Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator-elect, Dr Orji Uzor-Kalu has said he will contest the Deputy Senate presidency in the 9th Assembly.
Kalu who was in the Presidential Villa to deliver a letter from President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela to President Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed that he was the 56th senator to endorse Ahmed Lawan for the Senate Presidency.
The APC is reported to have zoned the five offices as follows: Deputy Senate President (South-South); Senate Leader (North-Central); Deputy Senate 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 said: “Well, I am going to contest on the floor of the Senate. I am waiting for the party to zone (the offices) and if the party continues to hold it, and don’t zone it, I will contest on the floor of the House.”
While expressing his thought on the selection of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, Kalu said: “I have already endorsed Ahmed Lawan as the Senate President. That is sacrosanct in my mind and I am appealing to the other parties, let us have only one candidate in the Senate instead of going to drag for it. So, we are on course.
“Yesterday (Sunday), when I returned from Venezuela, Ahmed Lawan was with me in the house and I became the 56th APC senator to endorse him. As I am talking to you now, we are having two more people who are in Mecca, one senator from Katsina and the other from Lagos. Fifty eight senators are going to sign in and we have the majority to make him Senate President.”
Looking forward to what his contribution in the 9th National Assembly will be, Kanu said: “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 do bi-partisan support – not a blind support in any way to the executive, but we are going to have a very good working relationship; we will follow the rules of the House and the rules of the executive.”
Asked to say if he would be advising President Buhari on how he would select his ministers from the South East, Kanu said: “The President has been a president before – as a military man and now a civilian president. He is very experienced to choose his ministers and I am not going to be working with them unless there is any individual Mr. President wants me to advise on. If there is none, the president is very capable – with the help of our party – of knowing who to appoint as his 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 put stimulus to the economy. We want to see the economy buoyant and people would see that the expansion of the economy is important to our society.”
On why he was in the Presidential Villa, the APC chieftain said: “I have come to see Mr. President; I acted like 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.”