2023: Clark, Adebanjo, Others Blast Okowa For Accepting VP Nomination

A photo combination of Ayo Adebanjo, Ifeanyi Okowa and Edwin Clark.
A photo combination of Ayo Adebanjo, Ifeanyi Okowa and Edwin Clark.

 

Chief Edwin Clark and Ayo Adebanjo have criticised Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for accepting to run with Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 presidential elections, describing him as “a traitor.”

The elder statesmen made the comment under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum.

In a statement on Friday, they said it was “unspeakable and quite disappointing” that Okowa accepted the Vice Presidency nomination after it had been agreed, by Southern Governors, for the position of President to be zoned to the southern region.

READ ALSO: ‘PDP Needs To Return To Power’, Okowa Accepts Atiku’s VP Nomination

Others who signed the statement include President-General, Middle Belt Forum, Pogu Bitrus and President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador (Prof.) George Obiozor.

Clark is the leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum while Adebanjo heads the Yoruba group, Afenifere.

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday had announced Okowa as his running mate.

See their full statement below:

ATIKU’S VP NOMINATION: YOU ARE A TRAITOR, SOUTHERN, MIDDLE BELT LEADERS BERATE GOVERNOR OKOWA

STATEMENT BY SOUTHERN & MIDDLE BELT LEADERS’ FORUM, SMBLF (17-06-2022)

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has berated the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for accepting his nomination as Vice Presidential Candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. It is unspeakable and quite disappointing that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, and a native of Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area (one of the Igbo-speaking areas) of Delta State, would exhibit such barefaced unreliability.

It bears recalling that the 17 Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria, both of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the Chairmanship of the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, met in Asaba, the capital of Delta State on May 11, 2021, and took far-reaching decisions, including that, based on the principles of fairness, equity and justice, the presidency should rotate to the south, at the end of the statutory eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. And this very Governor Okowa was the host of that historic meeting. The Southern Governors later met again in Lagos, on July 5, where they reaffirmed their decision, and again in Enugu, on September 16, to restate the call that the presidency should rotate to the south in 2023.

It is essential to underline that the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), applauded the meeting of the governors, given its significant representation and the gravity of the outcome; we followed up and issued a similar statement after our meeting in Abuja on the 30th of May 2021, asking that the presidency should rotate to the south. And went further, on several other occasions, to caution political stakeholders from the South, including serving and former governors, ministers, senators, etcetera, not to, on any account, allow themselves to be appointed or nominated as running mate to any presidential candidate, if the presidency is not zoned to the south and that we will work against such person or persons.

It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who should know better, accepted his appointment as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We do not have anything personal against Ifeanyi Okowo but his action is treacherous and tantamount to a despicable pawning of the political future of the people of Southern Nigeria.

Sadly, it is also now common knowledge that he spent resources belonging to the government and people of Delta state, to lobby for the position, extensively. And that explains why he never made any statement when his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), thoughtlessly jettisoned the zoning principle, which has become established as a norm and an intrinsic part of the political trajectory.

It is difficult to fathom how a political party can claim to be on a supposed “rescue mission” with such false footings of unfairness, injustice, duplicity and gross insensitivity to national outlook.

It is regrettable that while most of Governor Okowa’s southern and northern counterparts have maintained gallant, patriotic deference to the unity and peace of the country, above blinkered political considerations, by their resolute stance on the rotation of the presidency to the south in 2023, Governor Ifeanyi Okiwa, the Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, of all people, would gullibly and slavishly capitulated to the bonbon of absurdity. Thus, acceding to a situation whereby, one person rules for eight years and hands over to another of his stock, in a country of at least 360 ethnic groups. What a shame!

The people of southern Nigeria chimed at Asaba, Lagos, Enugu, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, and Abuja, continuously on the zoning of the presidency and that another northern presidency after the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari would be injurious to the unity and peace of the country.

Governor Okowa has, by his action, betrayed the trust reposed on him by his colleagues; the southern governors, the entire good people of southern Nigeria and all well-meaning Nigerians. He has made himself persona non grata, not only, with SMBLF but all citizens who treasure our oneness and hopes of a more united and peaceful Nigeria.

We, therefore, reject Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his Vice Presidency, and leave him to his lot, but let the world know that this is a betrayal of the highest order.

