A leading contender in the race for the position of Deputy Senate President in the 9th Assembly, Dr. Orji Kalu, has debunked insinuations that he has withdrawn from the contest.
The Senator-elect representing Abia North Senatorial Zone, in a statement on Monday, made the clarification saying that he is still in the race contrary to speculations in some quarters that his party’s National Working Committee (NWC) has formally endorsed Senator Ovie Omo-Agege after wide consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders.
The National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Onilu, had on Monday morning issued a statement that the National Working Committee has formally adopted Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the party’s candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President, however, Kalu, who had some days ago met behind closed doors with President Buhari disclosed that the President only adopted the candidacies of the duo of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, while noting that anyone is free to contest for other principal positions.
In a statement issued by his media office on Monday and signed by Ken Cole, the former governor stressed that as a staunch supporter of President Buhari and a loyal and committed member of the APC, he (Kalu) would always abide by the decisions of the President and highly respected members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
He, however, said the speculation of the formal endorsement of Omo-Agege was the handiwork of selfish elements in the party who ware self-serving and desperate to cause disharmony among party stakeholders.
Kalu said, Ahead of tomorrows inauguration of the 9th national assembly and election of principal officers, politicians have started deploying different antics to satisfy their ambitions.
One of such is a statement credited to National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Onilu claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari and the NWC of the party have formally adopted Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the partys candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President.
I hold the President in high esteem as well as the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other members of the NWC and as such, I will not disobey any formal pronouncement by them.
However, I am still in the race to become Deputy Senate President because the President and the NWC have not adopted any candidate and as such the contest is open to all members of the party, who have the capability.
I have the political dexterity, leadership qualities, and goodwill to complement the efforts of the Senate President in actualizing the objectives of the legislature in support the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in taking Nigeria to greater heights.
Leadership positions in the 9th Senate should be given to people who have the will to support the agenda of the APC while not deviating from the ideals of democracy.
As I continue to mobilize support for the position of Deputy Senate President, I commend the President, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other stakeholders of the party for their support.
Come tomorrow by the special grace of God and to the admiration of APC members and Nigerians at large, I will emerge as Deputy Senate President in the 9th national assembly.
Kalu while appealing to the leadership of the APC to give a level playing ground for all contenders for the position of Deputy Senate President, who are APC members, maintained that he (Kalu) is still in the race except otherwise advised by the President or the party’s highest decision-making body.