by Linda Ikeji
Senate President Ahmad Lawan has explained why Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat was not declared vacant while he was in prison.
Recall that the Senate Chief Whip was convicted and sentenced last December for embezzling N7.1 billion of state funds while he was the Governor of Abia State.
Lawan who explained why they refused to declare Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat vacant when leaders from Abia State paid him a courtesy visit, said it was not only extraordinary but “the right and just thing for the Senate to do.” He added that no one could convince the lawmakers to give the seat to someone else because it was not vacant.
The Senate President said;
“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 extraordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”