Senator-elect and former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has declared that he will reject a ministerial position if he were offered one.
Kalu said this at the second annual lecture of Freedom Online, an online newspaper.
The former Abia governor, who was elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was chairman of the lecture.
He said: “I will not accept a ministerial position if I were offered one. I am the elected representative for Abia North senatorial district.”
Kalu further noted that even though he is elected to represent Abia North, his representation will cover the entire country because his oath of office will be to serve the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I have just been elected to the Senate. I’ve not even been sworn in. Don’t worry yourself; my vibrancy will always be felt by the people I represent. I will give the people quality representation. When I was governor, I represented the people of Abia state to the best of my ability.
“This time I am not going to represent only the people of Abia North, but the people of Nigeria, which oath I am going to take.
“I am not going to be taking an oath that I am senator of Abia North, I am going to take an oath of office as senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, even in Elewe, I am going to represent them as well as I represent the people of Abia North.”
Kalu also reiterated he will contest for the position of Deputy Senate President, because equity demands that all the major tribes of the country are represented in the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m the one there, what matters is that, in constituting the leadership, all the major ethnic groups would be represented. It is fair, I am not asking this for anything else, I am asking it for equity justice and fair play. Even this one they are saying we did not vote for APC; President Muhammadu Buhari has not said it. It is only some people in the media that are saying it,” Kalu added.
He, however, said he will respect and abide by the decision of the party on the matter.
“I still hope that the party will be gracious enough to zone the positions. I don’t want to go against the party. It will not be a healthy relationship between me and the party and the party and other people. We are capable of going to war, but, it is not good to always go to war. I want the party to zone the offices; they can say we are giving North East the position of Senate president, we are giving South East position of Speaker; we have given South East deputy senate president, we have given North Central deputy speaker and so on and we will have peace,” Kalu further added.
Kalu, who was also awarded with a plaque for his support towards the lecture ,said the only way Nigeria will make progress is when the private sector drives the economy.
Introducing the lecture’s theme: ‘Fixing the Economy: Less Politics, More Substance’, Kalu said government has no business doing business, but should concentrate on policy formulation as it cannot play the role of policy formulation and implementation at the same time.
He added: “I see our economy as an economy that needs to be expanded. Government has no business doing business. You cannot do policy formulation and implementation at the same time. It doesn’t matter if it is one person buying, what matters is that things are made to work.”
Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who was guest of honour disagreed with Kalu on restructuring.
Said Daniel: “Everybody agrees that we need change. Our people have become poorer and there is no hope under the current system. We are setting the stage for corruption with the structure we are running. The democratic system we are running cannot guarantee good governance.”
In his remarks, Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media Mr. Femi Adesina, commended the media organisation for the choice of lecture. He said Buhari is worried by Nigerians’ habit of playing politics with every issue in the country and hoped the lecture would enlighten them.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Gabriel Akinadewo, publisher of Freedom Online said Nigeria is in need of change.
“Nigeria has a four-year cycle of elections, but, pitiably, there is no four-year cycle of development. The world is moving forward and Nigeria has no choice than to move in the right direction,” Akinadewo said.