Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, has revealed that he had told the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, that he would not run for president in 2023, but had to change his mind due to pressure from different parts of the country.
According to him, his decision to contest was based on pressure from leaders from the six geopolitical zones who approached him to run.
Kalu was speaking in an interview with Silverbird Television on Friday monitored by our correspondent in Abuja.
He explained that he carried out adequate consultations before making a U-turn.
Kalu revealed that he had earlier told some aspirants on the platform of the APC that he was not contesting.
Notably, he revealed that he told former governor of Lagos State, Mr Bola Tinubu, Ebonyi State Governor, Mr David Umahi, that he won’t contest.
He said he also told former president of the Senate, Mr Pius Anyim that he had no intention to contest.
“I didn’t want to join this contest before. When I met with Senator Tinubu, I told him I was not running. When I met with Governor Umahi, I told him I was not running.
“When I also met with Senator Pius Anyim, I told him I wasn’t contesting. A couple of days after my discussion with them, elders from the West, elders from the North, the South-East and Niger Delta came to see me on the 5th of January (2022) and I also went to see a couple of them,” he said.
He explained that, “I flew from my village to tour some places and I met with them in the North, West and somewhere in Lagos and Warri and I returned on the 8th back to Igbere, my home town, and also met with the elders of my community and they said that it’s a possibility.
“And that is why I have not gone back to tell these people who I initially told that I will not run that I am now going to run. I will still have a meeting with them and tell them formally that I am going to run for the president.”
He denied reports that he attacked Tinubu, whom he said was not a threat to his ambition.
“Tinubu is not a threat to my ambition and I am not a threat to his ambition. We are very close friends and our friendship is deep-rooted.
“When I and my wife went back to Abia as Governor, nobody was occupying my house in Victoria Island, Lagos. So my children were in school at that time and some were schooling at Corona schools while one was in French International school in 1998 and they were living with Senator Oluremi Tinubu. So we are like a family and politics cannot separate us.
“In 2003 when Tinubu was seeking re-election and I saw that he was lagging behind, I assisted him and it’s part of what caused my problem with former President Obasanjo.
“So we’re a family and we cannot quarrel because of politics. He might have his idea on how to do it and I might have my own idea on how to do it. But all I know is that if we meet at Eagle Square I will give a very good account of myself.”