First Republic Minister of Information, and leader of the South-south Elders Conference, Chief Edwin Clark has accused the North of arrogance in believing that leadership in Nigeria is their birt">

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Rubbish: You are not born to rule, Clark tells the North • Says nothing will stop a South-South president in 2007

Posted by By CHIDI OBINECHE on 2006/07/03 | Views: 372 |

Rubbish: You are not born to rule, Clark tells the North • Says nothing will stop a South-South president in 2007


First Republic Minister of Information, and leader of the South-south Elders Conference, Chief Edwin Clark has accused the North of arrogance in believing that leadership in Nigeria is their birthright.

First Republic Minister of Information, and leader of the South-south Elders Conference, Chief Edwin Clark has accused the North of arrogance in believing that leadership in Nigeria is their birthright.


He said that the amalgamation of 1914 came as a result of the northerners being unable to rule themselves, coupled with their parlous economic state.


Clark spoke with Daily Sun in Calabar, recently.


Advancing reasons for the North’s arrogance, despite a near zero economic stake, Clark said, "That is why we told them during the confab that they are arrogant. Umaru Dikko came to my house three weeks ago, and I said, you are arrogant.


"There is nothing you have which we do not have. We asked for 25% derivation on our oil, you said you would give us nothing except 17%. You supply nothing. North West supplies nothing to the section 162 of the constitution - the Federation Account. North-Central supplies nothing. North-East supplies nothing, South-west, 2.5%, South-East 3.5%. But the South-South, 90.6%, they supply.


"And you, who does not contribute anything, are saying how much do I give you? When I invite you to come and eat with me, you ask how much of the fish in the soup can you take? I should dictate what to give you."


Clark, however, dispelled insinuations that a South-south presidency would lead to secession, arguing that the agitation for it was merely to tell the North that, "We do exist."


Sounding upbeat, Clark declared that the emergence of a South-south president for Nigeria in 2007 is within reach, and "Nobody will stop us."


He gave glimpses of a post 2007 president from the South-south, assuring that "We will spread the resources, and be fair to all sections."


On suggestions that the zone, like the South-west in 1998, needs a godfather to prosecute and actualize its presidential dream, he argued that it was unnecessary.


"Those who made Obasanjo president are now regretting. They thought they made him, so they could use him. The man is very clever. He refused to be used. Today, they are crying, oh! Why did we make Obasanjo president of Nigeria? That is what is happening.


"We are not looking for anybody to support us. We want the support of Nigerians."


He declared that the field is open to every indigene of the South-south, adding, "that you are a governor does not make you the best candidate."


He gave kudos to the Niger Delta militants, but advised them to refrain from taking hostages.


Clark also further spoke on the factionalisation of the South-south Peoples Assembly, (SSPA), among other issues.


Factionalisation


We deliberately did not invite the two leaders of the factions. Our meeting is for the elders of the South-south. Everybody in the South-south is a member of the South-south Peoples Assembly (SSPA). Afenifere has their problems. There are factions. Even the northerners who are more conservative, they have their differences. Ohaneze has its differences. Joe Irukwu has his own faction. Ndubuisi Kanu has his own faction. So, there is nothing new in any differences that are occurring in SSPA. But because we want the presidency of this country, we believe that such differences may create some problems for us. So, we decided to go to Calabar. First of all, let us declare; reaffirm that, on Calabar declaration we stand. Then, we come to the pertinent questions, how do we prosecute this case? How do we go about it? How do we carry out the crusade? Can we do it with factions within the SSPA? We say no: United we stand.


We are now saying that the meeting will keep the factions out, while the elders sit down and try to resolve the differences of the factions, who have gone to the newspapers, the courts. Now, can that stop us from having what we want to have? The answer is no. But can we ignore them? The answer still is no. So, let us have a united house. We’ll set up a body, small committee that will look into the differences between the factions. Our inability to do that shows that we have no elders in this zone. And we cannot pretend that these factions do not exist. They are in the newspapers.


They are in the courts. So, we’ll set up a committee to reconcile them. That is how we want to go about it. The differences are of head, not of heart. So, there is nothing that will prevent us from solving those differences. That is our goal. We have deliberately kept them out because it falls into our strategies. Having kept them out, we can have a free discussion, set up a committee to go and meet them. That is what we want to do.


