Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ijaw National Congress, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has written a protest letter condemning former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his alleged hatred for the Niger Delta region.
Clark lambasted Obasanjo, stating that the latter betrayed the interest of the Niger Delta region when he was the military Head of State.
According to him, the former President had only recently visited him at his residence last week, and showed no discontent about the Niger Delta and its people with regards to the struggle for resource control, but had embarked on verbal outbursts, at a summit organised by the Global Peace Foundation in Abuja.
Clark thanked Obasanjo for stopping over at his Asokoro residence last week Monday to check on his well-being adding that they both engaged in a discussion that bothers on national issues and those issues that were very disturbing, but wondered what went wrong within a few days that made Obasanjo descend heavily on the Niger Delta people.
He said, the discussion, though, personal to the two of them, was never about Niger Delta, and neither did Obasanjo express any ill feelings about Niger Delta people, before going to a summit to lash out at Niger Delta people.
Clark noted, “Your Excellency will recall that a summit was organised by a group, Global Peace Foundation, on Monday, 13th December 2021, the same day you came to visit me, to which various groups and individuals were invited, and Your Excellency happened to be one of the invitees.
“I was equally invited. But because as Your Excellency knows, I am recuperating from an ailment, and since I have been told by my doctors to take things easy, I asked His Excellency, Ambassador Godknows Igali, a retired Permanent Secretary with the Federal Civil Service, and a former Ambassador, to kindly represent me at the Summit together with Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, a retired Director with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Engr. Ebipamowei Wodu, the Secretary-General, Ijaw National Congress (INC).”
He expressed shock at watching Chief Obasanjo’s outburst in a video which he described as unbecoming of his standing in the society.
He said Obasanjo’s outburst was a huge disappointment to those present at the meeting as his hate for the people of Niger Delta who dared to agitate for resource control was obvious, specifically, when he interjected Engr. Wodu and Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, each time they tried to put the interest of the Niger Delta in proper perspective.
According to him, he has known Obasanjo for 46 years, even before he became the Military Head of State, wondering why he continued to push for the marginalisation of the region.
“Your Excellency, we have known ourselves for several decades, since 1975, when we served as Federal Commissioners (Ministers) in the cabinet of General Yakubu Gowon’s government, together with His Excellency, late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, late General Murtala Mohammed, amongst others,” Clark said.
Clark said the agitation for resource control has been there even when it was earlier captured in the 1960 Constitution, wondering why Obasanjo has been consistently working against the region that produces the nation’s economic mainstay.
Pointing out Section 140 of the 1960 Constitution, according to Daily Trust, Chief Clerk insisted that natural resources found in regions were controlled by the people of the regions in the country.
“As a former Military Head of State of Nigeria, 1976-1979, and later a democratically elected President of the country, 1999-2007, I am certain Your Excellency knows that the principle of derivation has always been top on the agenda of our national discourse, before and after the country’s Independence.”
Clark said Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Western region and Sir Ahmadu Bello of the Northern region were able to develop their regions above the Eastern region as a result of the practice of the principle of derivation.
“The Eastern Region did not progress like the other two regions. From the benefits of the practice of derivation principle, the Western Region introduced free education, built universities, the first Television in Africa, among other economic and social infrastructure, including hiring at the time, an Israeli Company, Soleh Boneh, to develop roads and other infrastructure.”
He pointed out that the derivative principle continued till the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in 1956 which the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, sent a congratulatory message to the then Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara.
The sharing formula at the time was 50% of the revenue for the owning State, while 20% and 30% goes to the Federal government and distributable pool, for sharing among the regions, including the contributing region.
“Your Excellency, as you are very much aware, this was the situation for sharing the fiscal assets of the federation among the regions of the country until the 1966 coup that suspended the Constitution.
“The Cocoa House and the Liberty Stadium all in Ibadan, the Western House in Lagos and the Oodua group of companies, one of the biggest companies in Nigeria, are solely owned by the Western Region.
