Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
Focus, determination and shunning social vices have been identified by the former Governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the 9th Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as some of the reasons he became successful before venturing into politics.
The Federal Lawmaker and Forbes pegged Billionaire businessman disclosed this recently while fielding questions as a guest speaker from participants during an International conference organised by the African Union to mark this year’s “International Day of the African Child”(DAC) organised by YOUTHGETHER Global.
Speaking on the topic “Welfare and Social Well Being of African Children” Kalu recounted his sojourn into the private / business enterprise sector before venturing to contest for public office.
Kalu, who is also the Chairman of the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, said his determination to stay focused in his quest to succeed led to him becoming the Chairman of Cooperative and Commerce Bank Limited at just 27years of age among other feats.
Responding to a question on the place of the ‘Youth in Africa Leadership’ the Senate Chief Whip explained that he already built a conglomerate of business interests before considering politics and becoming a Governor at age 39.
“Let me be honest with you, the issue of youth is a recurring decimal, it is everyday you preach about youth but the youths must be devoted to work very hard. The youth must take their work seriously because these days the youth are trying to have the mentality of ownership which does not work. I was a youth when I started all my life; I became a bank chairman at the age of 27 when there were only five banks, not now that they have about thirty, forty banks in Nigeria”.
Fielding more questions; Kalu urged the youths to dissuade from illicit drugs which he said is becoming alarming amongst youths , the former Governor also bemoaned the leadership for monetary gains mentality as well as religious fanaticism among youths. The former Governor tasked youths with self-reliance and determination.
In his words”Today youths accessing themselves mostly to Indian hemp, to drugs and all the rest of them which is not acceptable. God has given both the youth and adult sense and science. The African youth are turning into going to churches rather than committing their intellectual effort , I am not saying going to churches is very bad, I am a catholic very committed catholic but I would like to see youth taking every job seriously”.
He added ; “We have lost the sense of unionism we used to have. When I was student union leader, as a youth we were committed to our goal, we were not looking for anybody to give us money, we were looking for an opportunity to strengthen the laws, strengthen the commitment of the people”.
On Politics and Government’s youth intervention, Kalu advised youths to avoid being used as political tools by politicians in the country. Asides listing his constituency development projects, Kalu outlined the various empowerment programmes established by the Federal Government asking youths to take advantage of them.
Other personalities present at the conference include;Deputy Director, Ms. Amaka Agulue, Director; Global E Ambassador Dr Diana Kenoly;United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa , Yvonne Chaka Chaka; Management Consultant, Entrepreneur/Thought Leader and Chairman, Aquila Capital Limited ,Chief Ben Etiaba; Convener, Learning in the Twenty Second Century (L22C), UK, David Hollands among others.