2023 Presidency: Orji Kalu drops bid, gives condition to rejoin contest
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
Daily Courier – The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said he would no longer vie for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He made the announcement on Tuesday in a post on his verified Instagram page, where he gave reasons for his decision.
Kalu, who was a two-term governor of Abia State, explained that there was no point in joining the contest without the full support of other regions.
According to him, four of the six geopolitical regions of the country have produced the President and Vice President at different times, leaving out the South East and North East regions.
The lawmaker stressed that should there be any fair clamour for the zoning of the 2023 presidency, such a person ought to emerge from either of the two regions that have yet to enjoy such a privilege.
Amid the call that the ticket be zoned to the South, he believes now is the time for leaders in the region to throw their weight behind the South East to produce the next President.
Should that be the case, he stated, it would no longer be unfair and unjust should the next Nigerian leader emerge from Daura, the hometown of the President.
Having pulled out of the presidential race, the lawmaker hinted that he would rather channel his energy towards return to the Senate at the end of the 9th National Assembly.
Read the full text of his message below:
2023 Presidency: The Fairness I Know
It is my desire and intention to run for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am committed to this pursuit, but I can’t make an official declaration to this regard without the full support of other regions.
Everywhere in the world, politics is situational and that of Nigeria is exceptionally situational. The situation in Nigeria is that without the support of other regions, it would amount to a shadow chase for a South Easterner to be President.
This is the reason I have been in the frontline of the call that the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should zone their presidential tickets to the South East as they did for the South West in 1999.
In the absence of this zoning, I shall return to the Senate and stay away from the presidential contest. The reality is that the North is more advantageous to winning elections in this democratic setting. I am even shocked with the number of aspirants coming from the South West and the South South.
It is embarrassing that these aspirants (APC and PDP) have no single respect and concern for the South East. I had thought they would think about the South East; I thought they would support us. The amount of money being spent by these aspirants is alarming and they have forgotten that money alone cannot buy the presidency.
It has become a joke to an ordinary Nigerian who hears Southern commentators and aspirants rooting for a Southern President on the premise of fairness, equity, and justice. How can you talk about these morals when you are not even fair to your own brothers?
If there is anything like “fairness”, “equity” and “justice”, it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South East extraction. Anything less than that is “hypocritical”, “unjustifiable“ and “inordinate”. Some ‘persons’ are even claiming God’s anointed choice in 2023.
Unfortunately, it is not all prayers that God answers; at least not inordinate ones. What moral justification does a Southerner who refused to be fair to his brothers have against a Northerner running for president?
It will be very insensitive, unreasonable, and disrespectful for any Southern man to criticise a presidential aspirant from the North on the ground that the North has done eight years and power should return to the South.
The South West and the South South have successfully completed their tenures as ‘President and Vice President’. They should have the courage to support their brothers from the South East. If the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari does not come from the South East, there would be nothing unfair and unjust if he/she comes from Daura.
This country belongs to all of us and the unity of the country should be paramount. If not for selfishness and greed, how can you say that where a president comes from does not matter simply because you don’t want to support a president of Nigeria from the South East, but turn around to clamor for a power shift to the South? How do we explain this to the younger generation? Let the wise and courageous stay firm on their convictions and not swing on the two sides of the Atlantic.
If you are convinced that where a president comes from does not matter, let Nigerians not hear you clamour for a power shift. Be brave to encourage everyone to run, including President Buhari’s kinsmen. But if you have a conscience and believe in equality, then you should support the South East region that is yet to produce a president. That is what I consider fairness.
The two regions that are yet to produce a President are South East and North East. If this means anything to Nigerians, the APC and PDP should be fair enough to prioritize these regions. If power should come to the South and not the South East or North and not the North East, the essence for which the six geopolitical zones were created is long dead.
To Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark, Deji Adeyanju, and a host of others, who have stood firm in their support for their brothers in the South East, posterity will be kind to you.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu MON
Chief Whip of the 9th Senate
Federal Republic of Nigeria