The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, has assured Nigerians that the ninth National Assembly will not be a rubber stamp to the executive.
Kalu said this on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen in his Camp Neya country home in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of Abia.
He spoke on the sideline of a meeting of the executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the ward, local and zonal levels in his Abia North Senatorial District.
He said that the Ninth National Assembly (NASS) is made up eminent Nigerians, who had attained great height in the nation’s political and economic life, and could not be afraid of anybody.
“Some of us have been governors and attained great height in different spheres of life. We cannot be afraid of anybody,” he said.
He said that NASS is an independent arm of government and would stand on the path of justice and rule of law in discharging its mandate of lawmaking and oversight.
Kalu promised that NASS would partner President Muhammadu Buhari to realise his “Next Level” mantra which, he said, centred essentially on security and economic growth.
He also said that he had faith in the capacity of the ministers-designate to support the president in driving his economic agenda for overall national development.
“Nobody is perfect but the president has demonstrated the will power to take Nigeria to the next level.
“You remember that the world suffered economic recession but Nigeria was the first to exit from it under Buhari so NASS believes in him and will continue to support his policies,” he said.
Kalu described his few weeks experience in the Senate as exciting and rewarding, saying, “We see ourselves as classmates, with the Senate President as the class monitor.”
Addressing the meeting, Kalu promised to support the party executives in the area with the necessary logistics to hold meetings regularly in order to keep the party strong.
The former Abia governor further spoke on his Orji Kalu Foundation and its empowerment scheme in collaboration with foreign partners, including Fords Foundation and Bill Gates Foundation, among others.
He described the scheme as non-partisan, saying that the beneficiaries of the palm seedlings in the five local governments in the senatorial district cut across party lines.
He said that the empowerment was part of the foundation’s numerous packages designed to reduce poverty among the people, irrespective of their party affiliation.
“The empowerment scheme is for everyone, whether you are APC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), I don’t want to know.
“The day I was inaugurated as a Senator, I swore an oath to be a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not for APC, PDP or APGA,” Kalu said.
He said that electioneering was over, hence people should refrain from unnecessary political bickering, hatred and divisive tendencies.
“You should embrace other people from other parties. Learn to accommodate and show love to them. You should emulate me,” he said.
The legislator said that there was no faction in the party, arguing that the little skirmishes were normal occurrences in politics.
He promised to “solidify” the party in order to strengthen it and make it formidable ahead of 2023.
To this end, he promised to hold meetings periodically with stakeholders and leaders of the party in all the three senatorial districts.
The Abia North Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Chris Ajah, local government chairmen and secretaries, zonal youth and woman leaders took turns to speak on the challenges and prospects of APC in the zone.
They all paid special tribute to Kalu for his relentless support in ensuring that the party recorded significant and unprecedented success during the general elections and hoped to improve on the record in 2023.
Meanwhile, the meeting resolved to write a “thank you letter” to the president for nominating one of his ministers-designate, Mr Sampson Ogah, an oil magnate, from Abia north.