Orji Uzor joins race for Senate President

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja.

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The Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Tuesday, informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to run for the position of the President of the Senate.

He stated this while briefing State House correspondents after a private meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

Kalu, who is also the Chief Whip of the Senate, said his aspiration is subject to the zoning of the position of the President of the Senate to the South East geo-political zone by the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has the majority of seats in the Senate.

Asked if the poor performance of the APC in the South East would not affect the decision of the party on where the Senate President should emerge from, Kalu said what would matter most is the need to keep Nigeria peaceful.

“You can see I was the first to say if I am Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, I will play Muslim-Muslim ticket, which means I have no bias against any Muslim to get anything. 

“These things are not done by religion.  Sometimes, it is not done by votes.  These things are done by consideration of how we win elections and keep a peaceful country.   At this stage, we are not talking about who voted more. 

“Let me tell you, President Obasanjo was President of Nigeria.  He lost in the ward where he voted in 1999.  I was there with him that day. 

“He lost in that ward; that did not stop the larger Nigeria from making him the president.  We might not bring votes in the South East, but we bring peace and honour. 

“We will bring unity to the country.  That is more important than vote.  Human life is more important than the vote. 

“We can stop a lot of things that are happening in the country if the right things are done.  Let me be honest with you.”

Capable Senators

Kalu said Senator Sani Musa, representing Niger East, who has also expressed intention to run for President of the Senate, is capable, like all 109 Senators, to occupy the position.

He however said that there should be a balancing of the offices to ensure that every zone is given a sense of belonging.

“Sani Musa is my friend and I don’t think he means bad to the nation.  He is capable; all the 109 Senators, to be honest with you, are all capable of being Senate President. 

“So, what we are just saying is that we do some mathematics and some balancing that looks like we all are Nigerians because the Southern part of Nigeria has complained so much that they are not in government. 

“Nobody works democracy with sympathy but we also want democracy to be able to accept peace. Peace in this country is more important than the number of votes you have brought.  I want people to realise that. 

“We need to concentrate our energy on manufacturing things in Aba and Nnewi and the rest of them. We need to re-strategise our energy is going to bring peace to all parts of Nigeria.  

“We must talk about how to make sure that we bring everybody who is supposed to be a Nigerian; over 200 million of us should be Nigerians.  People should not say they are Igbo people. 

“Nobody should say they are Igbo people, I am Yoruba, or this.  People should be seen to be saying we are Nigerians and proudly Nigerians.  So, I think the Senator has a right to aspire.  But it is left for the National Working Committee.”

Rejected bills

Senator Kalu said that he also discussed with President Buhari the issue of the 19 bills passed by the National Assembly, which the president did not sign.

Insisting that the National Assembly and the President often disagree on some issues, Kalu said that the legislature and the executive always manage such differences with dignity.

“If he brings a bill or brings nomination that is not in favour to us, we come back and discuss it quietly with him. 

“It is just like the 35 constitutional amendments we brought, I also pleaded with him that the 19 he rejected we can resolve those issues before the 29th of May. 

“Some of them are very essential amendments of the constitution that we ought to agree.”

Kalu said that National Assembly would engage the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and other members of the executive to seek ways of resolving the disagreement over the amendments.

 

Dominica Nwabufo

 

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