▪︎ Says Clark and others betrayed South East first
Former Abia State Governor Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on Thursday replied Chief Edwin Clark over his outburst when he described him as a traitor for chickening out of the Presidential race and declaring support for the President of the Senate, a northerner.
Elder statesman and former Federal Information Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark, had taken Kalu to the cleaners, describing him as a “traitor”.
While accusing him of betraying the Igbo cause, the nonagenarian said that although Kalu was one of the oldest vocal frontline politicians in the South-East, he doubted his sincerity and transparency.
Clark, therefore, called on South-East leaders to “sanction any of their sons or daughters trying to betray them, otherwise, your case will be jeopardised from your home.”
He said it was surprising that Kalu did not only drop his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election but also declared his support for the presidential ambition of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State in North East “on puerile and misinformed reasons that only South-East and North-East has not produced civilian Head of State in Nigeria.”
In a swift reaction Kalu who is the Chief Whip of the Senate said it was the likes of Clark and others who betrayed South East, saying they are only being wiser now.
His reaction was contained in a statement that he personally signed and was made available to the (journalists).
The statement reads in part: “I have great respect for Chief Edwin Clark; He is an elderstatesman and a patriotic Nigerian. I want to sincerely commend him for openly supporting the South-East geo-political 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”. None of these actors openly said the South-East geo-political zone should have it.
“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 fully 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.”
He said for the elder statesman to be coming at this late hour to support the South-East is rather suspicious for him 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.
“If all the aspirants from the South-West and South-South cannot support their brothers from the South-East, It is only politically correct to support the North-East geo-political zone, which to me is the shortest route for the South-East geo-political zone to produce the president after their 8 years instead of waiting for another 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 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 take turn of South East.
“If you meant well for the South-East , you could have discouraged other aspirants against running for President. Nothing stops the South supporting only presidential aspirants from the South East. The betrayers are those who don’t care about South-East. We are wiser.”
According to him, majority of the Southerners in his party are secretly supporting a North-Easterner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The welfare of my people is a passion that is driving me, I am not doing anything to advance my personal interest or seek personal glorification.
“I also lost my businesses fighting for the political interest of the Igbos. I cannot betray them now if I didn’t do it yesterday.”
▪︎ By National Update