Editor’s Note: Given the realization that 2023 is the Year Of The Igbo Presidency, and the need for a good candidate of Igbo extraction to emerge in that year, we will periodically be presenting to you profiles of possible candidates, so that awareness can be created, debate can be informed and if possible consensus can emerge.
The emergence of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is seen as very important by millions of our countrymen for different reasons:
Some believe an Igbo President will use that charscteristic Igbo enterprising attitude to fix many things in Nigeria. Importantly, it is seen as a way to give the Igbos a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project, as they have faced marginalization ever since the end of the civil war.
This series is part of our contribution to the effort. The candidates we will profile are not necesarily our choices. Let the People decide.
Profile 1: Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzo Kalu was born on April 21, 1960.
He attended Christ the King School Aba and Government College, Umuahia. Orji Uzo Kalu also attended Barewa College, Zaria, from where he got admission into the University of Maiduguri
where he studied political science. He later left the University to study at and obtained his degree in Abia State University. He also has a degree in Business Administration, which he obtained from Harvard University. University of Maiduguri later honored him with a doctorate degree.
Orji Uzo Kalu, after his university education, borrowed $35 from his mother with which he started trading in palm oil. He would buy the oil in the Eastern Nigeria and travel all the way to the North to sell them and make reasonable profit. He later started trading on furniture which he would buy and resell for some profits. Later, Orji Uzor Kalu founded a company called SLOK Holdings, a conglomerate that consists of other companies he had founded like International Bank Limited, Adamawa Publishers Limited, Ojialex Furniture Company, Supreme Oil Limited, SLOK Airline, SLOK Botswana, Cotonou, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, South Africa, SLOK Korea, SLOK Nigeria Limited, SLOK United States Incorporated, SLOK United Kingdom Limited, SLOK Vegetable Oil, Aba, SLOK Paper Factory, Aba, Sun Publishing Limited etc.
Putting all he has accomplished into consideration, especially their benefits to the Nigerian economy, Orji Uzor Kalu was honored with the National Merit Award by President Ibrahim Babangida, at the age of 26 in the year 1986, making him the youngest Nigerian to receive such Award.
Orji Uzo Kalu later ventured into politics and became the governor of Abia Sate of Nigeria.
Where Orji Uzo Kalu is now.
In the year 2014, Forbes listed Orji Uzor Kalu as the 26th richest man in Africa is he was worth One Billion Dollars.