From Kenneth Udeh, Ohafia
Chief Whip of the 9th Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, emerged victorious at the All Progressives Congress senatorial primary election held on Saturday after securing all the 777 votes cast by members of the party who participated in the exercise.
In accordance with the directive of the National Headquarters of the party, the Abia-North APC adopted the indirect primary mode and was presided over by the Chairman party’s primary election committee, Hon Paul Uche.
The election commenced at about 11:55am with accreditation of party members drawn from the five local government areas of the zone. Shortly after accreditation, a notice of the withdrawal of two aspirants Fabian Nwankwo and Ijeagu Emeaba was announced by the party’s primary presiding officer.
Making the announcement on behalf of Fabian Okonkwo, who was also physically present and his counterpart, Ijeagu, the primary committee Chairman disclosed that their decision hinged on the need to encourage the prosperity and unity of the APC in Abia North and Abia state.
Affirming Paul’s statement, Fabian who also spoke, said they were not induced or forced to take the decision but out of their own willingness in the overall Interest of the party and the people.
Shortly after the declaration Uche announced the number of accredited party members according to their local government areas; Arochukwu 236, Bende 178, Isuikwuato 112; Umunneochi 116 and Ohafia 135 making a total of 777 voters.
Commencing at 12:02 pm, the party faithful queued in line with their respective local government areas and were counted, the voting operation began at 12:29 pm lasted till 1:45pm and the result subsequently announced with Senator Kalu garnering all the 777 total number of votes cast.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was afterwards declared winner to the visibly elated party faithful who were obviously pleased with the outcome of the exercise.
The election was conducted under the supervision of the Independent National Electoral (INEC), and monitored by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the Department of State Service (DSS), and Nigerian Civil Defence Corps (NCDC) and other related security agencies.
Rendering his acceptance and appreciation remarks, Kalu, who recently stepped down from the 2023 Presidential contest, conveyed his gratitude to members of the party for voting for him.
He also thanked Fabian and Ijeagu for shelving their ambitions to support him.
The former governor, who also dedicated his victory to God, urged the members of the party to focus on working towards winning the general elections.
He said: “I accept this victory to the glory of God and for the good people of Abia North. Now is the time to face the bigger business of winning the general elections not just for my seat but for other positions for our great Party.
Responding to questions on issues bedeviling the party, Kalu dismissed insinuations that he belonged to any faction, while expressing shock at being listed among those aligning with a particular faction.
He said that he can never belong to any faction, stressing that his position at the Senate requires him to promote unity and harmony in the party at the state and national level.
“I am the Senate Chief Whip, appointed by the party and my duty is to stabilise and ensure harmony in the party. So I cannot belong to any faction. In fact, I was surprised when I saw my name listed among those that belong to a particular faction. I don’t believe we have any faction because I can never fictionalise the party,” Kalu emphasised.
With over 60 new community roads, water boreholes projects, construction and reconstruction of schools and hospitals, skill empowerment and 35 notable legislative bills to his credit, Kalu a first time senator, is expected to build on his achievements in his second term in due course of his emergence in the 2023 general election.
Speaking on his intentions when eventually elected, Kalu said he’ll facilitate industrialisation of his constituency, encourage agriculture, facilitate additional road projects, construct and equip more building infrastructure as well as sponsor more life-impacting bills at the Senate.
Also speaking, Hon Benjamin Kalu who also participated in the exercise congratulated Orji Kalu, saying that he was delighted with his emergence as the party’s standard bearer in the senatorial election slated for next year.
According to the spokesman of the House of Representatives, his support is not because Kalu is his political leader but because the Senate Chief Whip was the right candidate for the job.
Following the development Senator Kalu will square off with former Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the People’s Democratic Party at general election slated for next year 2023.
Ohuabunwa, who was defeated by Kalu during the 2019 senatorial elections, is seeking to return to the Senate.