Senator-elect Abia North Constituency, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Friday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the rift between former National Chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie–Oyegun, and the current chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Kalu said Buhari’s intervention has become imperative to avoid any drift in the ruling party.
Speaking in an interview at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), on his way to Abuja, he said Buhari should call the feuding party chieftains to order to avoid further bickering capable of eroding the gains of the party’s victory in the last elections.
While commending Buhari for prevailing on Senator Danjuma Goje to step down for Senator Ahmed Lawan as candidate for the Senate Presidency, Kalu said such rapprochement was critical to ensuring the party speaks with one voice on such a fundamental matter.
He said: “What they are doing is part of democracy. Democracy must not agree and that is why it is democracy. Democracy is a collection of all opinions. But we have called on Mr. President based on the way he settled the Goje matter, for us to be able to call them. If President occasionally intervenes in this kind of issue, we will not be having problems. In PDP, there are bigger problems but they intervene and settle the matter. Before President will tell you, I don’t want to play politics but he is the chief politician. I think the President has started changing his mind to be able to intervene in cases like that. I am sure, we will sort out Oyegun and Oshiomhole’s problems by next week. I am sure Mr. President is already doing something on that matter. And I want to make it clear, people should not be misleading people by saying what the President did not say. I advise that Nigerians should not be misleading the public with what the president never said.”
Kalu advised APC members to desist from using the name of Buhari to entrench their personal and selfish interest saying presently, many politicians were using the President’s name to pursue causes that Buhari has not endorsed.
Kalu said his endorsement of Lawan as President of the Senate was driven by deep convictions about Lawan’s capacity to push for robust leadership that will deepen the political and economic space for the prosperity of Nigeria and Nigerians.
He restated his clamour for the position of Deputy Senate President ceded to the South East Region, saying it was only Godly, moral and in the sense of equity, balance and justice to do that.
Kalu clarified that it was not about self, but ensuring geopolitical balance.
On the Deputy Senate Presidency bid, Kalu said: ”I am not only restating it but I am saying that it is the most Godly thing to do because I am ready to do that job to help both the Senate in lawmaking and help the executive to be able to bring stimulus that would fix the economy. I am interested in the economy because if we hit the economy right, the security will be addressed. I think a hungry man is an angry man. So we need to also be looking at candidates that have the capacity to do the work. And I have the capacity to do the work. I have the capacity of managing human beings and the Senate is about human management.”
On allegations that he was pursuing a personal agenda, Kalu said: ”But what is wrong with personal bid. I am a Nigerian. Those that are bidding it, are they more capable than I am?. The important thing is the capacity to make life better for people like you. Capacity to help President Buhari achieve his economic goals. Capacity to work with the national adviser on the economy and work with the Central Bank of Nigeria because the economy is not doing totally well. We need to put it on track. There are some things we need to put where it supposed to be and the economy will have stimulus.
“My agenda is the economy to help the President and the National Assembly. The 109 members are the superior members of the National Assembly and they are the ones that have say. I also aspire to protect the interest of these members and work as a team all the time.”
He said there will be no rift between the legislature and executive arm of government.
His words: ”We are going to have a Senate that will work with the executive but we are not going to be rubber stamp. We are going to do what needs to be done for the Nigerian people. What should be just for the executive and what should be just be done for the legislators? So it is about fairness and equity. We are not just going to assume because President Buhari is of APC or our friend and say everything he says is ok. No. We have to ask questions and make clarifications and all the rest of them and be able to protect Nigerian people whose vote we are standing in the National Assembly.
“The most important component is the Nigerian people and once we protect the Nigerian people, the second component will be the executive. We will work harmoniously with the executive. The 8th Senate has closed down and I congratulate them because it was not easy to end up alive.”
On the endorsement of Lawan, he said:” Well for the first time, I will tell the press, I have known Lawan for over 40 years. Lawan was my roommate in the university. We lived in the same room in the University of Maiduguri. So he is qualified for the job. This is what I consistently telling people about him. I am not against him. Ali Ndume is my very good brother and I am not against him. But I am just saying that Lawan has been endorsed by all Senators of the party and by individuals. When I said last week that we had 58 Senators, people thought it was a joke.
“That was excluding PDP. But now, we have 21 PDP that have already signed for Lawan as at last week. Now that Goje is no longer running and I can say it out, we have 21 PDP when we had 58 APC but we kept it in the cooler; it was our last strategy to say it on Monday that we have 21 PDP.
“And we said that any PDP member that would not be willing on Monday to disclose his name should drop. So, this is the issue, we were ready. We don’t want to fight because we have fought so much. We want one Senate, one party after all, what is the difference. The difference is party. I was 8 years PDP governor, I was also 2 years NRC member of House of Representatives; So all these things are colouration of names.
“The vehicle that brings us to the place might be different vehicles but the destination is the same.”
On what to expect from the ninth assembly, Kalu said: “Mind you, we only make laws, we don’t execute. They should expect robust laws that would represent the interest of Nigerians. Vibrant laws without fear or favour. We will put the country into one and see how we will be able to tackle insecurity.”