An elder statesman and former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, has asked Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor and running mate to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to withdraw from the contest.
This was contained in a letter dated February 2, 2023 and addressed to Okowa.
In a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, Clark, who is the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) said Okowa and Atiku would not win the election on the joint ticket.
He said Okowa went contrary to the resolutions of southern governors and other stakeholders that no politician from the South should accept to be a running mate to a northerner, particularly Atiku.
Clark also accused Okowa of using money belonging to Delta people to fund his campaign with Atiku, and asked the governor to publicly apologise to the people of the south and withdraw from the race.
Part of the letter reads, “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 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 non 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% 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 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.”