“One very disappointing thing that happened in the whole of this, was when the Midwest Region, to which I belonged, was created out of the Western Region, the Western Region, bluntly refused to share assets with the Midwest Region on the reason that the Midwest Region did not contribute anything to the Western Region and its economy.”
He explained that the northern region was well coordinated in the joint ownership of assets compared to the South East region, a situation that badly affected them at the time.
He further lamented that the 36 States of the Federation go to Abuja monthly to share oil revenues made from the ruins of the Niger Delta region.
Guber Polls: Diri Charges Appointees, Others On Democracy Defence …Says APC’s Sylva Failed As Ex-Gov, Minister
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has charged his appointees and members of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) to stand firm in defence of democracy at the November 11 Governorship election in the state.
He also called on local and international lovers of democracy to show keen interest in the forthcoming elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states in order to ensure a free, fair and transparent process.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Diri, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, said Senator Diri spoke during separate meetings held with the PDP State Working Committee at its secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital, and at another with his appointees at the late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa.
The Governor expressed optimism that with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ensuring transparency and fairness, and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) working optimally, votes in the November election would count.
The Bayelsa helmsman, who decried the threats of violence by one of the governorship candidates in the election, urged politicians to play by the rules in order to deepen democracy and not throw the state or country into crisis.
He urged party members to be steadfast and committed towards ensuring victory for the PDP in the election.
“I call on all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and Africa to put their eyes on the elections in these three states – Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi – so that we can have peaceful, transparent, credible and free elections.
“If we truly love our state, this is the time to stand firm. It is the time to know the difference between those who have character, integrity and those who are like commodities in the market to be purchased.
“Beware of commodity buyers during election. Let us not turn ourselves to commodities. Let us be good party men”, he said.
Speaking on his major challenger from the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, he said he failed as a former Governor of the state and as a Minister.
He also stated that Sylva, as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, connived with others to take away Bayelsa’s only oil asset, the Atala oil field.
Diri enjoined lovers of the state to reject the APC candidate to ensure continuity of the developmental projects of his administration.
He restated his call on the Federal Government to work with him to find a lasting solution to the Bassambiri Community crisis being ochestrated by some members of the opposition party in the state.
Earlier, in a motion moved by the Senator representing Bayelsa Central, Senator Konbowei Benson, and seconded by the House of Representatives member for the Ogbia Federal Constituency, Mitema Obordor,. the party’s working committee passed a vote of confidence on the Governor, saying he has performed outstandingly.
The committee also ratified the nomination of Oyisor Didi as the party’s new youth leader.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Mr. Solomon Agwana, charged the party’s faithful to ensure that PDP wins in all the 2,244 polling units in the state in the governorship election.
Also, the governor’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, High Chief Collins Cocodia, said given his remarkable performance in office, Senator Diri has earned the trust and confidence of the people and that victory was assured.
In his goodwill message, the PDP National Financial Secretary, Daniel Woyengikuro, said Governor Diri is a great leader that the party at the national level holds in high esteem.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
Obi Unveils LP Candidate’s Manifesto, Campaign Office In Bayelsa …Tasks Citizens On Electing Responsible, Accountable Leaders
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 Presidential election, Mr Peter Obi, midweek, inaugurated the campaign office of the the Bayelsa State Governorship candidate of the LP for the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election, Eng. Udengs Eradiri in Yenagoa, the State capital.
The Tide reports that Mr Obi, who also unveiled the manifesto of the candidate, christened “People, Education, Agriculture and Power (PEAP)”agenda, noted that the bane of the nation’s underdevelopment and poverty was because Nigeria, rather than being a production economy, has drifted to a consumption economy in the comity of states.
He reiterated that the only way out of the worrisome situation was for the citizenry to hold leaders accountable through unbiased investigation into the antecedents surrounding their emergence.
He also said all campaign promises and manifestos of candidates standing for any election in the nation be subjected to citizens scrutiny prior to, and in the post elections era.
Obi also described the state as the cradle of the hydrocarbon industry, maintaining that upon his arrival to the state, there was no commensurate development which has been made to bear by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“After Sokoto, Bayelsa State is ranked the second poorest state in Nigeria. That’s because the Federal Government has not been fair to the state. Nigeria hasn’t really been fair to Bayelsa State.
