Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, has called on other Nigerians, particularly from the Northern region to also contest next year’s presidential election if the position is not zoned to the South-East.
Mr Kalu stated this on Tuesday, in a statement, while denying reports in some sections of the media that he has withdrawn from the race which has aspirants from the Northern and Southern regions.
While southern politicians are demanding power should return to the their region based on equity, those from South-West and South-South regions which have tested power since the return to democratic rule in 1999 have all rolled out their mercenaries seeking to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari who is from the Northern region.
Arguing that it is the turn of the South-East to produce Mr Buhari’s successor, Mr Kalu called for the zoning of the position to the Igbo predominant area.
The former Abia governor said if the position is not zoned to the South-East, based on equity, then politicians from other Southern part of the country have no moral right to demand for power shift, adding that everyone, regardless of their region, should contest for the position.
“If we are talking about equity, the presidential ticket should be zoned to the South-East being the only zone that has not tested power since 1999,” Mr Kalu requested. “We can’t have people from South- South and South-West running when we are talking about equity.
“Former president Goodluck Jonathan, was vice, and later president for six years. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo was president for eight years and Prof Yemi Osibanjo is going to be vice president for eight years again.
“So if there is anything called equity and justice, it should be support for the South-East and unless that support is given to us, every other zone in the country should contest for presidency in 2023 including people from Buhari’s village,” he said.
Speaking on the report of him withdrawing from the race, the Abia North lawmaker clarified that he only asked his brothers from the South-West and South-South regions to shelve their ambitions as it is the turn of the South-East.
“My stand is very clear, I didn’t drop my presidential ambition and I will never drop it,” he denied. “I only urged our brothers from the South-South and South-West geo-political zones who came out en masse to contest for the office of the president to drop their ambition and support us because of equity.”