The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Orji Kalu, has officially withdrawn from the 2023 presidential race and is throwing his weight behind the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Mr Kalu said this on Monday in a statement.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that a support group procured the N100 million APC presidential expression of interest and nomination forms for the Senate President.
The group procured the forms for him on Monday at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
The group has since presented the forms to Mr Lawan.
Mr Kalu had slammed presidential aspirants from other regions in the South for what he described as no respect for the South-east and disregard for equity and fairness in playing politics.
In his statement, the chief whip indicated his willingness to support the North-east which, according to him, has never produced the President of Nigeria.
“I congratulate my friend, former roommate and boss, Senator Ahmad Lawan as he picks form to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC). I am most glad because he is from the North-east, the only zone alongside South-east that is yet to produce President of Nigeria.
“I have always maintained an unambiguous stand that for justice, equity and fairness in our country, the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari should come from the South-east or the North-east.
“I have also told Nigerians that I would only run for president if the two major political parties (APC and PDP) zone their tickets to the South-east. That is why I was disappointed with our southern brothers, who are talking about fairness and equity but has zero tolerance for the same fairness and equity in the South.
“In the absence of a South Easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North-easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness and Justice everyone is talking about. It further means that the justice is on its way to the South-east,” he said.
He said since there is no zoning and the contest is open to all Nigerians, he has officially withdrawn from the presidential contest in 2023.
“I have also picked a ticket to run for Abia North Senatorial zone and to complete the good work I started in Abia North.”
“I urge all my friends, allies and supporters in the APC to toe the line of justice by supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, a North Easterner for the presidential ticket of the APC,” he said.
The lawmaker’s statement comes as dozens of members of his political party and the opposition PDP picked nomination forms to contest the primaries.
He has always shown an interest in running for the Office of the President in the 2023 general election.
There are aspirants from each of the six geopolitical zones in the country jostling to take over from Mr Buhari, a North-westerner who will conclude his second term in 2023.
Some of the aspirants are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC chieftain, Bola Tinubu and publisher, Dele Momodu and former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose.
From the South-south are Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
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