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We were under pressure to declare Orji Kalu’s seat vacant, but we refused ― Lawan



President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said Tuesday that the Leadership of the Upper Chamber was under serious pressure to declare vacant, the seat of the Chief Whip of the Senate during his incarceration at the Kuje Correctional Centre.

Speaking in Abuja when leaders of thought from Abia State paid him a visit in his office, Lawan who gave an insight into why the Senate refused to yield to pressure to declare Kalu’s s seat and position vacant, said that what the Senate did by preserving the seat was not extra-ordinary but the right and just thing to do..

The delegation of the leaders of thought led by Senator Chris Adighije was at the National Assembly in Abuja to appreciate the Senate and its leadership for showing their concerns for Kalu during his incarceration.

Recall that Kalu was the Senate Chief Whip when a court in Lagos sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in December 2019 for fraud committed while he was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007.

Kalu spent six months in the Correctional Facility before he eventually regained his freedom and returned to the Senate following the Supreme Court’s judgement which nullified his conviction on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the trial judge.

Speaking further, Lawan told his guests that “there was no way anybody could convince us in the Senate that somebody should take the Abia North Seat because it wasn’t vacant.

“He(Kalu) was on several appeals and until he exhausted all the opportunities available to him, that seat remained his seat.

“Similarly the position of the Chief Whip, we didn’t even appoint an acting Chief Whip. The Deputy Chief Whip continued to play that role until he was released.

“We came under pressure, of course. But we thought the right thing to do was to keep that seat, that position until he was able to get his judgement.

“It would have been premature, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.

“So we didn’t do anything extra-ordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”

Looking at the bi-partisan composition of the group, the Senate President who commended the leaders for the unity and understanding among them and their followers, said, “It has been a long time, I have not seen or heard the kind of unity, understanding and desire to move a state forward in a bi-partisan way.

“Our people need us to give them leadership. They need us to give them good governance. They want to have better life and particularly in Abia state, you have a lot of business people. They would like to see their businesses grow and do well.

“Once the leaders are united, it makes it much easier for the followership to remain united and supportive so that reaching the promised land can be quite easy.”

Earlier in his remarks, leader of the delegation, Senator Chris Adighije who noted that the visit was to appreciate the Senate and its leadership for their concerns for the former Governor, said, “We want to thank the Senate. It’s something that the entire Abia State and Indeed the South East appreciate very much ”

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