Former Abia State Governor and now Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu has declared that the only option left for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is to go for a Muslim Muslim ticket.
There have been debates over who Tinubu and the APC should field as the running mate in the 2023 presidential election.
But Kalu, whose preferred presidential aspirant Ahmad Lawan, lost during the APC primaries said Tinubu, a minority Muslim from the south cannot afford to pick a minority Christian from the North as running mate.
“But you can also play Christian Christian tickets depending on the scenario. Because if we don’t play the Muslim Muslim ticket, we are in trouble,” Kalu said of the chances of the APC in the 2023 presidential election.
“It will be difficult to win the election because the only thing left for Ahmed Tinubu today is to play Muslim Muslim ticket,” Kalu said when the Senate correspondence ambushed him on the lobby of the red chamber on Wednesday.
“Well, I am very satisfied with the primary. Without that kind of primary, there would have been a lot of factions but today, the primary was very transparent, very open, people voted one by one.
“Although, in my own camp, we were not ready for the primary. We were ready for consensus. But when it came suddenly, at the end, APC won. The winner was APC,” Kalu said, adding that the next is to work for Tinubu and work for the APC candidates.
“No alternative. I am a party man and I am sure, most of you know that I am a very strong party man. I don’t shy away from issues. Now, the way I fought for Ahmad Lawan, is the way I will fight for Ahmed Tinubu. The way I am a party man, if I want to disagree, I will disagree. So, the most important thing now, I agree that Bola Tinubu won, and the whole APC agreed. Nobody is in doubt about winning. And if nobody is in doubt, we will all have to go back to the field.
“And I pray that my constituency which gave Buhari 68 percent and the South East will give us that belief and will give us the votes as they gave Buhari,” Kalu said.
The Senate Chief Whip said he told people before the convention that Muhammadu Buhari was not going to take sides adding that it was exactly what happened.
“People try their luck and the message is that Buhari did not take sides. It helps democracy. He also talked to the governors not to take sides. When I was Governor, I ensured that my own candidate won. But there was a lot of rancour and we need to allow democracy to prevail,” Kalu said.
When asked about the choice of the running mate to the APC candidate Tinubu, Kalu said: Listen, do you want me to speak frankly? If I am in Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s position, the wife is a Pastor in a Pentecostal Church. I will go for Muslim Muslim ticket. The most important thing is for the party to win. We should stop this rubbish about religion.
“Whether you put a Christian there, after all, if we win, already the wife is a Pastor and they have been living together for over 40 years. These are facts. So, don’t blame anyone, Tinubu’s wife is already like a deputy president. I am saying my opinion. I am a Catholic. This is Orji Kalu’s opinion. You cannot deny me my opinion.
“I know the Church I go to, the Catholic secretary may not be happy about this but what is wrong with Muslim Muslim ticket? I don’t see anything wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with Christian Christian ticket, it depends on the condition. The condition we found ourselves in today is that you cannot play two minorities.
“Tinubu is a minority Muslim from the South, if you put a minority from the North, the minority can’t get it. It is difficult. What I am telling you is the position of mine, it is not the position of my party. This is the Orji Kalu position.
“I’ve been with Tinubu’s wife in the Senate and the wife is a Pastor, so there is nothing wrong with that. Moreover, I’ve known Tinubu for a very long time. He is a man who bring Christian and Muslim together. He is a man who can do the work,” Kalu said.
“For me, the issue of Christian, I know some people will not like what I am saying but putting a Christian will not make him to be the best president, or putting a Muslim will not make him to be the best president. It is his conscience. Conscience is the wound only the truth can heal it.
“Do you not think that going for a Muslim Muslim ticket means that Tinubu is putting his feet too much in the hands of the northerners against his own South?
“Are the northerners not Nigerians? Are they not Nigerians? I ask you, answer me. Are they not Nigerians? Let me tell you, are you Nigerians doing religion? Let me tell you, in my house, my wife is the head of the House in reality. Even you men that are here, you may deny that your wife is not the head of the family. In reality, they are the ones. If I put these clothes on, my wife will tell you to come, this clothes is not good. You will say that you want it but finally you will remove it. She will say you will take ‘akara and akamu’ as breakfast and you will take it. Your wife wants you to pay the children ‘s school fees.
“Either you like it or not, women are the head of the family. They counsel you and Tinubu’s wife is a Pastor. Once she is a Pastor, we are protected. She is not a housewife. She has political knowledge. She is in the Senate. So, when I say this, you people will say I am a houseboy to the northerners.
“I am not a House boy to anybody. I don’t fear anybody. If the president is a westerner or a northerner, I will tell him the truth because I’ve reached a stage in life where nobody feeds me and I don’t need to talk to anybody to feed. I am not even afraid of death. If I speak, I speak the truth,” Kalu added.