A former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that unless the ruling All Progressives Congress makes him the Deputy President of the Senate, he will fight to become the Senate President.
He said this while indicating his interest to contest for the position of Deputy Senate President in the soon-to-be constituted 9th National Assembly.
Kalu also wants the APC to zone the position to the South-East “in the interest of equity and justice.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Abia North Senator-elect spoke with newsmen on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
He noted that he was aware that the APC, which has the majority in the forthcoming Senate, has zoned the Senate presidency to the North-East and the Deputy Senate President to the North-West.
Kalu said: “I’m a very loyal party man. The party has zoned the Senate presidency 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’m concerned, in the South-East, I’m going to run openly on the floor of the House for the position of Deputy Senate President.
“I am not going to listen to the party, neither will I listen to anybody. Nobody that wants to be the Deputy Senate President is 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’m committed to democracy and contesting on the floor of the House.”
According to him, Articles One and 50 of the Constitution make it clear that members of the National Assembly in-house can elect their principal officers.
He said it was only fair that the position is retained in the South-East, stressing that both President Muhammadu Buhari and APC chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, are 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 Ahmed Lawal or Alli Ndume, this will be decided on the floor of the House.
“So, 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 floor of the House like no other person has fought.
“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,” Kalu said.
He further maintained that he was qualified for the position, having been a former member of the Federal House of Representatives from 1991 to 1993 and also a two-time governor.
Kalu said: “I know the nooks and crannies of how legislators operate. I have dealt with them and I am not a new comer. So, it is going to be impossible to edge me out or edge a whole zone out by claiming we are new comers.
“What I’m 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 fails to make him a deputy.
“I have the capacity for lobbying. I am well known in East, West and North. I will run for the 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 that have already signed to what I believe in.
“It is only just to unveil it on the floor of the House,” Kalu added.