…says Southern politicians shouldn’t accept VP slot
Elder statesman and leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, raised concern over the growing number of presidential aspirants from Southern Nigeria, describing it as madness and unrealistic.
According to him, most of the aspirants from the South that have declared interest to contest the presidential seat in 2023 were playing double games.
Saturday PUNCH reported that presidential aspirants from the South who have either declared interest or obtained forms were Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi; former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba; former Governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; and the only female aspirant, Uju Kennedy.
Others were Pastor Tunde Bakare; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Minister of Labour and productivity, Chris Ngige; Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Ihechukwu China; former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; and former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
Others included the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.
Clark, in an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, said it was not a normal situation.
He said, “It is madness. If I’m to be realistic, they are not serious; particularly the Southerners from the South-West and the South-South. There are some people that have gone to be bottle bags to play double games. So, when it comes to where we say no, some people would come out to say yes we are contesting. So they know why some of them are there.”
Clark, who would be 95 years old on May 25, wondered where aspirants from the ruling APC were getting N100 million to pay for the forms considering the level of hunger in the country.
“You have everybody in Nigeria where there is hunger, where there is lack of employment, where there is kidnapping going on every day, where children cannot go to school, where the economy is going down, these people were able to mobilise N100 million to pick forms.
“So, if these governors and ministers use their salaries, I don’t think they have it because they must eat in their houses, so also the governors. But they went back telling Nigerians that their friends contributed money for them,” he said.
Clark expressed shock that Oshiomhole recently declared to contest the presidential seat when it was known to all that he was supporting Tinubu.
The nonagenarian said he was also surprised that Amosun also declared for President in spite of the fact that Osinbajo was from his state and he’s also in the race.
He added, “So you come back to the South-South, Nyesom Wike wants to be President of Nigeria, Rotimi Amaechi wants to be President of Nigeria, both of them are in small Ikwere. You can imagine what is going on.
“I understand Timipre Sylvia would soon declare. Meanwhile, people are asking me questions about Goodluck Jonathan and they are in the same Senatorial zone in Bayelsa State. So they know what they are doing.
“And for the Igbos, some of them, I encouraged them to come out. Even if it’s zoned to the South-East, the whole of Nigeria will vote for them, and would take part in the primary.”
Speaking on the issue of zoning, Clark stressed that they had warned Southern politicians not to accept running mate positions if the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party refuse to zone the Presidency to the South.
He said, “We strongly warn our politicians, former governors, ministers, senators and so forth not to accept a running mate position from any northern candidate because they cannot do without us and we cannot do without them.
“That will show how serious we are and anybody who offers himself as a running mate will be regarded as the most unpatriotic and a man who has sold his own side of the country and not worthy of being respected and honoured.”
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