Former Governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Kalu has called on Africans in the diaspora to contribute to the growth and progress of the African continent by participating in the political process in their respective countries.
The former governor stressed that Africa has untapped potential, adding that with the sustenance of democratic virtues the future of Africa is bright.
Kalu, who was speaking during a breakfast meeting with a cross-section of students of the War College, Washington D.C, who are of Africa origin, at his Potomac residence on Sunday, before departing for Nigeria, charged political and business leaders on mentoring the younger generation in business, politics and governance.
The Chief Whip of the Senate, faulted peddlers of negative news on Africa adding that Africans are successful in various professions across the globe.
He said: “As a business and political leader, I have over the years, built robust cross-national and multi-sector experience.
“During my stint as Governor of Abia State in South East Nigeria, coming from the private sector, I was determined to improve the common lot of the people.
“I inherited a huge debt profile from previous administrations in the state.
“We also met deplorable infrastructure across the state.
“Despite the financial challenges, I used my network of contacts in the financial industry to raise funds for the execution of infrastructure in the state.
“Within six months of my administration, I was named action Governor by President Olusegun Obasanjo, for the rapid and aggressive road construction in Aba and other parts of the state.
“I was prepared for leadership before venturing into politics.
“To be a good leader, you must demonstrate intellectual capacity, business acumen and strong will to achieve positive results.
“In Africa, we have talents in all facets of life but without mentorship the skills of the people cannot be properly harnessed.
“Governments at all levels must support human capital development in a bid to drive sustainable growth and development.
“The United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada and other developed countries gave me support during my reign as governor.
“Through their representatives in Nigeria, I consistently engaged them and they provided, through various agencies, support for human capital development and poverty eradication.
“Although these aids and support are attainable, if as a governor, you demonstrate the capacity to drive development in your state, by adhering to tenets of democracy anchored on probity, transparency and accountability.
“I strengthened data collection in Abia state and as such, we developed the state by embracing a bottom-up approach of governance based on baseline survey and impact assessment report.”
Kalu emphasised that Nigeria is better off as a united and indivisible entity, noting that political leaders must understand the micro and macro economies of their jurisdiction for them to add positive value to the economy.
He said: “In view of the dwindling allocation to states in Nigeria from the Federal Government, governors must look inward in a bid to improve their revenue base.”
The former governor while applauding the Nigerian armed forces for their combined efforts in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping and banditry, stressed that they have made invaluable contributions to nation building through intelligence and surveillance.
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