South-South apathy to third term


I think that was a wrong impression by our respected Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. Let me say that even though there were differences in SSPA, the SSPA held a meeting in Lagos, and addressed the Press during the third term battle. The chief spokesman was Ambassador M.T.Mbu, where he said we are not supporting third term. After that, all our statements dwelt on that. On the 6th of May, 2006, we met in Lagos and issued a statement, signed by over 17 leaders, saying that any governor, any member of the National Assembly, anybody who is for third term will be judged by history as he is on the wrong side of history. So, if our members in the National Assembly now believe that because they belong to one political party, and they foolishly and sheepishly supported what they should not support, we cannot say they are speaking on behalf of the people of the South-South. So, nobody will say that. The people who want the president now, did they ever speak at the time? But today, they are enjoying it. They now want to be president of Nigeria.


Tell me one governor from the South-South, who said at that time that third term was a bad thing. They were afraid. They were afraid of their master. They never wanted to leave their offices. So, they decided to follow their master. So, today, third term has collapsed. We now insist we should be there. There are northerners who believed in third term. There are easterners who believed in third term. There are westerners who believed in third term. But the majority of the people of the South-south were anti-third term.


Godfather


We don’t have godfather, and we don’t want to have one. We are fighting for what we believe is our right, our inherent rights. Though, we are now talking about federalism, people in the west, and north are divided. Everybody wants power. Even in the east, people came to me three days ago and said this is your time. Don’t quote me. I have the document, written by South-south people saying that this time around, we want a South-south president. And they went to former governor of Anambra State and he said South-south, should go ahead. People believe that this is the time for the South-south. If we are part of Nigeria, have we no right to ask for what should be ours? And that is what we are doing. So, we do not need anybody to sponsor us. We want everybody to co-operate and collaborate with us, understand our feelings. That is our mission. Who owns Nigeria more than us? We own it together. Why should we look for a godfather?


Those who made Obasanjo president are now regretting. They thought they made him, so they can use him. The man is very clever. He refused to be used. Today, they are crying, oh! Why did we make Obasanjo president of Nigeria? That is what is happening. We are not looking for anybody to support us. We want the support of Nigerians. Every Nigerian. We cannot do it alone.


Leadership as northern birthright


It is a pity you were not in Abuja, when Umaru Dikko, my own friend, said this kind of thing. Others said it too. What is birthright? That they were born to rule Nigeria? Nigeria existed before them. The amalgamation of 1914 came as a result of the northerners being unable to rule themselves. Economically, they had nothing, so Lugard decided it, to join them to those more progressive economically. He said, let me join these people together. Look, who made them to be our rulers? Nobody. From the beginning till today, they were not made to rule Nigeria. So, any statement on that from a northerner is stupid, and they are regretting it. That is why we told them during the confab, that they are arrogant. Umaru Dikko came to my house three weeks ago, and I said you are arrogant. There is nothing you have that we do not have. We asked for 25% derivation on our oil. You said you would give us nothing except 17%.


You supply nothing. North -west supplies nothing to the section 162 of the Constitution; the Federation Account. North-Central supplies nothing. North-East supplies nothing. South-west 2.5%. South-east, 1.5%. But the South-south, 90.6%. And you who also does not contribute anything, saying how much do I give you?


When I invite you to come and eat with me, you ask how much of the fish in the soup can you take? I should dictate what to give you. So, our problem at the confab was borne out of northern arrogance. At the end, we said, we are going home. Not that we are going to break away from Nigeria. We are going to tell them that we do exist. And that is what we are doing.


So, the Calabar declaration of November 9, 2004 is to be re-affirmed. So, whatever the northerners are saying is not important. Leave them. Majority of them believe that South-south should have it this time. And we are going to have it. God is on our side, and we will fight it.


Niger Delta militants


Because we are not wealthy, our youths are saying that what is going on with our fathers, if it continues, it is detrimental to our progress, so, we take the driving seat. And this is what they have done. They are not agitating for nothing. They are agitating for a purpose. You are neglecting us. You do not care about what happens to our fathers. Our fathers have no power. We live in abject poverty, no light, and no federal presence in any way. That is what these boys are fighting for. Nobody will disturb them. That does not mean that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder as you put it. What is happening in Onitsha today, is it the South-south people causing it? So, everybody has his own problem. And we have our problem and demand a listening ear. Obasanjo said the South-South has been neglected for many years. We must do something to change the situation. That is what he is doing.


Recently, he went to London and said something about South-south again. So, our youths are not fighting for nothing. No. I will tell you that what we are saying is don’t take hostage. Fight for your rights. And if you are a youth of the South-south, you must join hands with those who are fighting for you. You are not committing any treason or offence. Fighting for your right is a right that you must exercise.


 

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