Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has warned those threatening to make Nigeria ungovernable if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015 to desist from such undemocratic comments.
He stressed that neither Ijaw nor the South-south geo-political zone can make Jonathan president again in 2015.
Clark said what was clear was that nobody would deny Jonathan the right to seek his party’s nomination for re-election.
He stressed that the decision to return Jonathan to office was purely that of all Nigerians from all sections and ethnic groups and not that of the Ijaws.
The Ijaw leader noted that Jonathan had maintained that it was too early to be campaigning towards the 2015 general election because he did not wish to be distracted from delivering on the electoral promises he made to Nigerians in 2011.
Addressing at a press conference in Warri, Delta State yesterday, Clark noted that the president had also instructed all federal government functionaries and elected persons on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to engage in premature electioneering, but lamented that certain individuals within the party and those who are holding influential political positions have apparently failed to heed the President’s advice.
He accused the president’s kinsman and Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, of flouting the directive and heating up the polity in Delta State, following his reported declaration of his governorship ambition during a recent function at Ovu in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State; an action that has drawn the ire of certain individuals, who tend to believe Orubebe had the backing of Mr. President and Clark.
He advised the people of Delta State to resist all corrupt and over-ambitious persons who are trying to benefit from the ethnic sentiments they were attempting to whip up, stressing that Orubebe was not qualified by any stretch of imagination to represent Ijaw even if the governorship was zoned to the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
He said the injury was still fresh on not only Delta State but Nigeria in general regarding the fact that a former democratic governor of the state “is serving a jail term abroad for corruption.”
“For the purpose of argument, if the Ijaws area asked by Delta State PDP for the Ijaws to produce a governorship candidate, it will not be Mr. Godsday Orubebe, and he is fully aware of that,” the ex-information minister pointed out.
He, therefore, called on the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to immediately wade into the governorship ambition of Orubebe and other party members’ apparent decision to jump the gun concerning the 2015 general election.
“Several litigations have resulted from one man’s desire for the number one political office in the state and because some individuals were bent on benefiting from the orchestrated wrangling in the party.
“It is my humble expectation that the PDP National Chairman will call Mr. Godsday Orubebe, to order and advise him to withdraw theses court cases so as to allow peace to reign in the party and in Delta State,” Clark said.
Clark also lampooned the Speaker of the state House of Assembly over his reported governorship ambition and accused him of abandoning a multi-billion naira electricity-generation contract allegedly awarded to him by the state government.
“Another person I learnt wants to be the governor of Delta State is Mr. Victor Ochei, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. What kind of country is this? This young man, a contractor who got a mega contract of N27 billion contract for an Independent Power Project (IPP) at Oghara or Oghareki; he has collected N18 billion from the Delta State Government, but nothing has happened.”
He then wondered why the EFCC, which promised it was investigating the matter following petitions sent to it and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) about two years ago was yet to come out with its finding as the situation of the project has remained even as at May 3.
Clark further said: “Therefore, I wish to advice the Godsday Orubebe and Victor Ochei, to give peace a chance and not to use their respective position to intimidate and cause confusion among the people. When the PDP gives the go-ahead for aspirants to indicate their interests, the people of Delta State will then decide who will be their governor and where he will come from.
“Meanwhile, the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is keeping to his own side of the (state PDP) reconciliation and we also have a duty to support him.”
He warned Nigerians to stop subjecting the name and office of Mr. President to any form of ridicule on account of perceived inadequacies of certain individuals in his government or from his ethnic group.
“Finally, I strongly appeal to those detractors who have resorted to abuse or insult of Mr. President, the Ijaws and me for no justifiable reason to desist from it. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not an Ijaw President. He was elected by the entire people of Nigeria. He should not be held responsible for the actions of another man.”
Meanwhile, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, who was at the press conference with other leaders of the PDP, said the leadership of the party fully endorsed the position of Clark on the need to eschew heating up the system unnecessarily.
Among PDP leaders at the occasion were Chief Godwin Ogbetuo, Prof. Omamurhomu Solomon Okobiah, former state chairman, Chief Pius Sinebe and Mr. Enuenwosu Anthony.