Former Governor of Abia State and Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has declared that 2019 Presidential primaries of the party should be thrown open for every aspirant who wants to contest.
However he said Buhari remains the best candidate which he promised to vote for in the APC primaries even as he vowed that the President has gained enough ground in the South - East and the region would not hesitate to vote for him in 2019.
Kalu, who spoke with journalists in Lagos at the private wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport said Buhari, despite the clamour from various quarters for the party to give him automatic ticket in 2019, believes in throwing the race open for interested candidates to contest.
He said, "Buhari himself is not even looking for automatic ticket. Buhari is a man that is very fair and free to what he does. And his feeling is that if any candidate is willing to contest against him, he should come at the Eagle Square.
"The contest should be thrown open. There would be no rancour. We are in democracy and I would vote for the President. I've said it times without number, that the President needs to consolidate on his achievements because most parts of his tenure have been besieged by illness. So the President genuinely deserves second tenure."
Kalu was however reluctant to discuss the resignation of former Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar from APC, saying however that he would have advised Atiku, whom he describes as his boss, to remain in the party and join hands with other stakeholders to build the party together.
However he said he wished Atiku well in his next move.
According to him, Buhari remains the candidate to beat because of his popularity which he said is spreading like wildfire in the South East.
"We are not afraid of anybody who wants to contest against the President because the President is very popular. He is still the only person carrying 12 million votes in his back. Even in the South East where he didn't do well, I'm just coming from the South East. President Buhari is making a lot of inroads. The role he played during Anambra election, other Presidents would have written the results. They have done it before. But the President said, 'no every ballot paper must be counted' and they were counted. If it is other President, APC would be jubilating home with victory. But President said, 'no, I would not tolerate that'.
Kalu also dismissed the declaration by the former ruling party, PDP, to bounce back in 2019, saying the party can never win election again in Nigeria because of the large scale looting of the treasury which equally attracted the attention of members of the international community.
He said: "How can they (PDP) bounce back when treasury was looted? How can they bounce back when the international community doesn't see anything good in them? How can they bounce back when we gave them our treasury, they opened and looted it.
"We would call names if they want us to call names in future. All the World Powers knew what happened and this is why they tactically insisted that PDP must leave power. PDP committed what was very shameful to have seen in a democratic process. There is no system that is not with corruption but going to loot is an affront to Nigerian people. They opened the treasury and looted the treasury. President Buhari, having been restrained by some World Powers not to open up what happened in the NNPC.
"If Nigerians know what happened in NNPC, those people would not pass this airport, people would not leave them. What they did is what ears and eyes should not even hear. How can they come back? They will definitely go into oblivion, they would never win election again in Nigeria unless they changed their name."