56 years old today! His supersonic impact on the country’s
politico-economic profile is such that you will think he was already 70. He has
done superlative things in life at home and abroad that some of his peers and
elders have never dreamt of let alone actualizing. Dr. Kalu is simply an enigma
who has all his fingers on every imaginable pie. His visage symbolizes bursting
youthfulness, if not mature exuberance.

This celebrator deserves all the honours and
recognition that would be outpoured today in various parts of the world as his
teeming admirers, associates, friends, well-wishers, acquaintances and family
at home and overseas commemorate his birthday in grandiloquent dimensions  in architectural environments resplendent of
Romanesque typicality. In his palatial homes in Washington, Igbere, Abuja and
Lagos, the flora and fauna that inhabit these places will know that it is a celebratory
day in the life of one of Nigeria’s most loved and most popular personalities.
In line with his Forbes’ rating as one of 50
Africa’s richest men, his quintessential philanthropy is borderless and
boundless to the point of superfluity and satiety. Ironically and in
contradistinction, while outsiders who benefit from his overflowing beneficence
are almost innumerable, a few of us who work directly with and for him are
subsisting on poverty, quietude and taciturnity! Perhaps, our recompense is in
heaven as we continue to suffer and smile because we believe in him which is
most critical and important—our inexplicable deprivation and seeming pauperization
notwithstanding. This could explain why his perception, public reputation and pedigree
of famousness are bursting at the seams.         
A veritable icon of human existentialism, Dr.
Kalu is a rare, uncommon, legend in virtually all spheres of life. What he marginally
lacks in formal scholastic enterprise he makes up with high intelligence
quotient, knowledge and wisdom such that even those with professorial
attainments cannot intimidate him. Dr. Kalu indisputably knows his onions.
Our celebrator’s sterling leadership
characterization is almost inimitable. Most people acknowledge his political
sagacity, entrepreneurial wizardry and economic ambassadorship all of which
explain why he is a household name in the Nigerian firmament and a referential
personage in international commerce. His industry knows no bounds. You cannot
but be baffled by his versatility, acumen and prodiguous commitment to
investment issues. He has a passionate drive for mega-businesses that border on
industrialization and optimal human capital utility. Even most people with the
finest of education cannot compete with this naturally endowed investor of global
repute. His illimitable contributions to the socio-economic and political
transformation of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
A leader of leaders, we in your media team felicitate
with you for inspiring most of our fellow countrymen and women beyond their
wildest imaginations. You have touched and continue to touch more and more lives,
using innumerable instrumentalities and platforms, particularly your
unparalleled philanthropic stamp and cosummate compassion for the less-privileged
members of the society. On one of our trips from Owerri Airport to Abuja
Airport on a chartered flight, you spent not less than N5 million on all manner
of airport staff in both locations. I witnessed the naira rain and took mental
note of the N1000 bundles as you dished out from the bag of one of your
orderlies. In fact, one of his
close aides, Prince Kunle Oyewumi, intimated to
me much later that it was a routine!
No matter the level of hardship in the country,
you still put smiles on people’s faces. I recollect one day during a convoy bus
ride en route to Igbere from Enugu where we had made a whistling stop to see
Prince Arthur Eze and you mused that you only get debit alerts on your handset
and wondered aloud when credit alerts will start popping up! Your own credit alert
comes from heavenly realms as God pilots your ways and finances—not earthly
Your amiability and dynamism are humongous. Your
testament to diligence, integrity, honesty of purpose and service to people all
over the world is confirmatory of an exemplary life. Well-meaning Nigerians
will continue to extol your virtues, recognise your immense contributions to
the country and the world and continue to appreciate you despite vanishing
pockets of oppositional forces and malcontents who are peeved by your soar-away
accomplishments in spite of the thorns strewn on your way by detractors and
jealous clans of hate domiciled especially in Abia State.
There is no doubt that you are resoundingly exceptional
in copious ways as an achiever in multifarious aspects of life. The only minus
in Dr. Kalu’s political trajectory is unilaterally foisting his successor in
office, T. A. Orji, on Abians. The celebrator has profusely apologized to the
people of Abia State for that misadventure adamantly engineered by him.
First among equals and his peers, Dr. Kalu has
brought creativity to business and politics. This novelty has made him to be a
master-strategist in whatever he does, especially in entrepreneurship and
politics. In the process, he has had to ruffle feathers and moved on magisterially,
not allowing any concommitant drawback arising from economic or political
miscalculations to derail him.  He is never
deterred by failure— as he is always resolute on what the future holds in store
for him.                  
