Former governor of Abia State and current Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has commended an elder statesman, Edwin Clerk, over his support for a president of Igbo extraction in 2023, but said such support would amount to nothing because the South-East cannot get the ticket of any of the major political parties.
According to him, the South-East can only get the ticket with a gentleman’s agreement but not in an open contest as it is today.
In a statement he personally signed and shared on his Facebook wall in response to Clark’s accusation that he betrayed the South-East by openly supporting the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Kalu said: “I want to sincerely commend him for openly supporting the South-East geopolitical zone to produce the next President of Nigeria.
“It is imperative I remind him that I didn’t betray my people, rather I am doing my best to reintegrate them into mainstream politics.
“In the last two years, I have been at the forefront agitating for a Nigerian President of South-East extraction, when most of them were all saying ‘Southern Presidency.’
“I was shocked that even the zone the entire South-East supported in unity including myself in 2011 and 2015 respectively, has the highest number of contestants without thinking of their brothers, knowing full well that the South-East zone has remained the only zone in Southern Nigeria that has not produced the nation’s president since the rotation convention dispensation that began in 1999.
“Coming to this late hour to support the South-East is rather suspicious to me if they couldn’t do it two years ago. The truth is, Chief Edwin Clark, knows the South-East cannot get the ticket of any party in an open contest as it is today without a gentleman’s agreement to concede it to the South-East.”
He further said that a number of the members of the Peoples Democratic Party were secretly supporting a candidate from the North-East so that the South-East might produce the next president in eight years’ time instead of waiting for 16 years.
“It is rather surprising to me that Chief Edwin Clark didn’t call the majority of other Southerners including governors working against the South-East to order or the names he called me.
“What did you say or do when all the aspirants from the South-South and South-West were buying forms to run against South-Easterners who have always supported them.
“I know some people want us to keep quiet and then allow other Southerners to take the turn of the South-East. If you meant well for the South-East, you could have discouraged other aspirants from running for President. Nothing stops the South from supporting only presidential aspirants from the South-East. The betrayers are those who don’t care about the South-East. We are wiser,” he added.