Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Senator-elect and former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has endorsed the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the position of Speaker, House of Representatives.
Kalu made the endorsement in Abuja, declaring that Gbajabiamila was not a candidate of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but the choice of President Muhammadu Buhari and the candidate of Nigerians.
The endorsement of Gbajabiamila by Kalu, followed a similar endorsement of the candidature of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan for the position of Senate President last weekend.
Gbajabiamila was accompanied to the Abuja residence of Kalu by the Deputy Leader, House of Representatives, Mohammed Idris Wase, an aspirant for the position of Deputy Speaker, the Director-General of the Gbajabiamila Campaign Organisation, Hon Abdulmumin Jubrin and Hon James Faleke, amongst others.
Also in attendance were the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina and the member-elect, Bende Federal Constituency, Hon Benjamin Kalu.
Kalu said there was no doubt that people had been blackmailing Gbajabiamila over his endorsement, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari had spoken to party faithful collectively and individually about Gbajabiamila as his choice.
Kalu stated that people were making a mistake by saying that Gbajabiamila was Tinubu’s candidate, adding that Gbajabiamila was endorsed by President Buhari who is the Commander-in-Chief and President of Nigeria.
“You are not Tinubu’s candidate. It is a mistake. You were endorsed by the Commander-in-Chief and President of Nigeria. He told us in an open place, he told all members of the House of the Representatives and he also told all the senators.
“And apart from that, on Monday, just last Monday, I had a private session with Mr President. I asked him again, what are we doing? He said listen, there are just two people I want there. You people can take every other thing. And this is the truth. I am quoting him correctly.
“I was with him and I said how are we going to…? He said no, no, no, no. I only asked them to give me Lawan and Femi because I see them defending the interest of the party – both of them.
“So, if Mr President said so, you are not a candidate of ex-governor Tinubu. No, it is not true. You are a candidate of APC and a bipartisan candidate. You are a candidate of every party that is represented in the National Assembly,” Kalu said.
While further emphasising that Gbajabiamila was the candidate of the APC and nobody’s candidate, Kalu also said Gbajabiamila was the candidate of the people of Nigeria.
“You have been endorsed by Mr President; you have been endorsed by the National Working Committee of our party; you have been endorsed by Progressive Governors; you have been endorsed by all levels of our political party and I have no regret, and I am not thinking otherwise in endorsing you as a person and endorsing you from our region,” Kalu also said.
Kalu added that there was no alternative to Gbajabiamila, saying that the party needed to cooperate as one big family to support President Buhari with the Next Level Agenda and in rebuilding the economy.
“We need to cooperate in giving our people economic prosperity. That is what we are looking for. You are like the first son of all of us – the first son of Buhari, the first son of Tinubu. Tinubu just joined the way I am joining because you are the president’s choice. Because you are from Lagos State, they said he brought you. It is not true,” Kalu maintained.
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila thanked Kalu for receiving him and assured him that when elected, he would be speaker for all.
He said he was not taking anything for granted as far as the election was concerned, adding that, that was what formed the reason why he was reaching out to all concerned, including the opposition.
Gbajabiamila further said he was reaching out because he understood the importance and significance of the speaker which is for everybody and not for a party, not for a part of the country, but for the entire nation.
“And it was important for us to touch everywhere. And we are here today to meet our leader, somebody whom we have always admired, a nationalist per excellence, to seek his support and his blessing.
“And we are absolutely gratified that he wasted no time, even before coming, that he wasted no time in letting us know that he was 100 percent with us and we are grateful for that,” Gbajabiamila said.