Orji Kalu, senate chief whip, says Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano, stands to benefit if the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fail to field 2023 presidential candidates from the south-east and north-east.
Less than two months ago, Kwankwaso dumped PDP to join the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). The development came a few weeks after Abba Yusuf, his son-in-law, left the main opposition party to join NNPP.
Kwankwaso, who is Kalu’s counterpart in the senate, had subsequently declared his intention to run for president in 2023.
Reacting to the growing political appeal of NNPP, Kalu said the high profile defections to the party should be of concern to PDP and APC.
“The recent high profile defections to the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, especially in the north-west geo-political zone should not be taken for granted by our great party, the All Progressives Congress ( APC),” he said.
“I’m using this opportunity to reiterate my earlier position that the presidency should go [to] north-east if it can’t be conceded to the south-east for equity and fairness.
“The silent majority who have a working conscience could protest this injustice by supporting Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso to clinch the presidential seat in 2023 if our party, the APC, and the opposition PDP field their candidates from any other zone aside south-east or north-east.
“It is time to unite and rally around a zone that has not produced the nation’s president since the rotation convention dispensation that began in 1999.”
In an earlier statement posted on Facebook on Thursday, Kalu said neither of the two zones has produced the country’s president since 1999 despite the abundance of “capable” hands.
The former Abia governor argued that for the sake of fairness and equity, both zones, above all others, deserve to produce the next president.
“If there is any zone that understands the pains of south-eastern Nigeria for being shut out of the presidential seat, it is its counterpart, the north-east. The two zones remain the only zones that are yet to produce a president despite having the most capable hands to govern the country,” he wrote.
“I believe in regional zoning and I will continue to repeat it as long as the issue of ‘equity, fairness and justice’ is concerned. My reason is not only because it worked in 1999 where all the parties zoned their presidential tickets to the south-west, but because it is the only true definition of fairness and equity.”
On May 9, Kalu withdrew from the 2023 presidential race, throwing his weight behind Ahmed Lawan, the senate president, for the apex seat.
Lawan is from Yobe, one of the six states from the north-east.