Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is not interested in an automatic ticket to contest in the 2019 presidential election.
Kalu, who spoke with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Saturday, said the President wanted the APC to explore necessary democratic process by allowing other candidates to contest the party’s presidential primary election.
Kalu said, “President Buhari as a democrat wants every interested aspirant to be given a chance to test their popularity and exercise their democratic right.
“Buhari is not even looking for an automatic ticket. He is a man that is very fair in what he does. His feeling is that if anyone wants to contest against him, such a person should come out at the Eagle Square.
“Some schools of thought are saying that if in the United States’ Obama was given an automatic ticket, Buhari should be given that too. But he feels that an automatic ticket for him is not right. He said they should open the floor for other people who also want to contest.”
Kalu believed the contest should be thrown open.
He added, “There will be no rancour in the party. We are in a democracy and I will vote for the President; we are not afraid of anybody who wants to contest against him. I’ve said it times without number that the President needs to consolidate on his achievements and most of his tenure has been besieged by illness.”
The former Abia State governor also stated that following his support for the last governorship election in Anambra State, Buhari’s popularity was growing in the South-East.
He added, “I’m just coming in from the South-East where President Buhari is making a lot of inroads. The role he played during the Anambra election was significant; other presidents would have written the results. They have done it before. If it were other presidents, APC would be jubilating.
“He warned the police, INEC and the party. So why don’t Nigerians embrace this man who is saying, ‘I might be slow but do things through due process’. I’ve spoken to some Catholic bishops, priests and some Anglican bishops and some priests in the Presbyterian Church who used to criticise the President and they are beginning to think differently.”
He said the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, had endorsed Buhari, adding that his Anambra State counterpart, Willie Obiano, might also do the same.
Commenting on Atiku Abubakar’s recent resignation from the APC, Kalu said he would have advised him to stay back if he had the opportunity.
“I would say, ‘Don’t leave; let us build a large team together’. It is not every election year we would go and form a new political party. It doesn’t entrench our democratic process,” he said.
Kalu also stated that the Peoples Democratic Party would not bounce back because of the massive looting of the nation’s treasury during the last administration.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )