A group emerges in Abuja to ensure retention of South-South presidency
A former Information Minister, Edwin Clark, on Wednesday said President Goodluck Jonathan was reluctant to accept the vice presidential slot of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, when he was approached to take the position in 2007.
He said when the idea of becoming the running mate to late President Umaru Yar’Adua was broached to Mr. Jonathan, then Bayelsa State Governor, the latter’s first reaction was that he would not take the position.
Mr. Clark, a chieftain of the PDP, who like Mr. Jonathan is Ijaw, stated this at a ceremony where he was honoured as grand patron of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chapter of South-South Community leader, chiefs and elders.
Explaining how the vice presidential slot was zoned to the South-South geo-political zone, the octogenarian said in 2004, leaders of the zone made a declaration that the successor to former President Olusegun Obasanjo must come from there.
He alleged that Mr. Obasanjo, who he claimed imposed Mr. Yar’Adua on Nigeria in 2007 as president, was opposed to a president from the oil-rich zone.
Mr. Clark warned Nigerians opposed to the re-election of Mr. Jonathan to desist from doing so because they would be seen to be opposed to God who made him (Jonathan) president in the first place.
He also warned those threatening the disintegration of the country because of the president’s perceived re-election bid to desist from doing so because of the divine connection to his emergence as Nigeria’s leader.
He insisted that Nigeria’s constitution allowed the president to re-contest and that as somebody who had practiced law for 50 years, he was always amused when educated people said he (Jonathan) had been sworn-in twice and therefore could not run again.
“Any person fighting Jonathan is fighting God. Whatever God said you will be that is what you will be and whoever wants to remove him (Jonathan) God will fight him,” he said.
“Under the grace of God, Jonathan became the acting President and later President. What is yours nobody can take it from you!” he said. “Some people said that they must rule and if Jonathan runs there will be bloodshed. Majority of the northerners believe in Jonathan and want him to continue. Whoever wants to split this country will fail.”
Reflecting on the political leadership of the Yoruba, the octogenarian said a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu was only pretending to be the leader of the race.
According to him, since the demise of the former Premier of Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo, and a former Ondo State Governor, Adekunle Ajasin, the Yoruba race had not had a leader.
Earlier, Bello Premier, who spoke on behalf of the South-South leaders, chiefs and elders, said the South-south community in Abuja was bedevilled by disunity, individualistic tendencies, discrimination, neglect and blatant disregard by authorities of the FCT and local government administration.
Mr. Premier explained that the leaders constituted an interim executive and Board of Trustees in order to forge a common front. He said they would hold elections into the bodies in April.
He said they had taken up the challenge of re-organising themselves into a formidable body to confront the enormous challenges ahead of the general elections and to ensure that the South-South retained the presidency in 2015.