Deputy Senate Presidency: Abia leaders reject Orji Kalu’s aspiration
By Adekunle Adebayo, Abuja
Less than 48 hours to inauguration of leadership positions in the Ninth Assembly, political leaders in Abia State have kicked against the aspiration of former governor of the State, Orji Uzor Kalu to become deputy Senate President.
The political leaders including Human Rights Lawyers, under the auspices of Concerned Abia Leaders, at a Press briefing in Abuja on Sunday premised their decisions upon the corruption allegations dangling on his neck.
The group, speaking through its National coordinator, Uche Okoroafor maintained that though, the position is meant for South East, but it will mobilise with full force for other South East Senator jostling for the position other than Kalu who is being tried for N7.65bn fraud by the anti-graft agency.
It would be recalled that former Abia State governor, who was elected Senator to represent Abia North during February 23 elections on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) had vowed to contest the position whether his party zones to South East or not.
SAHEL STANDARD had earlier reported that the position of deputy Senate President has been zoned to South South by the APC, where it endorsed Senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege.
However, Kalu at different fora said he had the backing of different groups in the Senate and across the country to become deputy Senate President in the ninth Assembly.
But dismissing Kalu’s claim, Okoroafor described Kalu’s ambition as a “joke taken too far”, saying Nigerians and Senators-elect “should not be deceived by faceless groups” who endorsed Abia senator last week.
“Our attention has been drawn to the scandalous ambition of the former governor of Abia state, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and his purported endorsement by some faceless and rented groups for the office of deputy Senate president of the 9th Senate.
“Ordinarily we would have ignored this prison-bound former governor, knowing his notorious antecedents, but for the sponsored publicity, this “dead on arrival” project has attracted so far.
“We see his ambition as another jokes taken too far and we make bold to ask our most respected senators-elect to reject this former governor and his scandalous ambition in order to save the 9th Senate from another controversial beginning,” Okoroafor said.
The group alleged Kalu that he has already doled out huge amount of money (Dollars) to prosecute his ambition, calling on other senators to be wary of what can drag ninth Senate backward.
It stated, “The office of the deputy Senate president is not for sale, and cannot be handed over to a person or persons with dubious intentions, God forbid!
“The time to save the Senate from a scandalous beginning is now. The revered office of the deputy president of the Senate should not go for the highest bidder as in the thinking of the former governor. It’s a job for sound mind and patriotic leaders without blemish.
“We expected the former governor to be more concerned with his celebrated N7.6Billion fraud charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and prepare himself to join his Plateau state counterpart senator, Joshua Dariye in Kuje prison.
“Our own former governor Kalu whose own crime is more monumental, is busy renting more groups and persons to sing his endorsement for the post of the deputy Senate president. Only last week, a cross section of rented Arewa youth was reported to have endorsed him for the job.
“The former governor was alleged to have dole out several billions on naira in the execution of this project. The former governor has never hidden his desperate desire to grab this job and he’s desperately doing it in his own way as he boldly said in a recent outburst.
“We ask our distinguished senators-elect to shine their eyes. We cannot afford to make another mistake that will drag the name of the Senate to the mud. We want to also use this medium to advice the people of Abia North, Abia state, and indeed the national Assembly to be wise and say no to a notorious fraudster.”