By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Former governor of Abia State and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said he may withdraw from the 2023 presidential race if political parties don’t zone their tickets to the South East.
In recent weeks, stakeholders in the South East have asked the two major political parties in the country — the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — to zone their presidential tickets to the region.
Kalu had in January declared his intention to contest the presidency in 2023 if the APC zoned its ticket to the South.
However, the former Abia State Governor, in a statement on Tuesday, said he is “shocked” by the number of presidential aspirants from the South West and South South, adding that it is “hypocritical” not to support the South East for the presidency in 2023.
“The situation in Nigeria is that without the support of other regions, it would amount to a shadow chase for a South Easterner to be president.
“This is the reason I have been in the frontline of the call that the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should zone their presidential tickets to the South East as they did for the South West in 1999.
“In the absence of this zoning, I shall return to the Senate and stay away from the presidential contest. The reality is that the North is more advantageous to win elections in this democratic setting.
“I am even shocked with the number of aspirants coming from the South West and the South South. It is embarrassing that these aspirants (APC and PDP) have no single respect and concern for the South East.
“I had thought they would think about the South East. I thought they would support us. The amount of money being spent by these aspirants is alarming and they have forgotten that money alone cannot buy the presidency.
“It has become a joke to an ordinary Nigerian who hears Southern commentators and aspirants rooting for a Southern president on the premise of fairness, equity and justice.
“How can you talk about these morals when you are not even fair to your own brothers? If there is anything like “fairness”, “equity” and “justice”, it should be the entire South pushing for a president of South East extraction.
“Anything less than that is “hypocritical”, “unjustifiable”and “inordinate”. Some ‘persons’ are even claiming God’s anointed choice in 2023 . Unfortunately, it is not all prayers that God answers; at least not inordinate ones.
“What moral justification does a Southerner who refused to be fair to his brothers have against a Northerner running for president? It will be very insensitive, unreasonable and disrespectful for any Southern man to criticise a presidential aspirant from the north on the ground that the North has done eight years and power should return to the South,” Kalu said.