Clark Cautions Sekibo over Comments on Rivers Politics

*Says contrary to ex-lawmaker’s remarks, Wike benefitted from Ijaw people

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

Elder statesman and prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has cautioned the senator who represented Rivers East Senatorial District in the 9th Senate, George Sekibo, to be cautious about his comments on the current political crisis in the oil-rich Niger Delta state.
Clark gave the advise yesterday in an open letter to the senator, a copy of which was sent to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, and Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara.

The former minister of information in the defunct First Republic said, as a 97 year-old Ijaw leader, he needed to  put things in proper context because a number of wrong information was communicated recently in Sekibo’s public interviews.
He said contrary to claims by Sekibo in his interviews, Wike had been a major beneficiary of the  goodwill of the Ijaw nation.
He said: “God has kept me alive and have seen my 97th birthday barely two weeks ago, I owe it a duty to educate you, younger ones on the true course of events as regards the politics of Rivers State, the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large, whenever the occasion calls for that.  

“I became closely associated with the politics of the Niger Delta in the early 1950s under the leadership of Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye.  As a matter of fact, we were all part of the Zikists Vanguard within the NCNC political party before Chief Dappa-Biriye went on to form the Niger Delta Congress (NDC) in 1959.
“We all moved with him and I became one of the leaders of the youth wings of that political party.

“My dear son, the Ijaw have made sacrifices for the survival of, and growth of all tribes in Rivers State, including Nyesom Wike, without expecting the beneficiaries of such Ijaw kind gestures to be excessively sublime towards them, or expect them to lay on the ground for Ijaw to step on them.
“Nyesom Wike knows, that aside from God, the biggest players who have supported him to rise to his political level today, are the Ijaw, including myself. I am sure he knows the roles I have played in his political ascendency.

“There is, therefore, no need to be apologetic to Nyesom Wike, when there is no offence. In the course of the Ijaw fighting for people of all tribes, it was almost a daily occurrence with all the political actors seeing ourselves as one,”  he stated.
As a result of his activities and roles in Rivers State affairs, fighting for equity, justice and fair play, Clark stated that former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and himself had a close relationship.

Immediately after he was sworn in as Governor of Rivers State in his first tenure, Clark stated that Amaechi came to his country home to visit in appreciation.
“As Amaechi’s government came to an end in 2015 after eight years, the Rivers Ijaw again insisted that it was their turn to take over governance in Rivers state and this time, the consensus was general among the people.  

“All Ijaw people under the leadership of four times minister, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas insisted for an Ijaw man to take the lead.  This was only fair and just and so many Ijaw sons and daughters with all manners of qualifications presented themselves.  Almost all of them had held top positions, both at the state and federal levels.
“None doubted the fact that it was the turn of an Ijaw man. Therefore, when the then First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, sent Nyesom Wike to me to intimate me of his ambition, and solicit my support, I did not give it because I felt it was against the laws of fairness and natural justice.

“I insisted that it was unfair and unsellable for another upland person to be governor again, immediately after three upland persons in succession.  

“However, Nyesom Wike was supported by the then President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife. Although this was a shock to the entire Ijaw people in Rivers State and in all the other states, for the sake of peace, we supported Wike to contest the election,” he stressed.

He said the 2015 election was particularly tough due to the emergence of the All Progressives (APC) in Nigeria and in Rivers State as a strong force.  At that time, he said Amaechi had moved from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APC and presented Dakuku Peterside, a prominent Ijaw son to contest the election.

“This notwithstanding, we abandoned our son, Dakuku and supported Wike. In his fundamental right to make a choice in 2023, Wike preferred to support Siminalayi Fubara as Governor of the State.

“Let me state that if he did not bring an Ijaw son as Governor, PDP would have lost woefully in Rivers State and an Ijaw son from any of the other political parties would have still won.

“It was therefore in his own self interest that he brought Fubara.  Nobody can say that the emergence was overdue and taken for granted already. I am therefore at a loss when I listened to your narrative regarding the unimaginable extent to which Wike has helped the Ijaw people.

“On the contrary, perhaps unknown to you, Wike has been the number one beneficiary of the goodwill of the Ijaw people,” the elder statesman maintained.

Throughout his political life, he stated that Wike  had benefited from the help of the Ijaw, stressing that it is why his disagreement with Fubara whom he had picked over and above all other Ijaw sons and daughters, is quite sad and disturbing.

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