Attributes that distinguish our subject today
include courage, determination, vision, focus, forthrightness, empathy,
astuteness, fear of God, hardwork, kindness, love, candour, thoughtfulness and
pan-nationalism. These are some of the motivating factors that keep OUK on as
he strives for the betterment of his environment and humanity, irrespective of one’s
ethnic group or language. For him, humanity is universal and should not be
bogged by mundane and divisive elements.
A devout Catholic, Dr. Kalu does not indulge in
excesses as is typical of most moneybags. He enjoys the company of friends and
staff more than any other thing. In ardent subscription to this lifestyle, he
spends long hours holding courts amid dining and wining with various groups and
individuals all day long. For him, there is no time for perishable/worthless
engagements. There are no airs of superiority or haughtiness around him
whatsoever. He sits at the table for meals with commoners without anyone knowing
who the master is. Timidity puts him off. For him, boldness is a great source
of joy and happiness. In the same breath, he does not flaunt his wealth or live
the life of aristocracy. You know great men by the way they treat people of
lower rungs.   
Dr. Kalu, the Aba boy of yesterday, has grown to
become a global citizen. Indeed, the young chap of no spectacular beginning has
come of age and overflowing wealth. With business portfolios and tentacles spanning
four continents and still counting, he is now the grandmaster of investments.
By dint of diligence and God’s blessings, he has become a household name that
there is hardly any hamlet in Nigeria where his name does not ring a bell and
even opens doors. The name Kalu is now synonymous with dynamism, accomplishments
and vision. The superfluity of goodwill he attracts is so confounding that one
wonders what the magic wand is. He is at home everywhere in Nigeria. People’s
love for him surpasses that of a mother for her child! Only very few Nigerians
have this kind of cross-border personage and overwhelming acceptability.
His passion for sports is so legendary that it
does not require rehashing here. The only point to underscore here is that
under his tutleage, Enyimba International Football Club of Aba became three
consecutive winners of the biggest elusive title on the continent, the African
Champions’ Club Cup of the Confederation of African Football. Dr. Kalu has gone
ahead to become the Pillar of Sports in Africa after the late M.K.O. Abiola.
Dr. Kalu’s pan-Nigerianism is unprecedented so
much that virtually all his companies are headed by non-Igbo. I hear it is a
deliberate policy—not just a happenstance. Only few entrepreneurs can entrust
their conglomerates in the hands of people outside their geopolity. I know the
murmurings among my Ndigbo brothers about this externalization of our “right”
and “entitlement” in the Nigerian thinking! 
Of course, our oga at the top is unapologetic on this. In corroboration
of this intriguing philosophy, most of his domestic staff in Nigeria and
worldwide are not from the South East!
Somewhat, there is obviously God’s hand in the
fortunes of the man we all toasting today. Despite his human frailties and
occasional misjudgments, everything seems to work in his favour. The only
setback he has probably suffered in life is electoral banditry, but with time,
he should be vindicated by the revalidation of his latest senatorial victory.
The bandits and other hypercritics of this Adonis helplessly and haplessly appreciate
his large heart and sportsmanship in politics and holistic attitudinal
disposition to life. Some of them confide in me.
Dr. Kalu has just done the first leg of a
tripodal journey on earth. The second eminent leg begins tomorrow and the last
lap will commence 56 years thence—in other words another 56 years from now! We
all in your global media team—including blue-blooded, charming and humble Prince
Kunle (an untrained but highly cerebral and arduous “journalist”/writer whose
regular interventions catalyse my work)—wish you many more fruitful years in
service to humanity!
Oga, your boys are grumbling, as they are not
“feeling” you! I have been quelling their planned insurrection, mutinous thoughts
and anticipatory combustible rebellion! I have assured them that their
despondency, restiveness and restlessness over lolly end today as we celebrate
your especial day! Henceforth, they can now bank on you convertibly!
Once again, happy birthday, sir, from all of us
in the media team, as we celebrate robustly and profoundly to the toast of your
continued good health, prosperity and long life.
My own personal birthday wish to you is with the
memorable words of Thomas Jefferson: “If you would have a happy life, remember
two things: in matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste,
swim with the current.”
riri enyi
, it is well with you whether any envious tribe
likes it or not!
[email protected]/08055001948) is the media adviser to Dr. Orji


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