By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Abuja
The former presidential candidate of the defunct Independent Democrats, ID, Hon. Edozie Madu has said that Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu will not support the national leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in his 2023 presidential ambition.
He said that Kalu who was the Chief Whip of the 9th Senate has pitched his tent with the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and would not look elsewhere.
Madu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC was reacting to a statement by Hon. Jimoh Adewunmi Babafemi, another chieftain of the party urged Kalu to back the presidential ambition of Tinubu instead of Lawan.
According to a statement made available by Kalu’s office to Vanguard in Abuja on Tuesday, Babafemi had pleaded with the Senate Chief Whip to reconsider his decision on Lawan and support his Southern brother and long-time ally.
He said: “We are pleading with Orji Kalu to reconsider his decision on Lawan and support his ally Tinubu.
“Last year, Asiwaju himself visited Kalu in his Asokoro residence and stayed with him for hours on this same issue. I thought they already reached an agreement. But surprisingly he has thrown his weight behind Lawan and you can see how it changed the dynamics of the entire politics. We are very confident that Tinubu will win but we want Kalu whose friendship with Tinubu dates years ago to also support him and support us.
“I can not say that I am disappointed that he is supporting Lawan instead of Asiwaju (Tinubu) because it is his right to take a stand. But I know that With Asiwaju (Tinubu ), he is sure of the Senate Presidency. Kalu is a young man who has a very bright future in the country.
“For the sake of stability and unity of the country, power should not be allowed to return to North. Since he is not running for president anymore let him support his bosom friend so they can win together.
“Kalu has deep friendship ties with the South West and also has a lot of Yorubas working for him. It is time he shows us that friendship and supports Asiwaju for the office of the president.”
The statement further stated that he and others have held meetings with Kalu on three different occasions but he was still unyielding, noting that Tinubu was the man to succeed Buhari.
“Asiwaju is the most prepared to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 judging by his acceptability.
“He is eminently qualified to lead Nigeria and Kalu knows he will work for the country. We can not risk any other aspirant in the country aside Tinubu”, the statement quoted Babafemi as saying.
But reacting to the statement on Tuesday, Hon. Madu picked holes with the request, saying that Tinubu and other presidential aspirants from the South-West and South-South geo-political zones abandoned their brothers from the South East geo-political zone.
He wondered why Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi and other leaders of the party refused to support the South East geo-political zone which is “badly marginalized”.
He commended Senator Kalu for his commitment, doggedness, support and foresight in integrating Ndigbo into mainstream politics by backing the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, insisting it was better to support a northeaster than a south westerner who turned their back on the south east region.
“It is better to support the North East geo-political zone in 2023 instead of supporting the South-West and South-South geo-political zones.
“Obviously, the North East is marginalized just like the South East since 1999. I commend Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for backing Lawan and I am in agreement with him. It is either South East or we go back to the North and North East specifically,” Madu said in the statement.