Former minister of information and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has said Atiku/Okowa joint ticket will not win the forthcoming general elections in the country.
He spoke on Thursday at a press conference held at his Abuja residence, describing the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration as the worst in the history of Delta State.
Clark, convener of the influential Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), also described Governor Okowa, who is the vice presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as a ‘betrayal of the southern people.’
The Ijaw leader, while saying that God will not answer Okowa’s prayers to be vice president, called on the Delta governor to immediately resign as running mate to former vice president and presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, ahead of the presidential poll for February 25.
Clark said, “Today, I say with certainty that you are more dictatorial than any other military administrator that has administered Delta state since its creation in 1991.”
The former minister also accused the Governor Okowa-led administration of alleged corruption, charging amongst other thing to give account of 13 per cent derivation paid by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was expended.
“It would be recalled in 2007, that Delta State finances were used in funding part of the election of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua through the directive of President Olusegun Obasanjo. We were therefore not surprised when you too have decided to finance Atiku Abubakar with Delta people’s money because; there is nobody to challenge you. I repeat, you will not succeed.
“I can therefore understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your own selfish ambition by wanting to land on a safer ground by accepting to serve as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“No, by God’s grace your prayer will not be answered. Perhaps, you have forgotten the gravity of the offence you have committed against the people of southern Nigeria.
“In order to cover your nefarious plot, you voluntarily induced everyone to host a meeting of the 17 Southern Governors in Government House Asaba on Tuesday 11th May 2021. You gave them a very good reception and provided them a secretariat that drafted the communiqué under your supervision, which was ably read by the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. It was indeed a bombshell, as you collectively demanded for Southern Presidency and insisted that none of you should accept to be a vice president.
“Shortly afterwards, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), which I lead, gave the governor’s declaration 100 per cent support and declared that no southern serving governors, legislators or politicians should accept to be running mate, particularly to Atiku Abubakar.
“The 17 governors later met again in Lagos and Enugu to affirm the decision taken in your Government House Asaba. Little did we know that you were using this to perfect your secret plan to be running mate to Atiku Abubakar from the very beginning.
“We are therefore not surprised that you directed all the delegates from Delta State not to vote for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State or Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who are your neighbours but instead, they voted massively for Atiku Abubakar during the PDP Presidential Primaries last year.
“It is therefore in your own interest to openly apologise to your colleagues of both APC and PDP whom you deceived in taking a decision you never believed in. After your unreserved apology to your people and Southern Nigeria, you should step down your ambition of becoming vice-presidential candidate of the PDP. There your honour lies.
“We can now understand the reason why you are never serious with your chairmanship of the South-South Governors Forum since this will definitely compromise your ambition. You never for one day joined your colleagues to condemn the atrocities being perpetrated against our people particularly the atrocities being committed by the armed AK 47 herdsmen who invaded Uvwheru, Igbuzor, Okpanam, Abraka and very lately Patani. This is because it will annoy your Northern friends.
“However, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) have resolved to oppose your joint candidature with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and this we will continue to do until election day.
“Take note, there are many issues of corruption and abuse of office perpetrated by you and your Government; this is ranging from one of your siblings partaking in the building of the Prof. Chike Edozien New Civil Service Secretariat Complex, Asaba. Because of the trust and believe we had in you at the time, we did not react to the exposing report made by Sahara Reporters on the 19th April, 2018, where he accused you of being the brain behind the fraud scandal related to the new secretariat complex in Asaba.
“Meanwhile, I have decided to concentrate on the misuse of about N250billion 13 per cent derivation fund which you collected from the federal government and corruptly misused by your administration for the purpose of which the fund was made available for.
“At this juncture, I wish to reproduce for the public knowledge, what the constitution says about the use of the 13 per cent derivation fund in section 162(2) of the Nigeria constitution, and no one has power, capacity or authority to tamper with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria except through amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly,” Chief Clark stated.