Kalu, in a statement personally signed by him in Abuja, however declared his support for the candidature of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, for the top job.
The Senate President had on Monday, received the N100 million All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential forms purchased for him by the National Stability Project led by Chief Sam Nkire, who is the chairman of the movement.
Kalu, in his statement, said: “I congratulate my friend, former roommate and boss, Senator Ahmad Lawan, as he picks form to run for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC). I am most glad because he is from the North-east, the only zone alongside South-east that is yet to produce president of Nigeria.
“I have always maintained an unambiguous stand that for justice, equity and fairness in our country, the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari should come from the South-east or the North-east.
“I have also told Nigerians that I would only run for president if the two major political parties (APC and PDP) zone their tickets to the South-east.
“That is why I was disappointed with our southern brothers who are talking about fairness and equity but has zero tolerance for the same fairness and equity in the South.
“In the absence of a South-easterner being president of Nigeria in 2023, I have my full support for a North-easterner. This is because it would be the closest to the equity, fairness and justice everyone is talking about. It further means that the justice is on its way to the South-east.
“I thank those who said they have picked presidential forms for me because they meant well for Nigerians.
“However, since there is no zoning and the contest is open to all Nigerians, I officially withdraw from presidential contest in 2023. I have also picked ticket to run for Abia North Senatorial zone and to complete the good work I started in Abia North.
“I urge all my friends, allies and supporters in the APC to toe the line of justice by supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, a North-easterner for the presidential ticket of the APC.”