Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has called on Nigerian political leaders to make deliberate efforts to ensure that the best brains are retained in service in the country and not allowed to migrate to other countries in search of greener pastures.
Governor Otti, who said his administration’s policies are geared towards making Abia conducive for people and businesses to thrive, spoke at the funeral service of one of Nigeria’s foremost chartered accountants, Elder Kalu Uke Kalu, on Saturday, at Isiugwu, Ohafia.
Speaking during the service, conducted by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, at the Isiugwu Central Field, Governor Otti said Late Elder Kalu was a great Nigerian, who contributed immensely to the development of the society and called on all those in position of leadership, especially those occupying public offices, to learn from the legacies the deceased left behind.
“Today, we are here celebrating him; but as we celebrate him, we need to talk to ourselves. A lot of good men are going. We are now wondering, the best of the young people, are they here? Most of them have ‘japad’ (left the country). So, for those who are opportune to lead, we need to deliberately make efforts to attract our best people back,” he said.
Governor Otti stressed the need to encourage the younger generation to stay back in the country as well as make deliberate efforts to bring back those who had left.
According to him, “When we do all the things we do in Abia, we want to attract our people that are outside, most importantly the people that are outside the shores of the State. We need to get them back, otherwise, we would get to a level where what will be left here will be the trace of the society. May it not happen to us in Jesus’ name!”
He described the Late Elder Kalu, founding partner and Executive Director, SKOUP & Company Limited, as a friend and mentor, one who did well in life. He spoke about his humility, integrity and numerous legacies the deceased, who died at 88, left behind.
“He gave back to the society, to the Church, to the community, to everyone. We need to learn to give back to the society.
“He left challenges for us to copy. His humility, you can’t talk about it. Elder K. U. Kalu was humility personified and the challenge for us is to learn humility from Elder K.U. Kalu. He was integrity personified, the challenge for us is to learn integrity from him. He married Auntie Hazel (wife) for almost 60 years, he was a great family man. We need to learn being good family men and women from our Daddy lying here,” Governor Otti stated as he paid tribute to the deceased.
Preaching on the topic, “Preciousness of Death”, Most Rev Benebo Fubara-Manuel espoused from the Bible in Psalms 116 verse 15, that though death may not be precious in the sight of men, but in the sight of God, it is. He explained that death is the end of a man’s assignment on earth and brings believers closer to God, the creator.
He challenged all to do what is right and live a life of integrity as well as affect lives of the people and society at large positively, so as to enjoy eternal rest in God after death. He thanked God for a good life lived by Elder Kalu and urged the family and all who he had left behind to bear the loss with fortitude.
In a funeral oration, the first son of the deceased, Mr. David Kalu, highlighted the contributions of his late father in the accounting profession, finance, academia, service to his community and the church.
He described his father as one who was an embodiment of care and concern for his neighbours, his people, Abia and Ndi Igbo generally, saying that he added a lot of value to people’s lives.
He thanked Governor Otti and his entourage as well as other sympathisers from all walks of life for coming to identify with them at their moment of grief and prayed God to bless them.
The Late Elder Kalu Uke Kalu is survived by his wife, Mrs. Hazel Kalu, four children and a host of other relatives.
The funeral attracted a lot of dignitaries including the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Engr. Ikechukwu Emetu; former Governor of Cross River State, Dolnald Duke and his wife, Onari; Member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency, Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa; Commissioner for Education, Prof Uche Eme-Uche; other senior government officials and traditional rulers.