Leadership (Abuja)

25 January 2013

Nigeria: 2015 - Obasanjo, Governors Plot to Stop Jonathan - Clark

Elder Statesman and former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, has spoken out against the activities of the governors’ forum, saying ... ( Resource: Governors' Forum Is Undemocratic - Edwin Clark

Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday said that it would have been more honourable for former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo to sit back home as a former president and political leader whose home should be a political pilgrim rather than parade himself all over the country as an indispensable ruler and party leader.

Clark, who made the comment while addressing press conference on the state of the nation yesterday, alleged that Obasanjo had opted to join forces with the Nigerian Governors' Forum which was presently behaving like a party opposing the federal government and the 2015 electoral interest of the sitting president.

"Obasanjo now pays instant homage to any governor that speaks ill of President Goodluck Jonathan. He is causing confusion in the polity rather than sitting back at home as a former president and political leader whose home should be a political pilgrim," Clark said.

In a letter he addressed to the Governors' Forum which he made available to journalists during the press conference, Clark told the governors that their forum had become a threat to the peace and stability of Nigeria.

"My dear governors, today I am over 85 years old. I have a slogan which is that when one is 70 years and above, he is at the Departure Lounge, waiting for the Boarding Pass and, therefore, such person must have the courage and wisdom to speak out one's mind on any issue affecting the destiny of the country," he asserted.

Clark accused the governors of acting with impunity in serially and deliberately breaching both the nation's constitution and that of the PDP.

"The Forum has now become a threat to the peace and stability of Nigeria. Most of the governors today are more dictatorial than the then military governors," Clark said.

The elder statesman declared that this had to stop, "because our democracy is now resting on the keg of gun powder. The governors have to choose between to be or not to be with democracy in Nigeria."

Clark lamented that things were so bad in the PDP that the party could no longer hold its convention in the traditional way.

"The ugly truth is that, today, the PDP as a political party is no longer in control of its various organs and, for some time now, proper elections at congresses and conventions have not been held democratically due to the imposition of unqualified members on the good members of the party, contravening Section 87(4) of the Electoral Act 2011(as amended) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act.

"The PDP governors now regard themselves as the leaders of the party, using their own structures to entrench corruption, lack of internal democracy, imposition of candidates within the structures of the party over the recognized structures as entrenched in the party's constitution," he said.

The Ijaw leader contended that the continuous imposition of candidates in total disregard to the provisions of the party's constitution was weakening the party's cohesion and harmony, and destroying its peace, unity, solidarity and democratic values.

"Worse still," he said, "the quality of governance in most of the PDP controlled governments is very poor, thereby jettisoning the aims and objective of the 1998/1999 founding fathers, which is the propagation of democratic ideals in the Nigerian polity."

He further decried the absence of unity in the rural party.

According to him, "It (PDP) is fragmented everywhere. An example is Ogun State where a former president of the nation under the flagship of the party and, until recently, the BoT chairman, lost election in the state due to fictionalization of the party.

"Currently, there are three factions of the party in the state; one is headed by the former president of the nation, the next one is headed by Chief Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of the state, and the third is headed by Buruji Kashamu."

Clark lamented that the state secretariat of the party was under lock and key at the moment, yet Obasanjo "is parading himself all over the country as an indispensable ruler and party leader, causing confusion rather than sitting back home as a former president and political leader whose home should be a political pilgrim."

"The PDP members at the grassroots no longer control the party and the power of the party no longer belongs to the people. The people have lost the power reluctantly, accepting the slogan: 'Power to the Governors.'

According to him, the over-bearing influence of the Governors' Forum in the polity has become a matter of serious concern.

"The activities of the PDP Governors Forum in particular have become very disturbing and calls for urgent correction as it is fast eroding the authority and the supremacy of the party and posing a serious threat to our democracy.

"The Forum has become a powerful tool in the hands of the governors who now use it to pursue and promote their individual and collective interests with little or no regard to the letter and spirit of the party's constitution and supremacy."

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