By: Umani Uwemedimo
Few days back, the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District at the Red Chambers of the National Assembly, HE Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, had maintained that he is going to pay a total sum of one hundred million naira (N100m) to the Fulani Herdsmen as compensation for their cows killed by members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN. He also called on all ESN members to vacate his constituency to avoid unforeseen calamities.
With this statement, the social, electronic and print media have been awash by supportive and counter opinions. While many, especially the Igbos have resorted to calling the Distinguished Senator funny names, and have concurrently maintained that the former governor is trying to please the caliphates so that he won’t be sent to jail the second time, very few people have come out to defend him, giving concrete reasons why his move is consequential at a time like this.
One thing I know about Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is that he is one wise man who knows the best actions to take at the right times. Going through his academic background and experiences in business and politics, you wouldn’t have a reason to doubt any move he takes. I may not really be on the same page with the senator, but I believe his willingness to compensate the Fulani herdsmen for their killed cows is one action that should be applauded by all.
We all know how Herders value their cows. A typical Fulani man can go extra miles to avenge the death of one cow. What his denotes is that, for members of ESN to have killed a large number of cows in their land, they were directly calling for a clash between the Igbos and Fulanis. We all know the popular proverb, “when two elephants fight, it’s only the grass that suffers”.
Members of the ESN are well armed young men with great energy to run, engage in a physical combat, and so on. Are all the Igbos and other Southerners domiciled in the East or North well armed like them, or do they have same strength like them? With regards to this, it’s pertinent I state here that what members of the ESN did was inviting damages to their people. By the time the Fulani herders would have revenged, the innocent people would have been victims, not the ESN members. So the senator begging to pay N100m for their dead cows is a means of stopping whatever evil that would have befallen his people.
Orji Uzor Kalu with this his action has averted the crisis, killings of farmers, kidnapping and other anti-developmental vices that would have transpired between the East and Fulanis prior to the killing of those cows. So I believe, it’s necessary to applaud him for this, because he is the true saviour of his people. My dad always told me, “always going for dialogue doesn’t mean a man is weak. So at all times, you must know when to fight and when to make peace”. For the senator to approach this matter in a peaceful way doesn’t mean he is a coward, it simply means he truly loves and values the lives of his people. There are so many politicians who would have overlooked that incident. Not because it is not necessary to react, but because when the crisis breaks out, he will be in Abuja while his families will be abroad. So please let’s stop cursing Orji Uzor Kalu and calling him names. For this particular scenario, he has taken the right decision, and it is to safeguard the lives and properties of his constituency.