Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Senator-elect and former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has endorsed the candidature of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, for the position of the Senate President of the 9th Senate.
Kalu who traced his relationship with Lawan back to their days in school as roommates in the University of Maiduguri, urged Lawan to lead the 9th Senate well.
Kalu further said having lived with Lawan in the same room for more than a year, he saw nothing bad in endorsing his ambition to become the President of the Senate.
“Honestly, I don’t see why I should leave Lawan. You know many years ago, he was my roommate in the University of Maiduguri and we lived in the same room for almost one and half years and I don’t see why I will not go with him,” Kalu said.
Kalu further said aside from his endorsement of Lawan, the Senate Leader is also the choice of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“All our governors that are very vibrant are also endorsing him. The Progressive Governors’ Forum has endorsed him, so who am I? I am just one of the senators from Abia State. So, I am sure all our ministers have also endorsed him.
“My advice to him is to lead well and remember the senators. If there is a disagreement between the Senate and anybody, the Senate must take precedent. And this is what I expect him to do and the Senate is a sacred place.
“So, he should handle his colleagues very well and know that his colleagues are his colleagues. We have no problem by saying that we support him and this is sincerely from our hearts. The ministers of the South East have advised me also that I should come openly and support him,” Kalu added.
Regarding the duo of senators Danjuma Goje and Ali Ndume who are also in the race, Kalu urged them to return to the discussion table as a family.
“My advice is that they should come back and let us discuss as a family. It is only one person that will be Senate President,” Kalu added.
Kalu, a member of the House of Representatives during the Third Republic, further said as the oldest member of the National Assembly in the 9th Senate, he would be the doyen of the Senate.
“I am going to be the oldest member. Not by age, by sitting in the National Assembly which Senator Jubril Barau just reminded me now, because I was in the House of Reps before them. If people like Senator Kwankwaso were coming back, it would have been a different case. In 1991, I was a member of the National Assembly.
“So, I am going to be the doyen of the Senate. The only person we have that could have competed with me is in the House of Representatives; he is the Chief Whip of the House of Reps now – Alhassan Donguwa. Since he is not in the Senate, I am the doyen of the National Assembly. So, they must listen to me; they must also respect me as the oldest person who has been there before all of them,” Kalu also said.
On his recent trip to Venezuela, Kalu reiterated that it was purely on his peace- advocacy moves and not a business trip as was insinuated in some quarters.
“I have told you people the true story at the airport. The world needs peace. What took me to Venezuela is very simple. I have talked with our programme partners all over the world. If it were Bill Gates that went to Venezuela, will it be news? It is news because I have gone, and I am a politician and a businessman. He is also a businessman, but nobody could have said he went to cut oil deal,” Kalu stated.
Kalu reiterated that as the Promoter and Founder of the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he was simply in Venezuela to promote peace.
He added that in no distant time, the peace move would involve world leaders, particularly Russian and Chinese leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure peace in Venezuela.
Also speaking, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, said the entire South East APC was behind the ambition of Senator Lawan.
Ngige further said a committee had been set up after its meeting in Enugu to ensure that the South East had a fair share in the principal officers of the Senate.