Elder statesman and former federal commissioner for information, Edwin Clark, has urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to step down as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2023 general election.
Mr Clark said this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that Mr Okowa’s running as the PDP vice presidential candidate, was contrary to the resolution of the ‘Southsouth Forum’ that the presidency must shift from the North to South in 2023.
“Mr Okowa has betrayed his colleagues in the Southern Governors Forum and the South generally.
“This man has betrayed us by accepting to be the running mate of Atiku. Without me, it would have been difficult for him to become governor of Delta.
“What shocked me was that our governor without discussing with anyone of us was working with a presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, without our knowing.
“This man has betrayed us. We all agreed, we held a series of meetings that this man had betrayed us. We can no longer trust him,” he said.
Mr Clark, who is the Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), also said in a letter to Mr Okowa dated 2 February, the governor and Atiku will lose the presidential election.
He accused the governor of using the money belonging to the state to fund the PDP campaign and asked him to publicly apologise to the entire people of Southern Nigeria.
“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.
“I can therefore understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your own selfish ambition, wanting to land on 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 communique under your supervision, which was 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 the 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 governors declaration 100% support and declared that no Southern serving governor, 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 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.
“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.”