The Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, during an interaction with a group of journalists, including Adedayo Akinwale, said southern politicians should not accept running mate positions if the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party refuse to zone presidency to the South
What is going on within the political space, especially the South-west to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. As of now, 20 people have picked forms from the South in the PDP and the APC. What is your take on this?
It is madness. if I’m to be realistic they are not serious; particularly the southerners from the South-west and the South-south. There are some people that have gone to be bottle bags to play double games. So when it comes to where we say no, some people would come out to say, ‘yes we are contesting.’ So they know why some of them are there.
For instance, there are reasons to be told that my very good friend Adams Oshiomhole, the former national chairman of the APC was with Tinubu (Bola). I was surprised yesterday when I saw him entering the race. I’m also surprised that Amosun after seeing the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from his place entering the race. So, you come back to the South-south, Jonathan was a Rivers State man before Bayelsa state was created in 1996, today Nyesom Wike wants to be president of Nigeria, Rotimi Ameachi wants to be president of Nigeria. Both of them are in small Ikwere. You can imagine what is going on. I understand Timipre Sylvia would soon declare. Meanwhile, people are asking me questions about Goodluck Jonathan and they are in the same Senatorial zone in Bayelsa state. So they know what they are doing. And for the Igbos, some of them, I encouraged them to come out. If it is zoned to the South-East.The whole of Nigeria will vote for them
Are you not surprised that the two major parties, PDP and APC were running away from being specific about zoning, even when it was in the constitution of PDP, but APC is also singing another tune about zoning. What is your position on this, sir?
You have everybody in Nigeria where there is hunger, where there is lack of employment, where there is kidnapping going on every day, where children cannot go to school, where the economy is going down. These people were able to mobilize N100 million to pick form. So, if these governors and ministers use their salaries, I don’t think they have it because they must eat in their houses, and so also the governors. When (Nasir) el-Rufai sometimes ago said 19 governors met with Mr. President that all the positions held by the northerners should be moved to the South and vice versa.
With that, we assumed the zoning had been done. So, the South will produce the next president. Now that no southerner contested any position in the party which was zoned in the north and because the chairmanship was zone to North-cntral, Abdullahi Adamu took over.
We strongly warn our politicians, former governors, ministers, senators and so forth not to accept a running mate position from any northern candidate. That will show how serious we are and anybody who offers himself as a running mate will be regarded as the most unpatriotic and a man who has sold his own side of the country and not worthy of being respected and honoured.
North always say they have the numbers, what of the event that the two dominant parties end up with a northern presidential candidate?
We are going nowhere. No southerner will like to see himself being treated as a slave or as a second class citizen. When he has the right of franchise than someone who believes in population alone. This matter was discussed in the national conference of 2014. Rotation is the only vehicle of unity in Nigeria and it was decided at that conference there should be a power shift, there should be rotation among the various ethnic groups or the various parts of this country if we are to have unity in this country.
Do you think it is illegal for Jonathan to contest as a president? And secondly do you think he should run for president under the all progressives Congress APC
No comment from me.
Is it because Former president Goodluck Jonathan is from Niger Delta?
I don’t want to respond
Did he discuss with you that he wants to join APC.
He has not.
So how will you advise President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC, Nigerians about upcoming primaries and general election because there seems to be tension everywhere?
In the first place, I say categorically that we have no leader. Look at this country, do we have a president? For 34 days, a train moved with an unspecified number of passengers and luggage from Abuja to Kaduna. A young lady, a Doctor, lost her life to the extent that 30 people were admitted in the hospital, two of them died later in the hospital and about 70 of them were taken away.
As el-Rufai has always said, which forest in Nigeria is so difficult for the president to move into? And for 34 days the President of this country made no statement. We have people dying everywhere. About 70 people were killed in Benue, when the governor cried to Mr.President, he said go and leave with them. The question I am now asking is whether the President is aware of all the problems in this country? Number of killings everyday where a lady had to deliver a child in captivity.
Number two, I do not know what INEC is doing but I believe INEC will surprise this government. Now that Mr. President has signed the Electoral Law , INEC will surprise them during the Osun and Ekiti gubernatorial election.