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I will withdraw from presidential race if parties fail to zone ticket — Orji Kalu



The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu says he may withdraw from contesting to be the president of Nigeria if major political parties don’t zone their tickets to the South-East.

Kalu in a statement he issued on Tuesday in Abuja, however, said that it was his desire and intention to run for the Presidency.

According to him, 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,’’ Kalu said.

He said that the North was more advantageous to win elections in the 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,’’ Kalu said.

He further said that if there was anything like “fairness”, “equity” and “justice”, it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South-East extraction.

According to him, 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,’’ he said.

Kalu also said that while the South-West and the South-South successfully completed their tenures as ‘President and Vice President’, they should have the courage to support 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,’’ Kalu said.

He said that 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 prioritise 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.

“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 clamour 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,’’ Kalu said.

“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,’’ Kalu said.

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