Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday explained why the Senate refused to yield to pressure to declare Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat and position vacant during the period of his incarceration.
Lawan told leaders of thought from Abia State that the Senate’s decision was nothing extra-ordinary but the right thing to do.
The delegation of the leaders of thought were at the National Assembly in Abuja to appreciate the Senate and it’s leadership for showing their concerns for Kalu during his incarceration.
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.
He spent six months in a 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.
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 prematured, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.
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“So we didn’t do anything extra-ordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”