Kingsley Kuku: A man worth celebrating in season and out of season By Femi SALAKO
Kingsley Kuku: A man worth celebrating in season and out of season
By Femi SALAKO
Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku is a man who should be celebrated always and we have chosen this day to do so. He is not celebrating his day of birth today, he did that eight months ago on February 14. The former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme is a man of great benevolence who has earned great love from not just his people, but also across the nation through his exemplary leadership. Many have argued that his humanism, benevolence, strong passion to make the lives of the people better and selfless service and commitment to the growth of the nation must have been influenced by his humble background. True, but that’s not all that made Kuku, he chose his path right and the fear of God always make him put the love of the people first before personal gains. KKK as he is popularly known is a die-hard lover of his people, an environmental rights activist and a politician of no mean repute. He is a lover of fairness, equality and justice who has never hidden his penchant for good governance and quality service delivery. Kuku is undoubtedly a man of the people and he is readily prepared to go the extra mile in pursuit of justice and just cause. This attributes must have informed his decision to abandon eminent dignitaries at his wedding reception in Lagos to resolve communal crisis in his Arogbo home when he was informed about the outbreak of the crisis on his wedding day. It is a very strange but true story, when news got to him that there was an ongoing communal crisis at home, Kuku was said to have put his Best man in charge of his wedding reception which had eminent dignitaries in attendance like the then governor of Bayelsa state late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. He left the wedding and head for Arogbo, over six hours drive (on land and water) away from Lagos. What manner of love is this? If there is one achievement the people of Niger Delta are proud of about Kuku’s years in charge of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, it is the unparalleled peace that was restored to the Niger Delta. We may not need to mention the glaring achievements in the area of empowerment of youths from all the Niger Delta states, doing that may amount to overstating the obvious. Kuku is a great achiever whose life inspires and motivates many young and old. There are some of the many reasons why the hunt for Kuku by the anti-graft agency is infuriating so many. One is that he is not one public office holder who mismanaged public funds while he was the henchman at the amnesty office and different security agencies have stated this often times, but it is becoming clearer every day that the EFCC have some other issues to grind with the activist other than corruption label they are trying to hang on him. A man who has served well ought to be honoured, a man who brought peace to the Niger Delta that led to better output in crude oil production resulting in more gains for the nation does not deserve the hunting for persecution and unjust imprisonment like the government has done to others. A former public office holder who refused to dance to the tune of the ruling party should not be punished and treated differently than those with glaring corruption cases hanging on their necks but have decided to swim into the ruling party thereby earning the tag of a saint. Charges instituted against Kuku look and sound flawed. Some have also questioned why Kuku should abandon his medical treatment abroad and even go through the difficulties of coming back home to continue his treatment in order to face the charges when it is glaring that the authorities hunting him may not give him fair hearing and let him enjoy his right as an innocent man until proven guilty. He may end up like those who have been thrown behind bars for close to four years without fair hearing despite several court orders asking the government to release them. In an unfortunate paradox, ongoing corruption cases instituted since the present government came into power have continued to spread harmful misconceptions about the sincerity of the government and its institutions to holistically fight and tame the monster called corruption. Government institutions contradicting themselves on cases, especially on Kuku’s case, have justified fears that the government is all out to witch hunt those it perceived as its enemies. Until we take away the vendetta-seeking personalities manning our anti-corruption institutions, we may not be able to restore the lost confidence in the fight against corruption.