‘You won’t succeed with your ambition’, Clark tells Okowa
…demands apology, says you’re a traitor
…says account for N250 bn 13% derivation fund or we’ll meet in court
…Delta govt keeps mum
Elder statesman and First Republic Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, on Thursday, came so hard on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, with a prayer that he does not succeed in his ambition for Vice Presidency.
According to him, the governor should, in his own interest, openly apologise to his colleagues in both the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party he had allegedly deceived into taking a decision he never believed in.
Clark also gave Okowa between now and May 29 to give an account of the N250 billion 13 per cent derivation fund which he collected from the Federal Government as exposed by Governor Nyesom Wike of River State or face action in court.
“I wish to refresh your memory on the official figure issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the buck payment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, which your colleague of River State, Nyesom Wike publicly admitted to your annoyance.
“You have between now and May 29 2023, to give your report to the people of Delta State as per how this huge amount of money was being spent by you to your people, otherwise, we will end up in the Law Court,” he said.
Several calls, SMS and WhatsApp messages to the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, for a response were not replied to.
Clark stated these in an open letter to Okowa dated Thursday, January 2 2023, titled, ‘Your dictatorial government and the reign of unaccountability in Delta State’, obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.
The letter reads in parts, “Your Excellency, my letter will definitely come to you as a surprise because of my unusual silence over your nearly eight years of governance in Delta State.
“But my unusual silence does not mean I have kept a blind eye over some corruption and misuse of power by you.
“This is particularly, having regard to my activities during your predecessor’s reign where I openly criticised them, and I was tagged as a troublemaker by my detractors; hence I did not act for some time during your administration.
“It is my intention, therefore, to release some of this ugly information to Delta State people by your lack of sincerity, lack of honesty, and lack of transparent administration. This is especially as the Delta people are scared of you and unable to speak out against your government.
“Most of them have been reduced to mere robots either because of self-interest or personal patronage or the allowances they receive from the government.
“I am indeed very sad that some of our leaders from the State who betrayed us in Abuja during Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s presidential primaries in 2010/2011 have relocated to Delta State to perpetuate their evil design again. Let them be warned, otherwise, they will be exposed.
Betrayal of sacred trust
“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 safer ground by accepting to serve as running mate to 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, May 11, 2021.
“You gave them a very good reception and provided them with 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 Southern Presidency and insisted that none of you should accept to be a Vice President.
“Shortly afterwards, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum, 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 states 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 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 a 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 have resolved to oppose your joint candidature with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and this we will continue to do until election day.”
The nonagenarian also accused Okowa of corruption and abuse of office, ranging from one of his siblings partaking in the building of Prof. Chike Edozien New Civil Service Secretariat Complex, Asaba and vested interest in Premium Trust Bank, “which is now your government bank to the extent that the new loan you wanted to take from a consortium of banks, will be paid through Premium Trust Bank, the development which did not go down well with the banks and its allies.”
According to Clark, since they therefore withdrew and pulled out from the deal, the Delta State government now approached the Delta State House of Assembly again for a fresh loan approval of N120 billion, with Premium Trust Bank becoming the lead lender.
He said what was unclear was whether the N120 billion loan was in addition to the previous N250 billion approved by the House or a fresh one.
Clark said, “Meanwhile, I have decided to concentrate on the misuse of about N250 billion 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…”
He also reproduced a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics that oil-producing states in Nigeria received N448 billion in 2021 as 13 per cent oil derivatives, with Delta State receiving the highest amount with N141.93 billion.