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2 Sep 2018

Igbo not afraid of Saraki’s claim on Tinubu’s bid, Says Kalu

A former governor of Abia State, who is also chief of the All Progressives Congress in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, Chief Orji Kalu, has said the Igbo are not bothered by the recent statement credited to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on the 2023 presidency.

Saraki had alleged that the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was supporting the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari because of the ambition of the former Lagos State governor to become president in 2023.

But Kalu, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said the statement credited to Saraki would not affect the resolve of the Igbo to take over the presidency of Nigeria after the eight-year rule of Buhari.

He said, “In politics, there is no total assurance, but it would be good if the country says the war has really ended in South-East Nigeria. It would be good to have an Igbo man as president in 2023.

“We have not got there. When we get to the river, we will cross it. We are still in the Sahara now and I don’t want to dabble in the Saraki and Tinubu issue. Both of them are very close to me.

“Politicians can say a lot of things; they can quarrel, but we eventually come back to the drawing board and find a common ground. The Igbo are not entertaining any fear over 2023 presidency.”

Kalu expressed confidence that most of the politicians that defected to the Peoples Democratic Party among others from the APC, would soon return to the party because the issues that forced them out would be resolved amicably.

He said the party leadership would determine his fate in the 2023 presidential election but hinted that he would seek election into the Senate next year.

He said, “It is not true that I have a presidential ambition, but let me be honest with you, I am going for Senate. My ability to run anything nationally will be decided by the party.

“The party knows what is wrong and right. The party knows that some people have been disenfranchised and have not produced president of Nigeria since after the civil war, 50 years ago.”

Kalu appealed to Saraki to resign his position as Senate President, noting that the former Kwara State governor’s new party was in the minority in the red chamber.

He said, “Your party cannot be in the minority and you would want to preside over a chamber of the National Assembly; it is not possible. People should learn how to respect democratic norms. It is not about the rules of the Senate; it is about what is right and constitutional.”

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