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Jonathan, Odili, Amaechi No Longer In Talking Terms With Wike — Clark

A former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, has disclosed that prominent figures such as former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Rivers State Governors, Peter Odili and Rotimi Amaechi, who were instrumental in Nyesom Wike’s political ascent, are no longer on speaking terms with the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Clark made these assertions in an open letter addressed to Rivers politician, Senator George Sekibo, on Sunday.

The letter aimed to address and correct what Clark termed as misconceptions presented by Sekibo, who allegedly claimed that the Ijaws wanted Wike to bow to them.

The 97-year-old leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) used the letter to highlight the significant contributions and influence of Ijaw leaders in Rivers State politics and the broader South region.

He detailed the supportive role played by the Ijaw community in ensuring Wike’s election as the Governor of Rivers State.

Noting that he wanted to put things in their proper perspective, Clark stated, “In my over 70 years in public life. I have been a crusader for what is true, right and just. It is too late for me at this stage to withdraw from my commitment and will continue to fight for justice and the rule of law in Rivers State.

“I would therefore advise you as a politician still in your prime to learn to follow the right causes and learn from history.

“If anything, Wike owes his political life to about four people. Sen. John Mbata and Sen. Andrew Uchendu (who recommended him to Sir Peter Odili to be made Local Government Chairman), Sir Peter Odili, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and above all these people, Mrs. Patience Jonathan and her husband, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

“Unfortunately, today, all of these eminent persons that fed him are no longer on talking terms with him.”

Clark said to Sekibo: “My dear son, the Ijaws have made sacrifices for the survival of, and growth of all tribes in Rivers State, including Barr. Nyesom Wike, without expecting the beneficiaries of such Ijaw kind gestures to be excessively sublime towards them, or expect them to lay on the ground for Ijaws to step on them.

“Nyesom Wike knows, that aside from God, the biggest players who have supported him to rise to his political level today, are the Ijaws, including myself.

“I am sure he knows the roles I have played in his political ascendency. There is, therefore, no need to be apologetic to Barr. Nyesom Wike, when there is no offence.”

He recalled that after several election circles in which Ijaws were bypassed for Rivers governor, they insisted that an Ijaw must take the post in 2015, but President Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience, appealed on behalf of Wike.

Clark explained: “All Ijaw people under the leadership of four times Minister, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas insisted for an Ijaw man to take the lead. This was only fair and just and so many Ijaw sons and daughters with all manners of qualifications presented themselves. Almost all of them had held top positions, both at the state and federal levels. None doubted the fact that it was the turn of an Ijaw man.

“Therefore, when the then First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, sent Barr. Nyesom Wike to me to intimate me of his ambition, and solicit my support, I did not give it because I felt it was against the laws of fairness and natural justice. I insisted that it was unfair and unsellable for another upland person to be Governor again, immediately after three upland persons in succession.

“The next visit to my house was by some Ijaw chiefs from Rivers State including His Excellency Chief Rufus Ada George, former Governor of the State, Chief A. K. Horsfall, former Managing Director, OMPADEC, and former DG, DSS/NIA, and HRH E. M. B Opurum, Onyi ishi Etche. They insisted that President Jonathan should be invited to the meeting. “Fortunately, he responded to my call and joined. At that occasion, they emphasised that it would be very unfair for them being the majority to be shut out for a period of 16 years and another Ikwere man taking power to make it 24 years.

“President Jonathan pleaded and pleaded with us that we needed to give Wike a chance during an election year in which he was seeking to return to office at the centre.

“However, Barr. Wike was supported by the then President Jonathan and his wife. Although this was a shock to the entire Ijaw people in Rivers State and in all the other states, for the sake of peace, we supported Wike to contest the election.”

Clark recalled how Ijaws fought against the military during the 2019 governorship election to ensure Wike’s reelection as Rivers State governor, adding: “There was no time the Ijaws asked Wike to bow down and worship them all through his eight years as Governor of the State. This was because they did it for justice.”

The foremost Ijaw leader said Wike could not afford not to support Ijaw persons for the 2023 Rivers State governorship election because doing otherwise would have cost his party the state.

He said: “Within the PDP, over 10 very highly qualified Ijaw sons, including the present SSG, Dr Tammy Danagogo, a PhD holder in private and public law and a former Minister of Sports. In his fundamental right to make a choice, Wike preferred to support Siminalayi Fubara as Governor of the State.

“Recall that Barr. Wike mocked and even taunted you when you declared interest in contesting for governorship of the state. Fortunately, his choice worked for our son to become governor.

“Let me state that if he did not bring an Ijaw son as Governor, PDP would have lost woefully in Rivers State and an Ijaw son from any of the other political parties would have still won.

“It was therefore in his own self-interest that he brought Siminalayi Fubara. Nobody can say that the emergence was overdue and taken for granted already.

“I am therefore at a loss when I listened to your narrative regarding the unimaginable extent to which Wike has helped the Ijaw people.

“On the contrary, perhaps unknown to you, Wike has been the number one beneficiary of the goodwill of the Ijaw people. Throughout his political life, he has benefited from the help of the Ijaws.

“That is why his disagreement with Siminalayi Fubara whom he had picked over and above all our other sons and daughters, is quite sad and at times, disturbing.

“It is not a fight between the Ijaws and other groups. No, because this fight is actually about what is right and proper.

“He epitomised the so-called godfather-godson syndrome. This is why in this his fight with Siminalayi Fubara, some of the most active voices and supporters of the Governor are not Ijaws but actually from Wike’s own Ikwere, Ogoni and other ethnic groups.”

Clark counselled Sekibo that “Since you and your colleagues are close associates of Wike and are ready to go to any extent to promote his image which has now become totally dented on the national scene, it is time to advise him to face his work in Abuja and leave the governor to do his work.”

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