- Though Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had sought his support earlier, Senator Orji Kalu has backed the presidential ambition of Senate president Ahmad Lawan
- Kalu who has dropped his own presidential ambition said he is backing Lawan because he is from the northeast, another zone apart from the southeast that is yet to produce president
- The former Abia governor appears not happy with Tinubu and other southern aspirants who have refused to allow the APC ticket go strictly to the southeast
FCT, Abuja - Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed the presidential ambition of the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
Lawan joined the presidential race on Monday, May 9, when a group of his friends and some senators purchased the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for him.
Shortly after the development, Senator Kalu who is the Chief Whip of the Senate announced he was withdrawing from the presidential race.
Kalu said he decided to withdraw from the race because the ruling party refused to zone the presidential ticket to the southeast.
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2023 presidency: Why I am backing Lawan - Kalu
Congratulating Lawan for picking the APC presidential form in a statement released on Monday, Senator Kalu said he is glad because the Senate president is also from a zone which, lick the southeast, has not produced a president since 1999; that is, the northeast.
"I congratulate my friend, former roommate and boss , Senator Ahmad Lawan as he picks form to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
2023: If not South East, Senator Orji Kalu reveals the region PDP should give its presidential ticket
"I am most glad because he is from the North East, the only zone alongside South East that is yet to produce President of Nigeria."
The former governor of Abia state said he has "always maintained an unambiguous stand that for justice, equity and fairness in our country, the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari should come from the South East or the North East."
"In the absence of a South Easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023 , I have my full support for a North Easterner . This is because it would be the closest to the equity , fairness and Justice everyone is talking about . It further means that the justice is on its way to the South East," Senator Kalu added.
He also urged all his allies and supporters in the APC to back Lawan's presidential ambition.
"I urge all my friends , allies and supporters in the APC to toe the line of justice by supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, a North Easterner for the presidential ticket of the APC," the senator stated.
2023: Kalu snubs Tinubu who had earlier sought his support
After the meeting, Kalu opened up on what he told Tinubu. While appearing as a guest on Channels TV on Friday, February 4, Kalu said he told Tinubu that he was not going to contest for president.
“I told Tinubu that I was not going to run, that is the truth.
“It was circumstance from the southeast, southwest, northwest, northcentral, and northeast that made me decide to join the race," he said.
In his latest statement, Senator Kalu in apparent reference to southwest and south-south presidential aspirants, he "was disappointed with our southern brothers who are talking about fairness and equity but has zero tolerance for the same fairness and equity in the South."
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In another statement, Kalu had submitted that it would be hypocritical of those in the southwest and the south-south who criticise the north for not conceding the ticket to the south, if the same people would not concede the position to the southeast.
2023: Afenifere dumps southwest aspirants, backs southeast for presidency
Meanwhile, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Saturday, January 29, said any attempt to deny the southeast the presidency in 2023 is a gang-up against the region dominated by Igbo.
Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said those opposed to Igbo president are discriminatory against the southeast region.
“If there is anything like power shift in Nigeria, it should go to the southeast. There is doubt about that, any other thing is just gang-up," Pa Adebanjo said.