Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has pushed back the betrayal tag hunged on him by former Information Minister, Edwin Clark.
Mr Clark had on Wednesday described Mr Kalu as a betrayer for withdrawing from next year’s presidential race and supporting Senate President Ahmad Lawan, a Northerner at a times calls for power shift to the South is rife.
Responding in a statement on Thursday, the lawmaker rejected the betrayal tag, saying it fits the elderstatesman, judging by his actions.
The full statement is reproduced below.
Edwin Clark: You And Others Betrayed South East, We Are Only Wiser
I have great respect for Chief Edwin Clark; He is an elderstatesman and a patriotic Nigerian. I want to sincerely commend him for openly supporting the South-East geo-political zone to produce the next President of Nigeria.
It is imperative I remind him that I didn’t betray my people, rather I am doing my best to reintegrate them into mainstream politics.
In the last two years, I have been at the forefront agitating for a Nigerian President of South-East extraction, when most of them were all saying “Southern Presidency”. None of these actors openly said the South-East geo-political zone should have it. I was shocked that even the zone the entire South-East supported in unity including myself in 2011 and 2015 respectively, has the highest number of contestants without thinking of their brothers, knowing fully well that the South East zone has remained the only zone in Southern Nigeria that has not produced the nation’s president since the rotation convention dispensation that began in 1999.
Coming to this late hour to support the South East is rather suspicious to me if they couldn’t do it two years ago. The truth is, Chief Edwin Clark knows the South-East cannot get the ticket of any party in an open contest as it is today without a gentleman agreement to concede it to the South-East.
If all the aspirants from the South-West and South-South cannot support their brothers from the South-East, It is only politically correct to support the North-East geo-political zone, which to me is the shortest route for the South-East geo-political zone to produce the president after their 8 years instead of waiting for another 16 years.
It is rather surprising to me that Chief Edwin Clark didn’t call the majority of other Southerners including governors working against the South-East to order or the names he called me.
What did you say or do when all the aspirants from South South and South West were buying forms to run against South Easterners who have always supported them .
I know some people want us to keep quiet and then allow other Southerners take turn of South East. If you meant well for the South East , you could have discouraged other aspirants against running for President. Nothing stops the South supporting only presidential aspirants from the South East . The betrayers are those who don’t care about South East . We are wiser.
Let me also inform the elderstatesman that majority of the Southerners in his party (PDP) are secretly supporting a Northeasterner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
The welfare of my people is a passion that is driving me, I am not doing anything to advance my personal interest or seek personal glorification. I also lost my businesses fighting for the political interest of the Igbos. I cannot betray them now if I didn’t do it yesterday.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, MON
Chief Whip of the 9th Senate
Federal Republic of Nigeria