And that this is not a matter of loyalty to one’s political party, but rather a greedy, parochial and unpatriotic action, committed against the general interest of his State, Delta state, the Niger Delta region, and Southern Nigeria. It is, certainly, also not in the interest of the nation at large.

We commend the patriotism of all Nigerians who cherish our unity and progress as a country and further urge all such Nigerians; in the North and the South; young and mature, the high and mighty; irrespective of religion and tribe, to remain steadfast on the centrality of the presidency to rotating to the South in 2023, in the national interest.

Signed:

Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON
Leader SMBLF/PANDEF

Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Leader, Afenifere

Pogu Bitrus
President-General, Middle Belt Forum

Ambassador (Prof.) George Obiozor
President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide

Open Grazing: Buhari Threatening To Override State Is Unacceptable – Clark

 

Elder Statesman and former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, says it is unacceptable for the Federal Government to attempt an override of state governments on the issue of open grazing. 

Speaking on Monday, Chief Clark said President Mohammed Buhari lacks the power to impose open grazing on the states.

President Buhari in a recent interview gave a positive nod to a First Republic idea that would see the return of cattle grazing routes allowing herdsmen trail designated paths across the country.

This move did not sit well with many Nigerians, with some claiming that the insistence on open grazing points to a hidden agenda.

In his reaction to this development, Clark called on President Buhari to regard himself as the President of Nigeria and not as a leader of the Fulani tribe.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: My People Say They Have No Land For Ranching – Umahi

 

“The decision on open grazing and other decisions taken on national interest by the 17 Southern governors received the full support of the people of Southern Nigeria, particularly the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the South-East, PANDEF of the South-South and the Afenifere of the South-West.

“The President has no power or authority to impose open grazing on state governments. Such illegal action which is a breach of the 1999 Constitution will not be accepted and will be legally resisted at all costs.

“Therefore, any law banning open grazing by state governments is not only legal and binding but is unchallengeable and binding on any person or group of persons, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“We will no longer tolerate hate and divisive statements targeted at deriding and insulting others, from these Fulani’s who believe Nigeria is exclusively theirs and other Nigerians are their subjects and not their fellow citizens,” Chief Clark briefed newsmen.

While noting that the people of the Niger Delta have watched with patience the reckless and irresponsible utterances of some groups who have over the years threatened other Nigerians over grazing routes, the elder statesman warned the Federal Government and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) against conduct and utterances capable of escalating the crisis in the country.

Adaka Boro Avengers Oppose Arms Mop Up To End Niger Delta Crisis

Adaka Boro Avengers, Niger Delta, MilitantsMembers of the Adaka Boro Avengers say arms mop up exercise in the Niger Delta without dialogue with the militants will not bring lasting peace in the region.

The spokesman for the group, Edmos Ayayeibo, said in a statement that the militant groups in Nigeria’s south-south region have laid down their arms.

He added that the militants are also prepared to dialogue with the Federal Government, to end the crisis in the region.

Ayayeibo described as insincere, the plans by the military to move into camps to dislodge the militants after they had laid down their arms.

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has been nominated by the militants as one of those to represent them on the negotiating table with the government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had disclosed that the Federal Government is also open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the Niger Delta region.

He, however, said the government does not believe the militants have announced a ceasefire, saying the government was yet to identify their leaders.

“We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more.

“Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues,” he asked in Kenya.

Metrofile: Nnei Opia Weds Ibrahim Clark

African cultureIt was the wedding of Ibrahim Clark and Nnei Opia recently in Lagos.

The Clark family, led by the parents of the groom, Chief Edwin and Marinatu Clark, arrived with their son, Ibrahim and other members of the family at the house of Professor Eric Opia and Ruth Benamaisia Opia from Kwale in Delta State to seek the hand of their daughter, Nnei.

Both families are from Delta State and therefore have similar traditions and this was evident in the smooth flow of activities at the engagement of their children.

The breaking of kolanut and the clinging of glasses showed that the Opias were indeed happy to receive the Clark family and it gave the groom the go-ahead to claim his bride.

It was an exciting exercise as he was made to identify his bride from the several mock brides that were presented to him.

Finally, beautiful Nnei Opia, a Journalism and TV Production graduate from a UK university emerged to the relief of Ibrahim and his family.

