Okowa has committed offence against Southern Nigeria – Clark

*Okowa, Clark

Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Elders’ Forum (PANDEF), Mr. Edwin Clark, has accused the governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of betraying Southern Nigeria and urged him to step down as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election.

Clark stated this in an open letter addressed to Okowa which he (Clark) shared to journalists at a news conference in Abuja yesterday.

In the letter dated February 2, 2023 and entitled ‘Your dictatorial government and the reign of unaccountability in Delta State,’ Clark said Okowa who is the running mate to the presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr. Atiku Abubakar will not succeed in his desire to become Nigeria’s next vice president.

“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 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,” he said.

He said Okowa’s running as the PDP vice presidential candidate was contrary to the resolution of the ‘South-south Forum’ that the presidency must shift from the North to South in 2023.

“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.

He called on the governor to apologise to his colleagues in both the All Progressives Congress and the PDP for his decision to serve as Atiku’s running mate.

Clark also alleged that Okowa directed all the delegates from Delta State not to vote for the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike or his counterpart in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel but instead vote for Atiku during the PDP presidential primaries held in 2022r.

“However, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum have resolved to oppose your joint candidature with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and this we will continue to do until election day,” he added.

The elder statesman also accused the PDP vice presidential candidate of using the money belonging to Delta to fund the PDP presidential campaign.

He gave Okowa between February and May 29 to give an account of the N250 billion 13 per cent derivation fund which he allegedly collected from the federal government or risk litigation.

Meanwhile, Okowa has responded saying the elder statesman cannot take the place of God.

“If Clark thinks he can take the place of God, we will know whose prayer God will answer.

“Is Clark still in the PDP? What was his role when the PDP decided to throw open the presidential ticket?

“The PDP in its wisdom said it will not zone to anywhere, according to Ortom-led committee, and that was why Peter Obi left the party because Obi thought the ticket will be zoned to the South-East.

“By God’s grace, Atiku/Okowa will be in government come May 29, 2023. Okowa never betrayed anybody, he sticks to the party’s decision to throw its ticket open,” spokesman for the governor, Mr. Olise Ifeajika, told Punch in an interview.


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