Delta Govt: Clark’s Attack on Okowa Political, Undemocratic

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

The Delta State Government has described the recent criticism of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, as political and undemocratic, urging him to concern himself more with what actions and issues that promote peace and unity of Nigeria.

The government expressed dismay that the respected senior citizen of Delta State, who has played various roles in governance and affairs of this country could not maintain dignified silence even if under pressure to unnecessarily heat up the polity in Delta State and the country at large with spurious claims as contained in his recent open letter.

Delta State Commissioner for Information and a spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Charles Aniagwu, stated this while speaking with newsmen in Asaba yesterday on Clark’s call on the governor to resign as vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Aniagwu, who noted that Clark had, over the years, built a reputation of integrity and forthright leader within the Nigerian political space, ought not allow himself to be dragged into the murky waters of partisan politics especially in this season of electioneering.

He assured that the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, were prepared to keep to the terms of the peace accord mid-wifed by very eminent Nigerians including the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and the revered Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah and, indeed, other members of the National Peace Accord Committee. 

He stressed that the promotion of peace was necessary to achieve the much-needed development in the country, advising Pa Clark against sacrificing that national desire for anything less noble.

‘’It might be pardonable for the young ones to talk about the North and South dichotomy, but Edwin Clark has been around even before the Civil War, and he knows the geographic composition of Nigeria with brothers and sisters criss-crossing the North and the South. 

‘’By tradition, not by law, the choice of a running mate has always cut across the other zones different from that of the presidential candidate. In this regard, delegates of the PDP overwhelmingly elected Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 

‘’In fulfillment of the constitutional provisions and after wide consultations, saw that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would be able to add value to his quest to lead Nigeria out of the woods and have a much more united country.”

Aniagwu recalled that when former President Goodluck Jonathan sought re-election in 2015 to the consternation of the North, his running mate, Namadi Sambo, was not embarrassed by the North for supporting a southerner.

‘’So, for our elder statesman to cast aspersions on Governor Okowa and label him a betrayer cannot be in the interest of nationalism. If someone must be patriotic, as Pa Clark has shown over time, his recent comments do not suggest the way for our continued unity. 

‘’We also know that Pa Clark has made his choice in this election. First, he took sides with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, even when the last President of the PDP (Goodluck Jonathan) was from the old Rivers State (Rivers and Bayelsa). 

‘’If we are talking about equity and justice, could it have been fair that the power coming back to the south would have still come to the same state, even when we have 17 states in the south? 

‘’Are we looking for a regional president or one who would govern the entire country? So, elders and everybody must try as much as possible to bury their sentiments under the need for us to be nationalistic. 

‘’We need a united country that can survive beyond the election and build for us to call home even beyond the elections. So, any comment that fuels such division cannot be in the interest of current and coming generations.

‘’We advise our elder statesman, whom we respect very well, not to allow the politics of sentiments to injure his prominent position. As an elder statesman, the integrity and sanctity of our constitution are fundamental. The unity of this country should be paramount. 

‘’Therefore, those that should know in the categories of Edwin Clark cannot, because of the sentiments and conveniences of today, push an agenda that is inimical to the unity paramount for us to move as one country.”

However, Aniagwu said that the PDP will continue to accord Chief E.K.Clark enormous respect but nonetheless insist that elder statesmen channeled their energies and utterances to promoting unity and the peace in this country.

“As an administration here in Delta and as a political party the PDP, our Presidential Campaign Council has enormous respect for Chief Edwin Clark on many grounds as an elder statesman, as somebody who has played very wonderful roles in our country as a former minister; and, as a Nigerian allowed by the constitution to have an opinion on issues. So, we have enormous respect for him and that respect we will continue to give to him,” he noted.

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