Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has indicated interest to contest for the position of the Deputy Senate President in the Ninth Senate.
Kalu also wants the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has majority in the chamber, to zone the position to the South East; in the interest of equity and justice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Abia North senator-elect discloses this when he spoke with journalists, yesterday, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Kalu said he was aware that the APC, which has the majority in the chamber, has zoned the senate president position to the North East and the deputy senate president to the North West.
“I am a very loyal party man. The party has zoned the senate presidency position to the North East and I want to respect the party’s will. But, the second position is what we are not going to allow to leave the South East.
“So, as far as I am concerned, in the South East, I am going to run openly on the floor of the senate, for the position of deputy senate president. I am not going to listen to the party, neither will I listen to anybody. Anybody that wants to be the deputy senate president is not more loyal than I am to the party.
“I have suffered for the party and have been called by Nigerians to come out. I want the party to respect the will of every other person and I am committed to democracy and contesting on the floor of the Senate,” he said.
According to Kalu, Article 50 of the Constitution, as well as Article One make it clear that members of the National Assembly, in-house, can elect their principal officers and that it was only fair that the position was retained in the South East, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, were well aware of this.
“So, if justice must prevail, you have to bring the senate president from the North East and you bring the deputy senate president to the South East. The chairman of the party is from South South; the president is from North West, the vice president is from South West and also, the senate president will come from North East.
“Whether it is senators Ahmad Lawan or Ali Ndume, this will be decided on the floor. For me, the tripod in Nigeria is Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa and, we are going to get the deputy senate president and I will fight on the Senate floor; like no other person has fought.”
Asked if did not mean challenging the party’s zoning arrangement, Kalu replied: “That is not challenging the party but this is about looking for justice. Buhari said recently, after the elections, that he will be addressing issues of injustice and this is part of the issue.”
He further maintained that he was qualified for the position, having being a former member of the House of Representatives, from 1991 to 1993 and also, a two-term governor of Abia state.
Kalu said: “I know the nook and crannies of how legislators operate. I have dealt with them and I am not a newcomer. So, it is going to be impossible to edge me out or edge a whole zone out by claiming we are newcomers.
“What I am fighting for is justice, fair play and for Nigeria to continue to be one. I have suffered in fighting for the unity of the country. They cannot use National Assembly or petty House officers to divide the country.
“I have sweated. All my investments are in the North, in the West and the South and, we must protect these things and live in peace.”
He, however, warned that he would be forced to contest for the position of the senate president if the APC failed to do the needful.
“I have the capacity for lobbying. I am well-known in the East, West, and North. If the party continues this way, I will run for the position of senate president, if justice is not done to say ‘South East, bring the deputy senate president.’
“I can assure you that there are over 56 Senators in my kitty now, for either the senate president or the deputy senate president positions; who have already signed to what I believe in. It is only just to unveil it on the floor of the Senate,” Kalu added.