Abia elders challenge Kalu to spelling contest
By Chinyere Okoye, 02.25.2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Can Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia State, successfully spell “leadership series” – the title of the column he purportedly writes in a newspaper? Will Kalu do well in the Spelling Bee competition organised by the Lagos State government for its secondary school students?
Abia Elders’ Forum, a pressure group, has challenged the former governor to a televised spelling contest with a promise to pay him N100,000 for every word he spells correctly and another N100,000 for the one he knows the meaning.
In a statement signed by Hon. Uchenna Kalu, the Forum accused Kalu of being anti-intellectual.
“It is ironic that it is Orji Kalu's latest gimmickry of being a newspaper columnist which has awakened interest in his character, or indeed lack of it. The column stunt is, of course, part of his anti-intellectualism, which delights in deriding scholarship, whenever he can. The reasoning here is to show that there's nothing special about the writing of columns: Anyone can do it,” the Forum said.
The Forum said Kalu “is not the writer of the so-called column, to which he appends his name. We know who the ghost-writers are; some of them [are] doubling as Kalu's attack dogs… We in the Abia Elders Forum challenge him to a simple test: If he can spell five words, chosen randomly from each of two of his columns, and give their meanings correctly, we shall give him N1million. That works out at N100,000.00 per word, and ought to be attractive enough to even a self-proclaimed ‘billionaire’…”
If Orji Kalu was willing, said the Forum, the test should be organised on TV. “If you are ready, we shall pay the amount to any appropriate account nominated… We are sure that the whole world will soon see that Orji Kalu cannot even spell, not to mention giving the correct meanings of word taken from a column which he pretends to have written,” it said.
The Abia elders also accused Kalu of appropriating a national honour to himself.
“As everyone knows, Orji Kalu appropriated the National Honour of ‘Member of the Order of the Niger, MON’. The MON was added to his official photograph from 1999, and is still there. In his first term, 1999-2003, his name could not be announced without the mention of the MON.
“Then in 2003, it was discovered that Orji Uzor Kalu was never awarded any national honour by anyone. He had simply taken the honour. When confronted with the criminal appropriation of a National Honour, he turned around and claimed that his own MON was not a National Honour, but was derived from an Igbochieftaincy title of “Mmadu Oha Nile”, meaning “man of the people”. He never said who gave the title and when it was given. He has continued to parade himself as an MON,” the Forum alleged.
Source: http://odili.net/news/source/2008/feb/25/212.html (This Day Newspaper 25 02 08)
'Landers, what do you make of this?