By Lawrence Olaoye
Former Governor of Abia State and a Senator-elect Orji Kalu yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa where, in an interaction with newsmen, he insisted on contesting for the Deputy Senate President position during the inauguration of the Ninth Senate.
Asked about his mission to the Billa, Kalu said “It was a very brief one. I am sure since he became President, I have never been to his office, and this is the first time, I have always seen him in private as a private citizen. I have come to see Mr. President, and I acted like a special envoy now. I delivered a letter from President (Nicholas) Maduro of Venezuela to President Buhari.
According to him, he was waiting patiently on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone to the position of Deputy Senate President but will contest on the floor if they fail to do so.
He said, “Well, I am going to be contesting on the floor of the senate. I am waiting for the part to zone, and if the party continues to hold it, and don’t zone it, I will contest on the floor of the house.”
Commenting on support for the election of the next Senate President, Kalu said he had since thrown his weight behind the emergence of the candidacy of Ahmed Lawan.
He said fifty-six senators have already appended their signatures in support for Lawan while two others who are presently in Mecca were being awaited to lend their support.
“I have already endorsed Ahmed Lawan as the senate president. That is sacrosanct in my mind, and I am appealing to the other parties, let us have only one candidate in the Senate instead of going to drag about.
So, we are on course, yesterday, when I returned from Venezuela, Ahmed Lawan was with me in the house, and I became the fifty-six APC Senator to endorse him and signed.
“As I am talking to you now we are having two more people who are in Mecca, one senator from Katsina and the other from Lagos. It is fifty-eight senators that are going to be signing in, and we have the majority to make him Senate president,” he noted.
The former Abia State governor who also spoke on what will be his modest contribution in the Senate said, he expected a cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive.
He further explained that the support of the lawmakers to the executive would not be a blind one.
“Well, we are going to expect a lot of cooperation between the legislature and the executive and I am sure as most of you know very well, we are going to do bi-partisan support. Not a blind support in any way to the executive but we are going to have an excellent working relationship, where we follow the rules of the house and the rules of the executive,” he said.
Asked if he has any advice for President Buhari on the calibre of people to select as ministers in the next administration, Kalu said the President was experienced enough to make a good choice.
He said, “The President has been a president before, as a military man and now a civilian. He is very experienced to choose his ministers, and I am not going to be working with them unless if there is any individual Mr. President wants a piece of advice on.
“If there is no any, the President is very capable through our local party on who to appoint as a minister. I am excited he will choose capable people. My interest is to rebuild the economy because the economy is part of the reasons why we are having security challenges.
“So, I will focus on things that will put stimulus to the economy, where the economy will be buoyant, and people would see that the expansion of the economy is important to our society” he noted.