From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has expressed shock at the number of presidential aspirants from the South West and South South geopolitical zones when equity and justice demand they should be supporting the South East for the presidency.
He said the right thing to do, as political parties are on the verge of picking their candidates, is for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone their presidential tickets to the South East, which remains the only zone in the South that has not produced the president and vice president since 1999.
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In a statement entitled, 2023 Presidency: The Fairness I Know,” Kalu said although he wants to contest, he would not do so except the APC zones the ticket to South East.
He said in the absence of zoning to South East, he would seek reelection to the Senate as “the reality is that the North is more advantageous to win elections in this democratic setting.”
Expressing disappointment that people from South West and South South are jostling for the presidency, after their zones had produced presidents and vice presidents, Kalu said it was “embarrassing that these aspirants (APC and PDP) have no single respect and concern for the South East. I had thought they would think about the South East; I thought they would support us.”
The former governor said if there was anything like fairness, equity and justice, “it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South East extraction. Anything less than that is ‘hypocritical, unjustifiable and inordinate.”
He said that there was no difference between South West, South South politicians running to the Presidency at this time and northerners contesting for the position, stating: “What moral justification does a Southerner who refused to be fair to his brothers have against a Northerner running for president? It will be very insensitive, unreasonable and disrespectful for any Southern man to criticise a presidential aspirant from the North on the ground that the North has done eight years and power should return to the South.”
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He thanked elderstatemen, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark , Deji Adeyanju and a host of others “who have stood firm in their support for their brothers in the South East, posterity will be kind to you.”
Kalu’s statement reads: “It’s my desire and intention to run for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am committed to this pursuit, but I can’t make an official declaration to this regard without the full support of other regions. Everywhere in the world, politics is situational and that of Nigeria is exceptionally situational.
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“The situation in Nigeria is that without the support of other regions, it would amount to a shadow chase for a South Easterner to be president. This is the reason I have been in the frontline of the call that the two major political parties, APC and PDP, should zone their presidential tickets to the South East as they did for the South West in 1999. In the absence of this zoning, I shall return to the Senate and stay away from the presidential contest. The reality is that the North is more advantageous to win elections in this democratic setting.
“I am even shocked with the number of aspirants coming from the South West and the South South . It is embarrassing that these aspirants (APC and PDP) have no single respect and concern for the South East. I had thought they would think about the South East; I thought they would support us. The amount of money being spent by these aspirants is alarming and they have forgotten that money alone cannot buy the presidency.
“It has become a joke to an ordinary Nigerian who hears southern commentators and aspirants rooting for a southern president on the premise of fairness, equity and justice. How can you talk about these morals when you are not even fair to your own brothers?
“If there is anything like “fairness”, “equity” and “justice’’, it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South East extraction. Anything less than that is “hypocritical”, “unjustifiable”and “inordinate”. Some persons are even claiming God’s anointed choice in 2023. Unfortunately, it is not all prayers that God answers; at least not inordinate ones.
“What moral justification does a southerner who refused to be fair to his brothers have against a northerner running for president? It will be very insensitive , unreasonable and disrespectful for any Southern man to criticize a presidential aspirant from the North on the ground that the North has done eight years and power should return to the South.
“The South West and the South South have successfully completed their tenures as ‘President and Vice President’.They should have the courage to support their brothers from the South East. If the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari does not come from the South East , there would be nothing unfair and unjust if he/she comes from Daura.
“This country belongs to all of us and the unity of the country should be paramount . If not for selfishness and greed, how can you say that where a president comes from does not matter simply because you don’t want to support a president of Nigeria from the South East, but turn around to clamor for a power shift to the South? How do we explain this to the younger generation? Let the wise and courageous stay firm on their convictions and not swing on the two sides of the Atlantic .
“If you are convinced that where a president comes from does not matter, let Nigerians not hear you clamour for power shift. Be brave to encourage everyone to run , including President Buhari’s kinsmen. But if you have conscience and believe in equality, then you should support the South East region that is yet to produce a president. That is what I consider as fairness .
“The two regions that are yet to produce a President are South East and North East. If this means anything to Nigerians, the APC and PDP should be fair enough to prioritize these regions. If power should come to the South and not the South East or North and not the North East, the essence for which the six geopolitical zones were created is long dead.”