Pa Edwin Clark, elder statesman, has asked the Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to withdraw from being the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s running mate and apologise to his southern governor-colleagues for allegedly betraying them by accepting the position.
The former Federal Commissioner of Information, at a press conference on Thursday accused Okowa of betraying the trust of his colleagues in the South by accepting the position having hosted a meeting of southern leaders demanding for the presidency to come to the South.
The leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said, “I can therefore understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your own selfish ambition by wanting to land on a 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.
“In order 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 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 for 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 governors’ 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 are 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 have 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 own 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 definitely compromise your ambition. You never for one day join 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.”