Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has said that nine aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are seeking to bear the party’s flag in the 2023 presidential election, are ready to step down for Senate President Ahmed Lawan.
Kalu disclosed this on Monday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“I want to tell you, I have spoken to nine candidates running for president, and they are ready, already discussing to step down for Ahmed Lawan,” the lawmaker stated.
Adding that he has told them to come with him and meet with the Senate President as to negotiate face to face.
While refusing to list the names of the candidates in question, Kalu said he is certain that the candidates are ready to quit the race for Senator Lawan, and will bring along all their delegates.
Kalu who is also Chief Whip of the the Senate, further noted that he cannot tell what the negotiations and demands of the other candidates will be when they meet with Lawan, however, he quashed the suggestion that the Senate President will refund each individual the 100 million naira which they paid to obtain their nomination forms.
“I made that one clear to them, nobody is returning any money to anyone” Senator Kalu buttressed.
When asked if he chickened out of the presidential race just so he could become the running mate to Ahmed Lawan, the former Abia State governor replied with a “No!”.
“It is not true, I have already purchased my Senate form, I am very happy being in the Senate,” Kalu argued.
He added that what Nigeria needs at this time is leadership, and that that quality can be found in the candidate which he has adopted.
“I have known him since 41-years-ago, we were roommates at the university, he is strong enough to give the Nigerian people what they are looking for.”
Speaking further on the qualities Lawan possesses, Kalu went on to say that the Senate President played a vital role in stabilizing the Nigerian parliament, ensuring that several highly important bills were passed, a standard which he says will be replicated when Senator Lawan is voted in as President of the Federation.
Southerners Betrayed the South East
In defending his resolve to stand down his presidential ambition, Kalu said he has all it takes but does not have the delegates and the numbers from the South East, adding sadly that the South South and the South West betrayed the Igbos.
“We have supported South West, we supported President Obasanjo, we supported Vice President Osinbajo, we supported Vice President Jonathan for five years and we supported President Jonathan for 6 years, why can’t they support us?” the lawmaker bitterly questioned.
Kalu reiterated his earlier stand which is that if the presidency is not zoned to the South East in the ruling party, then let the North East have the mandate.
“Any southerner that is not from South East and is coming to run for president is a betrayer, they are the ones betraying us,” the parliamentarian submitted.
Nevertheless, the Senator went on to assert that the Igbos are wiser now than ever before. He further remarked that nobody can make the Southeasterners quarrel with the North.
“To be President of Nigeria, it is advantageous to be with the North, so I am not pretending about it,” he stressed.
The Chief Whip in his recapitulation maintained that if the 2023 presidency will not be given to the South East, then it would only make sense that the North East gets the position.