Foremost South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, on Thursday, accused Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of betraying southern Nigeria by accepting to be a running mate to a northern candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the February 25 presidential election.
He also accused the governor of being dictatorial and allegedly putting fear into the people of the state.
Chief Clark, who is the leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), made the claims at a press conference in his Asokoro, Abuja residence, where he as well alleged that the Delta governor lacks accountability in the running of the state.
Reading from a prepared open letter to the governor titled, “Your dictatorial government and the reign of unaccountability in Delta State,” the former Federal Commissioner of Education under the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon, said: “Your Excellency, my letter will come to you as a surprise because of my unusual silence over your nearly eight years governance in Delta State. But my unusual silence does not mean I have kept a blind eye over some corruption and misuse of power by you.
“This is particularly, having regard to my activities during your predecessor’s reign where I openly criticized them, and I was tagged as a troublemaker by my detractors; hence I did not act for some time during your administration.
“It is my intention, therefore, to release some of this ugly information to Delta State people of your lack of sincerity, lack of honesty, and lack of transparent administration.
“This is especially as the Delta people are scared of you and unable to speak out against your government. Most of them have been reduced to mere robots either because of self-interest or personal patronage or the allowances they receive from the Government.
“I am indeed very sad that some of our leaders from the State who betrayed us in Abuja during Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Primaries in 2010/2011 have relocated to Delta State to perpetuate their evil design again. Let them be warned, otherwise, they will be exposed.”
On what he termed the betrayal of sacred trust, Clark stated that despite hosting the meeting of the Southern Governors in the Delta State capital, Asaba, where it was resolved that the presidency should go to the south and no southern governor should accept nomination as a running mate to a northern presidential candidate, Okowa reneged.
He said it was also little wonder then that the governor was not committed as the chairman of the Southern Governors Forum because of his political ambition.
The elder statesmen, therefore, demanded a public apology from Okowa to his colleague’s Southern governors, who he had allegedly betrayed.
Clark, who is also the leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), added: “Today, I say with certainty that you are more dictatorial than any other Military Administrator that has administered Delta State since its creation in 1991. I can therefore understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your selfish ambition by wanting to land on safer ground by accepting to serve as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“No, by God’s grace, your prayer will not be answered. Perhaps, you have forgotten the gravity of the offence you have committed against the people of Southern Nigeria.
“To cover your nefarious plot, you voluntarily induced everyone to host a meeting of the 17 Southern Governors in Government House Asaba on Tuesday 11th May 2021.
“You gave them a very good reception and provided them with a secretariat that drafted the communiqué under your supervision, which was ably read by the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. It was indeed a bombshell, as you collectively demanded Southern Presidency and insisted that none of you should accept to be a Vice President.
“Shortly afterwards, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), which I lead, gave the governor’s declaration 100% support and declared that no Southern serving Governors, Legislators or Politicians should accept to be running mate, particularly to Atiku Abubakar.
“The 17 Governors later met again in Lagos and Enugu to affirm the decision taken in your Government House Asaba. Little did we know that you were using this to perfect your secret plan to be running mate to Atiku Abubakar from the very beginning.
“We are therefore not surprised that you directed all the delegates from Delta State not to vote for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State or Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who is your neighbours but instead, they voted massively for Atiku Abubakar during the PDP Presidential Primaries last year.
“It would be recalled in 2007, that Delta State finances were used in funding part of the election of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua through the directive of President Olusegun Obasanjo. We were therefore not surprised when you too decided to finance Atiku Abubakar with Delta People’s money because; there is nobody to challenge you. I repeat you will not succeed.
“It is therefore in your interest to openly apologise to your colleagues of both APC and PDP whom you deceived in taking a decision you never believed in.
“After your unreserved apology to your people and Southern Nigeria, you should step down your ambition of becoming Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP. There your honour lies.
“We can now understand the reason why you are never serious with your Chairmanship of the South-South Governors Forum since this will compromise your ambition.
“You never for one day joined your colleagues to condemn the atrocities being perpetrated against our people, particularly the atrocities being committed by the armed AK 47 herdsmen who invaded Uvwheru, Igbuzor, Okpanam, Abraka and very lately Patani. This is because it will annoy your Northern friends.
“However, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) have resolved to oppose your joint candidature with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and this we will continue to do until election day.”
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