Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Senator-elect and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has endorsed the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the position of Speaker, House of Representatives.
Kalu made the endorsement, yesterday, in Abuja, saying Gbajabiamila was not a candidate of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but the choice of President Muhammadu Buhari and the candidate of Nigerians.
His endorsement of Gbajabiamila followed a similar one by the candidature of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan for the position of Senate President last weekend.
Gbajabiamila was accompanied to the Abuja residence of Kalu by Deputy House Leader, Mohammed Idris Wase, an aspirant for the position of deputy speaker, the Director-General of the Gbajabiamila Campaign Organisation, Abdulmumin Jubrin, James Faleke and others. Also in attendance were the presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina and the member-elect, Bende Federal Constituency, Benjamin Kalu.
Kalu said there was no doubt that people have been blackmailing Gbajabiamila over his endorsement, saying that President Buhari had spoken to party faithful collectively and individually about his choice.
Kalu stated people were making a mistake by saying that Gbajabiamila was Tinubu’s candidate, adding that he was endorsed by President Buhari who is the Commander-in-Chief and President of Nigeria.
“You are not Tinubu’s candidate. It is a mistake. You were endorsed by the Commander-in-Chief and President of Nigeria. He told us in the open; he told all members of the House of Representatives and he also told all senators. And apart from that, on Monday, I had a private session with Mr. President. I asked him again, what are we doing? He said listen, only two people I want there. You people can take every other thing. And this is the truth. I am quoting him correctly.
“He said, I only asked them to give me Lawan and Femi because I see them defending the interest of the party; both of them.
“So, if Mr President said so, you are not a candidate of Governor Tinubu. No, it is not true. You are a candidate of APC and a bipartisan candidate. You are a candidate of every party that is represented in the National Assembly,” Kalu said.
“You have been endorsed by Mr President, you have been endorsed by the National Working Committee of our party, you have been endorsed by progressive governors, you have been endorsed by all levels of our political party and I have no regret, and I am not thinking otherwise in endorsing you as a person and endorsing you from our region,” Kalu said.
He added that there was no alternative to Gbajabiamila, saying that the party needed to cooperate as one big family to support President Buhari with the Next Level Agenda and in rebuilding the economy.
“We need to cooperate in giving our people economic prosperity. That is what we are looking for. You are like the first son of all of us – the first son of Buhari, the first son of Tinubu. Tinubu just joined the way I am joining because it is the president’s choice. Because you are from Lagos State, they said he brought you. It is not true,” Kalu maintained.
Gbajabiamila thanked Kalu for receiving him and assured that when elected, he will be speaker for all.
He said he was not taking anything for granted as far as the election was concerned, adding that was why he was reaching out to all concerned, including the opposition. Gbajabiamila further said he was reaching out because he understood the importance and significance of the seat of the Speaker, which is for everybody and not for a party, not for a part of the country, but for the entire nation.
“And it was important for us to touch everywhere. And we are here today to meet with our leader, somebody who we have always admired, a nationalist per excellence, to seek his support and his blessing. And we are absolutely gratified that he wasted no time, even before coming, that he wasted no time in letting us know that he was 100 percent with us and we are grateful for that,” Gbajabiamila said.