…Says Dialogue with Yari on alliance ongoing
As the tussle for the 10th Senate Presidency intensifies, one of the contenders and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzo Kalu, on Tuesday in Abuja, insisted that he would not step down for any contestant for the apex legislative office.
Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists at the National Assembly Complex on whether or not he would step down for the preferred candidates of the ruling party, also revealed that he and Abdulazeez Yari had formed an alliance, towards winning the race.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had three weeks ago, endorsed Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin as the next President of the Senate and Deputy Deputy President of the Senate respectively.
Kalu hinted that the outcome of his alliance with Yari would be unveiled in no distant time, stressing that the aim of their partnership was to promote the independence of the Legislature so that the 10th Senate could effectively work for Nigerians.
His words: “Well I cannot step down for anybody. Yes, you are right. We are talking with Yari; our group and his people are talking.
“We are in intimate partnership and talk to make sure that no one zone can produce a Senate President. I used to tell you, no one zone can produce a President for Nigeria.
“It’s the same thing. What we are trying to play with Senator Yari is a united partnership that works for Nigeria.
“So, in the coming days, the partnership will be unveiled. You will see what the partnership looks like. We are in serious talks.
“Yes, I cannot deny it… Yari is a friend of mine and I’m his friend, and we decided to talk together. We have been talking for the past four weeks and those talks will be unveiled by our sponsors.
“He has his sponsors and I have my sponsors. So the sponsors will come together to decide what direction this partnership will be.
“I will be very happy to follow what the sponsors will say and Yari also will be happy to follow what the sponsors want us to do. We are only thinking of the integrity of the Senate and supporting President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima who are our colleagues.”
Kalu noted that what happened during the Saraki era would not be allowed to happen in the coming dispensation, saying: “If you Press people are thinking that what happened during Saraki will happen, it will never happen again in Nigerian political life. Remember we cited a section of the law that there must be a two-thirds quorum of the Senators before you are sworn in.
“With one section or few people going to sit somewhere and make a Senate President is no longer functional. What is functionable is all of us will sit together. We will vote for those people.
“It’s a game; it’s a contest, we will be able to congratulate whoever wins. If we win, let people be able to congratulate us. If other people win, we will be able to congratulate them.
“They are our colleagues. We will work together in the next four years in the Chamber. We are not enemies, it’s a contest.”
On who will become the President of the Senate and the Deputy between him and Yari, the Chief Whip said that it was not yet clear who would stand for which office, calling for patience amongst his fans till when they would unveil their resolutions.
He said: “We have very strong sponsors and we will unveil it on June 13. We are not going to disappoint Nigerians, we are capable of representing ourselves, Yari-Kalu, Kalu-Yari. We will not disappoint Nigerians. We will give Nigerians what they want. And we will support the Federal Government and the Nigerian people will not be disappointed.
“It’s what we don’t know now. This is why it is coming out in the coming days. We are not greedy about it. We are going to face reality. We are going to get a support base. It is not going to be a problem.
“The most important thing is to have an independent Legislature that will represent the interest of Nigerians and represent also, the interest of our colleagues.
The lawmaker expressed joy over the peaceful transition to another administration in Nigeria, urging President Bola Tinubu to look critically into the issue of abandoned projects with a view to addressing it while also calling on him to transform the nation’s ailing Security architecture.
He particularly asked the President to consider scrapping some establishments of government that are no longer viable, pointing out that there was no reason for the existence of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs when the Niger Delta Development Commission could do the same work being handled by the Ministry.
“I’m excited to see Tinubu and all people of goodwill in Nigeria too are happy for Nigeria. Those days of stealing public funds are gone. We are planning and ready to return this country to the Nigerian people because the country must be returned to the people and the people must see their work because people who are coming in, thinking to steal money, those days are over. Our focus should be what Nigerian people will get out of us.
“It was a beautiful transition. I’m very excited that Nigeria is transiting from one civilian to another without rancour and I’m expecting Tinubu to look into all the abandoned projects like the Ajaokuta Steel mill, and Jos rolling mills. These are the source of our debts. Abandoned projects are what is taking out debt servicing.
“Secondly, I will like Tinubu to step on security and some of the ministries and parastatals that are no longer viable like the Ministry of Nigeria Delta. Some of those ministries are not viable. We have the NDDC like we have the North East Development Commission.
“So, the Ministry of Niger Delta should be scrapped, and reposition the NDDC to report directly to the President which is what is in the Act. In the Act there is nowhere they say NDDC will report to the Ministry of Nigeria Delta. They should allow the Commission as a Commission to be able to function purely as a Commission.”