Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator-elect for Abia North, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, insisted, yesterday, he will contest the Deputy Senate President position in the Ninth Senate; which will be inaugurated next week.
Kalu was at the Presidential Villa, yesterday, to deliver a letter from President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, to President Muhammadu Buhari, and said he is the 56th senator to endorse Ahmad Lawan for the senate presidency.
The APC has reportedly zoned the five offices as follows: deputy senate president (South South); Leader (North Central); deputy leader (North West); Chief Whip (South East/South West) and Deputy Chief Whip (South West/South-East).
Asked where the deputy senate president should come from, the former Abia governor replied: “Well, I am going to be contesting on the floor of the senate. I am waiting for the party to zone and, if the party continues to hold it, and don’t zone it, I will contest on the floor of the house.
On his position on the selection of the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly, Kalu said: “I have already endorsed Ahmad Lawan for senate president.
“That is sacrosanct in my mind and I am appealing to other parties; let us have only one candidate in the senate, instead of going to drag about it.
“So, we are on course. On Sunday, when I returned from Venezuela, Lawan was with me in the house and I became the 56th APC senator to endorse him and signed.
“As I am talking to you, now, we are having two more people who are in Makkah, one senator from Katsina and the other from Lagos. Fifty eight senators are going to be signing in and we have the majority to make him, senate president.”
The former Abia governor also spoke on his contribution to the Ninth Assembly.
“Well, we are going to expect a lot of cooperation between the Legislature and the Executive and, I am sure, as most of you know very well, we are going to have bi-partisan support; not blind support in any way to the executive but we are going to have a very good working relationship, where we follow the rules of the house and the rules of the executive.”
Kalu also noted that president Buhari is quite experienced enough to know who to choose as ministers, to run the government with him, and that he would rather focus on the economy, as a lawmaker.
“The president has been a president before, as a military man and now, a civilian. He is very experienced to choose his ministers and I am not going to be working with them unless if there is any individual Mr. President wants me to advise on.
“If there is none, the president is very capable through our local party on who to appoint as a minister. I am very confident he will choose capable people. My interest is to rebuild the economy because the economy is part of the reasons why we are having security challenges.
“So, I will focus on things that will stimulate the economy, where the economy will be buoyant and people would see that the expansion of the economy is important to our society.”
He also explained why he was at the Presidential Villa.
“I came to see Mr. President and I acted as a special envoy. I delivered a letter from President Maduro of Venezuela to president Buhari. It was a very short one. I am sure, since he became president, I have never been to his office, this is the first time, I have always seen him in private; as a private citizen.”
Kalu had vowed, in March, to contest for the position of senate president; if the deputy senate president position was not ceded to the South East