The Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Orji Kalu, says the North East remains the only alternative to South East presidency.
Kalu, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, reaffirmed his support to the North East in the absence of the Presidency being zoned to the South East by political parties.
Kalu said his position was because no Igbo man loved the Igbo people than he does.
A foremost nationalist, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi, had criticised Kalu for seemingly abandoning the quest for South East presidency and throwing his weight behind Senate President Ahmed Lawan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kalu who had been advocating for a South East presidency in 2023, had also in January announced his personal interest in the office.
However, in a recent statement, the former governor of Abia said he decided to withdraw from the race since there was “no zoning in APC’’.
“I have known Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi for the past 30 years and I have great respect for him.
“However, I totally disagree with him and his opinion about my support for the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
“If we should stick to every of the expectations enumerated in the statement he allegedly signed, we would be making similar mistakes we made in the past.
“There is no Igbo man that loves Igbo people more than I do,’’ Kalu said.
Describing himself as a detribalised Nigerian, Kalu added that he remained a very realistic and optimistic Igbo man.
According to the former governor of Abia, people easily forgot the too many prices I have paid in defence of Ndigbo.
“Good politicians win elections before the elections take place and I genuinely want the South East to win.
“I expected that the president, after President Buhari, will emerge from the South East.
“That was why I was constantly urging all the political parties to be fair to every region of this country.
“The fairness which I talked about was about the South East and the North East, the two zones that are yet to produce the President of Nigeria.
“Unless the two parties zone their tickets to the South East, there is no fairness. I believe the zoning was the best means a South Easterner could become president,’’ Kalu said.
According to him, the South East supported the South West in 1999 and also supported the South South in 2011 and 2015.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo became President in 1999 because the South East and the South South supported the South West.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan became president in 2011 because the South East and the South West supported the South South.
“So, what stops South West and South South aspirants from withdrawing from the race to support only the South East aspirants?
“In my previous statements, I applauded a couple of South West and South South elders who extended their support to our region and also called on other regions to consider the South East for President.
“However, we cannot continue to rely on oral support and mere statements when what is needed most is practical action.
“And what is this action? persuading and stopping your sons and kinsmen to drop their presidential ambition for the South East. Anything less than that is hypocritical and we cannot fall for it again.
“If all we do is to rely on statements and speeches of elder statesmen without taking decisive steps, we would be left behind politically again and we don’t want that to happen.
“If I am right, let posterity applaud me, if I am wrong, let it judge me,’’ Kalu said.