Why I am now running for president – Orji Kalu
Senator Orji Kalu, the Senate’s Chief Whip, said he decided to run for the office of president after leaders from the six geopolitical zones approached him.
This comes after he revealed that he had previously told other presidential candidates, including former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu, former Senate President Pius Anyim, and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, that he would not run.
Kalu, in an interview with Silverbird Television on Friday which was monitored by The Guardian, said the leaders cited his capability and experience, adding that he changed his mind about not contesting after due consultations and a request from prominent national elders to participate.
He expressed confidence in his ability and experience to turn around the country’s economy and combat insecurity.
“I didn’t want to join this contest before. When I met with Senator Tinubu, I told him I was not running. When I met with Governor Umahi, I told him I was not running. When I also met with Senator Pius Anyim, I told him I wasn’t contesting. A couple of days after my discussion with them, elders from the West, elders from the North, the South-East and Niger Delta came to see me on the 5th of January and I also went to see a couple of them,” he said.
“I flew from my village to tour some places and I met with them in the North, West and somewhere in Lagos and Warri and I returned on the 8th back to Igbere, my home town, and also met with the elders of my community and they said that it’s a possibility. And that is why I have not gone back to tell these people who I initially told that I will not run that I am now going to run. I will still have a meeting with them and tell them formally that I am going to run for president.”
In response to media reports that he had attacked Tinubu, Kalu stated that the two have a deep friendship and that the former Lagos governor’s presidential ambitions do not threaten his own.
“Tinubu is not a threat to my ambition and I am not a threat to his ambition. We are very close friends and our friendship is deep-rooted. When I and my wife went back to Abia as governor, nobody was occupying my house in Victoria Island, Lagos. So my children were in school at that time and some were schooling at Corona Schools while one was in French International School in 1998 and they were living with Senator Oluremi Tinubu. So we are like a family and politics cannot separate us,” he said.
“In 2003, when Tinubu was seeking re-election and I saw that he was lagging behind, I assisted him and it’s part of what caused my problem with former President (Olusegun) Obasanjo. So we’re a family and we cannot quarrel because of politics. He might have his idea on how to do it and I might have my own idea on how to do it. But all I know is that if we meet at Eagle Square I will give a very good account of myself.”