Former Abia State Governor and Abia North Senator, Orji Uzor Kalu has declared that the southeast doesn’t have to present a consensus candidate before it can win the 2023 presidency in Nigeria.
The Senate Chief Whip pointed out that it is not uncommon for regions to have more than one candidate representing them in presidential elections.
Kalu made the submission on Friday in response to a position that the chances of the southeast to produce the nation’s next leader in 2023 may be scuttled if many candidates emerge from the region for the same position.
In his response, Kalu who spoke during an interview with Silverbird Television said presenting a single candidate is no guarantee of winning elections, going ahead to make reference to the 1999 presidential election in which the southwest had former President Olusegun Obasanjo (eventual winner), Chief Bola Ige and Chief Olu Falae all in the race.
He maintained that Igbo presidency is still achievable with multiple candidates from the region.
He said, “No region forges a common front and I have just given you an example. When Obasanjo ran for elections in 1999, Olu Falae, Bola Ige and three other Yoruba(men) were also contesting for the same presidency. Did that stop the emergence of a President from the South-West? So what are you talking about? It is the beauty of constitutional democracy, the more the merrier, people must contest and the people must choose who can do the job.
“That Orji Kalu came to contest and another Igboman comes out does not mean you won’t vote Orji Kalu. The beauty of democracy is in the ability to make a choice. That is why I initially told my friends (Tinubu, Umahi and Anyim) in the sitting room where we were eating that I won’t run but the beauty of it is that people later persuaded me to come and run because they know that I’m capable of doing the job.”
Kalu went ahead to boast of his potential to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, saying he is the right candidate with the potential and connections to lead the country though he is not desperate to become the next president of Nigeria.
“They know that I have the experience of the job. They know that I have local and international connections. They know I have an excellent understanding of the country. And when you look at me you see the face of Nigeria,” he declared.
Naija News reports that already, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, former CBN Deputy Governor, Prof Kingsley Moghalu are some aspirants from the region who have openly declared interest in the 2023 presidency.