In a statement on Thursday, the former Abia Governor wondered why Clark and others couldn’t do it two years ago.
Nigerian lawmaker, and senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, Orji Kalu has reacted after elder statesman, Edwin Clark accused him of betraying the South-East and its quest for the 2023 presidency.
Clark had accused Kalu of betraying his ethnicity by supporting Senate President Ahmad Lawan in the 2023 presidential race.
Reacting, in a statement on Thursday, the former Abia Governor wondered why Clark and others couldn’t do it two years ago.
Kalu said Chief Clark knows the South-East cannot get the ticket of any party in an open contest without a gentleman agreement.
The lawmaker is backing Ahmad Lawan for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket.
“If aspirants from the South-West and South-South cannot support their brothers from the South-East, It is only politically correct to support the North-East geo-political zone”, he noted.
Kalu said it would the shortest route for the South-East zone to produce the president “after 8 years instead of waiting for another 16 years”.
The Senate Chief Whip expressed shock that Clark didn’t call the majority of Southerners, “including governors working against the South-East to order or the names he called me”.
He quipped: “What did you say or do when all the aspirants from South-South and South-West were buying forms to run against South Easterners who have always supported them?
“If you meant well for the South East, you could have discouraged other aspirants against running for President.
“Nothing stops the South supporting only presidential aspirants from the South East. The betrayers are those who don’t care about South. We are wiser.”
Kalu told Clark that majority of the Southerners “in his party (PDP) are secretly supporting a Northeasterner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Clark had bared his mind in a statement titled: “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is the betrayer of his ethnicity.”
He statement read, “Recently, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, publicly announced to Nigerians that he will drop his Presidential ambition if the Presidential seat was not zone to the South East. He even went to the extent of floating an organization known as Njiko Igbo Movement, whose purpose is to help secure the Presidential seat for a Nigerian citizen of Igbo extraction, Because an Igbo has only held the position of a Head of State for 6 months since Nigeria’s Independence.
“The Movement has branches and support groups throughout the Diaspora. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, launched the organization together with former Nigerian Senator, Emmanuel Onwe, a human rights advocate and lawyer, earlier based in the United Kingdom.
“Unexpectedly, the same Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, did not only drop his ambition to contest the Presidential election but also declared his support for the Presidential ambition Distinguished Senator, Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State in North East on puerile and misinformed reasons that only South-East and North-East have not produced civilian Head of State in Nigeria.
“To quote him from the Sun Newspapers of Tuesday, May 10, 2022, he said; “In the absence of a South Easterner being President of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North Easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness, and Justice everyone is talking about. It further means that the justice is on its way to the South East”.
“This most dishonest and shameless statement from a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shows clearly that this is another Igbo man, who is out to betray his people simply for selfish reasons. Both the APC and the PDP have not officially decided against zoning the Presidency to Southern Nigeria. Why is Senator Kalu jumping the gun, if he has no ulterior motive.
“There are many Igbos from the South East, who are in the Presidential race, particularly, in his political party, APC, that is available and willing to receive the support of their brother, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, but he is insincere and dishonest. Why is he supporting the North-Eastern Presidential aspirant against his fellow Igbo men from the South-East?
“It is a blatant lie and fraudulent for Senator Kalu to say that the North-East is the nearest to the South-East for States that have not produced the Head of State or the President of Nigeria. As a Senator, I expected him to know that Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, who was the Prime Minister of Nigeria between 1957 and 1966, was from Bauchi State in North East.
“In Parliamentary Government, which Nigeria was practicing until 1966, the Prime Minister was the Chief Executive of the Government and was equivalent to the post of Head of State or President from 1979. It is therefore not true that the North East of Nigeria has not presented or provided a Head of State or President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I call on the southeast leaders to sanction any of their sons or daughters trying to betray them, otherwise, your case will be jeopardized from your home.”