Former Presidential Candidate, Chief Dr. Chekwas Okorie has commended the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari for his acceptance to chair the public presentation of Dr. Ugorji O. Ugorji’s book of poems titled ‘She is eternal and other poems’ and the formal launching of the nonprofit entity known as Organizing For Opportunities.
Chief Chekwas disclosed that he received the pleasing news via media reports, describing Prof Gambari as no ordinary Nigerian whose expected presence at the Sam Mbakwe Hall, Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, venue of the event is worthy of note.
“Gambari, it must be said, is no ordinary Nigerian. Even before his current position in the presidency of Nigeria, the news of his coming to Owerri to participate in an event in the Igbo heartland would be noteworthy. The fact that he is now the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari makes this news of his gesture to come to Owerri on December 11th significant beyond just the event.
“The author of the book to be presented in December, Dr. Ugorji, is no Achebe or Soyinka. He is a young man trying his best to contribute to the intellectual and literary traditions of Nigeria. So Gambari’s gesture could not be out of a desire to bask in the glow of a celebrity.
“Ugorji is not a politician and does not hold any political office in Nigeria, elected or appointed. He is an ordinary Nigerian who has extended an invitation to another Nigerian who happens to have the global stature of Gambari. So Gambari’s gesture to come to Owerri at Ugorji’s invitation does not come as a bid to please a prominent politician or business mogul; nor would it be to appease a member of what has been referred to as the “concentric power circles” in Nigeria,” he said.
Okorie noted that Gambari’s gesture to come to chair an event in Owerri at this time has implications that are truly significant and timely.
“There is no gain stating the fact that many groups and many individual citizens in Nigeria are aggrieved, including Nigerians in Igboland. Restive youths have taken their grievances (rooted mainly in lack of opportunities or their perception of inequity in the national polity) to levels that are not consistent with the aims and aspirations of their elders. If Gambari comes to Owerri personally and brings a reassuring message of opportunities for the young and a federal commitment to address the thorny issues of equity and unity, the impact of his visit cannot be over-emphasized.
“His personal presence in Owerri will also send at least the symbolic message that this presidency clearly sees its constituency as the entire nation. This message will be better delivered by him than by a proxy or representative of his from the region.
Symbolism is important now, especially in this multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation-state with the myriads of challenges we currently face.
President Buhari has about two years of real governance left before the exigencies of the 2023 election begin to manifest. Let Gambari’s visit to Owerri signal a refocusing of energies towards a much more expansive and consequential legacy for the presidency of Muahammadu Buhari.
“With life, and God willing, I for one (and my associates) will be at the Sam Mbakwe Hall in Owerri on December 11, 2020 because I consider the planned event important for our national discourse in many ways. For one thing, the event and the book that forms the backdrop of the gathering is billed by the organizers as “a celebration of African womanhood.” Who can be against that? At a time when our women are facing challenges that range from economic deprivation to social degradations at many levels (including inadequate representation in leadership and service) it is proper to remind ourselves and our women that they have always been and will continue to be significant contributors in our collective history and existence. This brings to mind the fact that President Buhari is supporting the candidacy of one of our own, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, in her historic bid to become the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This support for Okonjo-Iweala was one of the immediate changes one observed in the posture of the presidency right after Gambari became Chief of Staff.
“I will also be attending the event because I know Ugorji (Odoziobodo) personally. I am biased when it comes to him for reasons that are not necessary to enumerate here. He reminds me of Gambari – trans-ethnic in his interactions and relationships, world class education, international exposure, a global worldview and yet an unapologetic belief in African agency and a commitment to the improvement of the African condition.
“It should be a good day in Owerri on December 11, 2020 – one that would be made even more significant and symbolic when Ibrahim Gambari comes to the Igbo Heartland in celebration of African womanhood and in support of an ordinary citizen’s efforts to organize for opportunities. Timely indeed,” he said.