By Henry Umoru
Chief Whip of the Senate and former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu has alleged that former Federal Commissioner and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark and others betrayed the people of the South East and that as a region, they are now wiser.
In a statement Thursday, Kalu who was responding to the attack by the Elder statesman, said that he did not betray his People, rather he is doing his best to reintegrate them into mainstream politics.
Recall that Clark who is the Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF and leader of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) had in a statement on Wednesday taken a swipe at Kalu for saying that North-East is the nearest to the South-East for States that have not produced the Head of State or the President of Nigeria and thereby throwing his weight behind the 2023 Presidential aspiration of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Clark who noted that Orji Kalu is insincere and dishonest, and another Igbo man who is out to betray his people of the South East for selfish reason, said that the former Abia State Governor should let his ambition be made or sterner stuff for Nigeria to survive as a united country, and as equal citizenship.
Kalu’s statement Thursday read, “I have great respect for Chief Edwin Clark; He is an elder statesman and a patriotic Nigerian. I want to sincerely commend him for openly supporting the South-East geo-political zone to produce the next President of Nigeria.
“It is imperative I remind him that I didn’t betray my people, rather I am doing my best to reintegrate them into mainstream politics.
“In the last two years, I have been at the forefront agitating for a Nigerian President of South-East extraction, when most of them were all saying “Southern Presidency”. None of these actors openly said the South-East geo-political zone should have it. I was shocked that even the zone the entire South-East supported in unity including myself in 2011 and 2015 respectively, has the highest number of contestants without thinking of their brothers, knowing fully well that the South East zone has remained the only zone in Southern Nigeria that has not produced the nation’s president since the rotation convention dispensation that began in 1999.
“Coming to this late hour to support the South East is rather suspicious to me if they couldn’t do it two years ago. The truth is, Chief Edwin Clark knows the South-East cannot get the ticket of any party in an open contest as it is today without a gentleman agreement to concede it to the South-East.
“If all the aspirants from the South-West and South-South cannot support their brothers from the South-East, It is only politically correct to support the North-East geo-political zone, which to me is the shortest route for the South-East geo-political zone to produce the president after their 8 years instead of waiting for another 16 years.
“It is rather surprising to me that Chief Edwin Clark didn’t call the majority of other Southerners including governors working against the South-East to order or the names he called me.
“What did you say or do when all the aspirants from South South and South West were buying forms to run against South Easterners who have always supported them .
“I know some people want us to keep quiet and then allow other Southerners take turn of South East. If you meant well for the South East , you could have discouraged other aspirants against running for President. Nothing stops the South supporting only presidential aspirants from the South East . The betrayers are those who don’t care about South East . We are wiser.
“Let me also inform the elderstatesman that majority of the Southerners in his party (PDP) are secretly supporting a Northeasterner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The welfare of my people is a passion that is driving me, I am not doing anything to advance my personal interest or seek personal glorification. I also lost my businesses fighting for the political interest of the Igbos. I cannot betray them now if I didn’t do it yesterday.”