“Driving from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, to here in Bayelsa State, I’ve not seen any good road.
“Last year, this State was completely flooded. It was under water, and so I visited this State and found out that the Federal Government totally neglected this State. Nothing came from them.
“For over 67years the Federal Government has been exploring and exploiting crude oil in this state and there’s no good road leading to this state.
“If for the over sixty years that they’ve been drilling oil here, the Federal Government has done something, even if it a was just a kilometer of road, by now there would have been good road to this state.
“The only alternative to change this bad scenario is to vote for Eng. Udengs Eradiri, the Labour Party’s governorship candidate, come November 11th, 2023″, he said.
Also speaking, the National Chairman of the Party, Barr. Julius Abure, said the national Secretariat of the party and its presidential candidate decided to come personally to campaign for its governorship candidate, and unveil his manifesto because the party believes in his candidature.
Abure noted that the party was poised to winning the polls, saying Eradiri was the most qualified and competent amongst all the candidates from all the parties which have fielded candidates for the elections.
“The Labour Party candidate, Eradiri, is the only candidate contesting the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship elections with a blueprint. APC and PDP don’t have a blueprint.
“Remember that our Presidential candidate, Obi won the 2023 Presidential elections. I advise you to vote and defend your votes for the Labour Party governorship candidate, Udengs Eradiri”, Abure said.
Meanwhile, Eradiri reiterated his willingness to partner youths and other well meaning individuals towards the rapid socio-economic development and transformation of the State from its current ranking as a poor state to a wealthy state.
He stated that he would build technology and manufacturing hubs in the state if elected as Governor, come November 11th, 2023.
The Tide gathered that the Bayelsa State Labour Party’s governorship candidate, Eng. Eradiri, was one time President of the Pan-Ijaw youth body, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC Worldwide), and was also a former Commissioner in the Bayelsa State Ministries of Youths Development, and Environment.
“We’d build export hubs in our airport, and we’d begin to export our commodities here in the state to Europe and other parts of the world, thereby creating jobs for our unemployed youths and creating wealth for our people.
“We’d make Bayelsa State the best in Education and Power, Agriculture. We’d put our people, that’s you and you and all of us first in our plans and programmes. We’ld make our health sector work. We’d infact have the best health system and education system in the nation, West Africa and all over the African continent.
“We don’t have money to give to voters on election day. But we know they’d bring you money. That’s your money, and not theirs. But just collect the money and vote for Udengs Eradiri and Benjamin Nathus as Governor and Deputy Governor, come November 11th, 2023, and your life, this state will never be the same again”, Eradiri said.
Speaking earlier, in his opening remarks, the State Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr Eneyi Zidougha, thanked Bayelsans for having confidence on the party’s gubernatorial candidate.
He stated that amongst nine aspirants that contested for the party’s gubernatorial primaries, Eradiri emerged victorious because he was the best and most competent for the position, noting that the party was going to win the November 11th, 2023 polls with landslide victory.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
Address Erosion Problem In Etsako, Rep Member Urges FG
Rep. Dekeri Anamero (APC-Edo), representing Etsako Federal Constituency, has urged the Federal Government to address the gully erosion ravaging the constituency.
Anamero made the call during an assessment visit to the Jattu-Fugar-Agenebode Road cut off by gully erosion.
He said the erosion had cut off Etsako West Local Government from Etsako Central and East local Government Area, which are part of the constituency.
Anamero described the situation as worrisome while calling for urgent action by government.
“I want to deeply express my concern about what you have been passing through.
“All I can appeal for is to exercise little patient, I want to assure you as your representative that I will not stop until succor is brought to the people of Etsako Federal Constituency”, Anamero said.
The lawmaker disclosed that officials from the ecological agency had visited the site and called on government and relevant authorities to expedite action on the fixing of the road and other gully sites in the constituency.
“I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government to pay attention to the plight of my people towards addressing the menace of gully erosion threatening my constituency”, he said.
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