Two days after the colourful traditional event, they gathered again but this time, it was at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David, Lagos for the wedding service.

Metrofile brings you the best African culture from Delta State, Nigeria.

Sambo Urges Nigerians To Support Government In Nation Building

The Vice President of Nigeria, Namadi Sambo has called on all citizens to join hands with the government in building a better nation.

Addressing a gathering of friends and associates of Chief Edwin Clark in Abuja, Mr. Sambo said the federal government remains committed to the development of the nation.

He said Nigeria will experience speedy growth and development if all Nigerians are dedicated and committed to the cause of the nation.

“The development of the nation can be achieved with the support of all Nigerians.” He said.

Mr Clark who also spoke at the occasion advised politicians to shun all forms of corruption and avoid pilfering government funds in order not to be disgraced out of office.

FG Must Consult More On Amnesty For Boko Haram -Edwin Clark

The national leader the Congress for Equality and Change, Chief Edwin Clark has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the proposed amnesty for members of the fundamentalist sect; Boko Haram is not left in the realms of speculations or ambiguity.

The Ijaw leader advised that there should be a wider stakeholder consultation before arriving at the modalities necessary for the preconditions to grant amnesty to Boko Haram members.

Chief Clark also warned that deliberate steps should be taken to ensure that the move does not constitute an incentive for unpatriotic elements or groups to cash in on criminality and seek refuge in amnesty.

He further urged the federal government to consider the creation of special courts to try terrorism matters.

Governors’ forum is undemocratic – Edwin Clark

Elder Statesman and former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, has spoken out against the activities of the governors’ forum, saying it is undemocratic and a threat to peace and stability of the country.

Speaking in Abuja, the Ijaw leader said the governors now constitute themselves as an opposition to the federal government and deliberately breach both the 1999 Constitution and the constitution of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

He also indicted former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the former president is also contributing to the problem.

Ibori’s $15million bribe: Clark insists on Lamorde’s sack

Elder statesman and former Information Minister, Edwin Clark, has called for the restructuring of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the sack of its chairman, Ibrahim Larmorde.

Mr Clark at a press conference on Thursday said the anti-graft commission as it is presently headed by Mr Larmorde, cannot champion the anti-corruption war, adding it otherwise championing falsehood.

He said he is disappointed with the way the agency’s  handling of the  alleged $15 million bribe which was allegedly offered by former Delta state governor, James Ibori to erstwhile head of the agency, Nuhu Ribadu.

Mr Clark for the umpteenth time alleged that the EFCC chairman should be sacked for his role and handling of the case because he (Lamorde) tried to shield Mr Ibori from investigation and prosecution, adding that Mr Ibori has admitted to embezzling the funds in a plea he submitted during his trial in London.

He also accused the agency of changing its testimony on the ownership of the money after it had in 2007 sworn to an affidavit stating that the money was from Mr Ibori.

The EFCC through an oral application by its counsel on Monday, sought the leave of the court to summon the former Minister of Information, for contempt of court but the application was refused by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

At a resumed hearing to determine the owner of the $15 million alleged bribe offered by the former Delta State governor to the former EFCC chairman, the counsel to the commission, Rotimi Jacobs complained of statements credited to Mr Clark suggesting that the proceedings filed by the EFCC was based on falsehood as such the agency’s boss should be sacked.

Edwin Clark challenges IBB to take a stand on Boko Haram

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark has challenged former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida to a public debate on national issues free from interference or aides.

He also demanded that as a prominent leader in the north, the former president should make his stand clear on the Boko Haram menace ravaging the north.

Chief Clark posed the challenge in Abuja on Wednesday following a statement released by General Babangida on Monday, the 6th of August, describing him as “senile and senseless” in his reaction to Mr Clark’s clamour that Babaginda should come out and condemn Boko Haram.

The former Minister of Information observed that the former Head of State was yet to openly condemn the killings by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, which has claimed over a thousand lives.

The Ijaw leader noted that General Babangida is yet to take a stand on the matter, quipping that he (Babanginda) should instead redirect his outburst towards finding a permanent solution to the Boko Haram menace in the north.

Chief Clark recalled the role he played as an Ijaw leader, in the struggle to ensure that the Amnesty programme for the militants is brought to fruition in the Niger-Delta.

