Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has revealed that he was motivated to declare his ambition to contest the 2023 Presidential election after elders from the six geopolitical zones of the country approached him to run citing his capability and experience.
Kalu said that though he had earlier told other Presidential aspirants like the former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, former President of the Senate, Pius Anyim and Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi that he won’t contest, he had a change of mind shortly after due consultations coupled with the request by prominent National elders to join the contest.
The former governor stated this in a TV interview Friday morning, during which he disclosed that his decision to contest was also hinged on his capacity and experience to turn around the economy of the country and fight insecurity.
He said; ” I didn’t want to join this contest before, when I met with Senator Tinubu I told him I was not running, when I also met with Governor Umahi I told him I was not running, when I also met with Senator Pius Anyim I told him I wasn’t contesting. Some couple of days after my discussion with them, elders from the West, elders from the North, the Southeast and Niger Delta came to see me on the 5th of January (2022) and I also went to see a couple of them.
“I flew from my village to tour some places and I met with them in the North , West and somewhere in Lagos and Warri and I returned on the 8th back to Igbere, my home town and also met with the elders of my community and they said that it’s a possibility. And that is why I have not gone back to tell this people who I initially told that I will not run that I am now going to run. I will still have a meeting with them and tell them formally that I am going to run for the president .”
Kalu also commented on media reports that he, in a recent interview, attacked Tinubu when he said he would contest against the APC chieftain for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket if zoned to the South.
Kalu clarified that both of them were not threats to each other’s ambition, stressing that their relationship spans for decades, adding that their friendship cannot be tainted by politics. Kalu however said he will give a good account of himself if eventually both of them contest the Presidential primaries.
His words; “No! No! Tinubu is not a threat to my ambition and I am not a threat to his ambition. We are very close friends and our friendship is deep rooted. When me and my wife went back to Abia as governor, nobody was occupying my house in Victoria Island, Lagos . So my children were in school at that time and some were schooling at Corona schools while one was in French International school in 1998 and they were living with Senator Oluremi Tinubu. So we are like a family and politics cannot separate us.
“In 2003 when Tinubu was seeking re-election and I saw that he was lagging behind, I assisted him and it’s part of what caused my problem with former President Obasanjo. So we’re a family and we cannot quarrel because of politics. He might have his idea on how to do it and I might have my own idea on how to do it. But all I know is that if we meet at Eagles Square I will give a very good account of myself.”
The Abia North lawmaker, had announced his intention and readiness to run for the office of the president in the 2023 general elections if his party, the All Progressives Congress zones the position to the South-east.