Vote Southerner As Senate President, Clark Begs Senators-elect

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has pleaded with Senators-Elect to vote only aspirants from the Southern part of the country during the election of the presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13.

Clark made the appeal in an open letter to the Senators-elect yesterday.

The 96-year-old Ijaw leader reminded the Senators-elect to be wary of the ethno-religious diversity of Nigeria and handle the complex situation with caution.

He also pleaded with them to ignore those fanning embers of disunity for selfish reasons.

Clark hit hard on the immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, for making comments which could spark off a religious crisis in the country.Part of his letter read: “As you are about settling down to commence the business of the 10th Senate, I have some words of advice.

“To some who may not know, I am also a Senator, having served in the 2nd Republic Senate.

“Distinguished Senators, today our nation is at crossroads, and it will be disservice to my country, if I do not speak up now.

“The tension over who occupies what position in the 10th Senate, is overheating our polity, and hurting the fragile peace and unity we are currently having in our beloved country.

“Let us not make pretensions of the fact that our dear country has never experienced the sort of division that has pervaded us in the past eight years.

“It is, in your hands, to handle this fragility with utmost care; it is your duty as the legislative arm of government to produce during your term, a united country where the citizens genuinely trust one another, regard themselves as equal citizens and as brothers and sisters.  “Our division is hindering us from taking our pride of place both in the African continent and globally.

“It is time to heal our land, and in so doing, what I expect of the 10th Senate is to give the position of Senate President to a Christian Senator from the Southern part of the country. It is only fair, equitable and just, to do so.

“We have Senators Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as President and Vice President of the country, respectively. Both of them are Muslims. The Chief Justice of the Federation, Olukayode Ariwoola is a Muslim.

“Making a Muslim the Senate President will be unacceptable to any discerning mind, that thinks well of this country. As it will mean that the three arms of government are all headed by Muslims.

“It is also to be noted that the person tipped to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is equally a Muslim.

“The insensitive, irresponsible, uncouth and arrogant statement credited to Nasir El-Rufai, on his plan to impose the Islamic religion on the country, lasting for the next 20 years, is still causing bad blood.

“It is unthinkable how someone who describes himself as a leader, could utter such statements, except to cause confusion, which is very obvious that he benefits from such confusion because there is no other way of explaining such crass behaviour and statement.

“It is a shame and embarrassment that El-Rufai who has been in government since 1999 and has served with President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, should commit such seditious act that could incite violence and tear the country apart. What else is treasonable felony? What is the difference between the action of El-Rufai, and the offence that Nnamdi Kalu is accused of?”

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