In his statement presented by lawyer Kayode Ajulo, Chief Clark emphasized his commitment to the unity of Nigeria and peace within its borders and therefore would refuse to join issues with general Babangida.

 

 

 

Call your kinsmen to order, Arewa Youth Forum tells Jonathan

The Northern youth under the aegis of the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to “call to order,” his kinsmen, former Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw Leader, Edwin Clark, and the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer  Force, Asari Dokubo, for their “unguarded utterances” which could lead to the disintegration of the country.

The National President of the AYF, Gambo  Gujungu, in a statement, issued on Tuesday, said “People like  Clark and Asari had forgotten that the region was the mainstay of the Nigerian state before the discovery of oil. It is pertinent to let the war mongers know that the North is not afraid  of war. But we are advocates of peace.  We are not war mongers and will not and will never call for war within the polity of Nigeria.

Mr Gujungu  said it was unfortunate that the likes of Mr Dokubo  were blaming the North for Boko Haram as if every northerner is a member of Boko Haram. “That is not good enough,” he added.

He said  “let it be known that the youths of the North under the umbrella of the AYF are peace loving people who believe in the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria and has been working and will continue to work for the peaceful co existence of the country.

“Asari should know that some of us are quite aware of the type of person he is. We know his antecedents and the type of person he is. The Volunteer Force leader is not the one to threaten any body and should not continue in the way of threat or else we will be force to expose him for who he truly is.”

Nigerian lawyers are corrupt – former minister

A former minister of information, Chief Edwin Clark has called on the Nigerian judicial system to put its house in order, claiming that both the bar and bench have thrown away ethics of the profession.

The Ijaw leader made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, where he was the guest lecturer of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies’ (NIALS) annual lecture on the State of the Federation.

According to Chief Clark, “The Bench and The Bar have some questions to answer.”

“Both the bench and the bar are not doing anything to address corruption and if nothing is done about it, Nigeria will remain in the bottom list of corrupt countries in the world” he affirmed.

He made an example of an injunction granted the former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili by a Court that prevents any possibility of him facing a trial in the country.

“Peter Odili was found to have stolen N100billion of Rivers state fund and today he is a free man and parading himself as a state’s man” he said.

Citing more complicities of judges and lawyers, Chief Clark named former governors such as Joshua Dariye, Ayo Fayose, Saminu Turaki, Uzor Orji Kalu, as some of the former governors whose trial on corruption charges are stalling in courts due to series of adjournments, and injunctions by their lawyers and judges.

“Their cases are adjourned and adjourned and nothing is happening” he stated annoyingly.

After alleging that former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode embezzled some funds, meant for the aviation sector, the Ijaw leader stated that “Femi Fani-Kayode is now parading himself as a moral icon, so why will people not steal” Chief Edwin Clark asked.

“If we don’t fix corruption in this country…we are going nowhere” he concluded.

 

Nigeria may collapse without a National Conference-Clark

As the National Assembly gears to undertake the fourth amendment of the 1999 Constitution, elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark, has enjoined the legislators to hold on for suggestions from a National Conference before going ahead with the task.

The Ijaw leader made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, where he was the guest lecturer of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies’ (NIALS) annual lecture on the State of the Federation.

On what to do with the 1999 Constitution, whether to amend or re-write a brand new Constitution, Chief Clark stated that “a Constitution must be written by the people”, adding that “but it is only an amendment of the Constitution that will be keep this country together because if a new Constitution is written it will only benefit the devils-the politicians.”

Speaking on the call for a Sovereign National Conference, the 85 year old stated that “what we need is a National Conference and not a Sovereign National Conference because the result of the sovereign national conference can go anyway.”

He welcomed the conveying of a National Conference “to and discuss the basis of our existence as a nation.” “We have never done this since Lord Luggard put us together in 1914 and a fiat Floral Shaw gave us the name Nigeria” he said.

According to the veteran politician “only a national conference can provide the basis for Nigeria’s unity.”

He appealed to the federal government to “convene a National Conference where we (Nigerians) can discuss the basis of our country, where we can discuss corruption, marginalisation and every other thing.”

“The suggestions of this conference will then be submitted to the National Assembly before the Constitution Amendment is carried out. This is the only way we can have a People’s Constitution”