Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
Elder statesman and former minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, on Thursday took serious exception to the monster which the Nigeria Governors Forum has become and the group’s offending activities, which the Ijaw leader insists, are more dictatorial than the military regimes in Nigeria’s recent past.
The elder statesman upbraided the governors for constituting and acting as an opposition party to the federal government with some of their activities driving the country to madness but which the governors care nothing about, provided that they achieve the purpose. He accused Peoples Democratic Party governors in the Nigeria Governors Forum of exerting over bearing influence on the party and hijacking the party’s supremacy.
In an open letter titled “Enough Is Enough” and addressed to the Forum, Chief Clark said that he had made enquiries about the governors counterparts in the United States of America and found out that an association called National Governors Association does exist but that their existence and operations. Are practiced and operated within the confines of the law and had never been a thorn in the flesh of the country even though it was formed as far back as 1908. The association is not politically ambitious as the Nigeria Governors Forum, he asserted.
Clark noted that when the NGF was formed under the chairmanship of then Enugu state governor Chimaroke Nnamani who later handed over to former governor of Akwa Ibom, Chief Victor Attah and later on to former Edo state governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, the forum behaved very much as its counterpart in the USA but that the NGF took a bad turn under the leadership of former governor of Kwara state and now senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bukola Saraki who he accused of using the platform of the forum to achieve his Presidential ambition.
Clark faulted the forum for its failure to have used its peer review mechanism to prevail on any of its erring members to do what is right noting that the forum made no comments about Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta state all through his trial and conviction on corruption and money laundering charges both in Nigeria and in London neither did the forum condemn their Sokoto state colleague who was accused of beating up a follow a fellow Nigerian worker in this civilized world.
He pointed out that the NGF had no reason to hold President Goodluck Jonathan to ransom over the gubernatorial struggles in Bayelsa state between Chief Timipre Sylva and Seriake Dickson which made the gubernatorial contest in the state to assume national dimension as a result of the forum’s interference.
Clark further pointed out a recent action of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP where 10 of the members met to take a decision even when the national chairman of the party was not available and did not authorize his deputy to act for him and insisted that the act clearly showed that there was a problem in the party. He rapped the governors forum for arrogantly supporting one side of the dispute instead of joining other party leaders to resolve the problem.
The Ijaw leader also blamed the controversy over the Adamawa state chapter of the party on the NGF which declared an “unholy support” for the governor of the state, Governor Murtala Nyako to the point of closing its eyes at Nyako’s ambition of nominating his wife, Justice Binta Nyako, as the Chief Judge of the state. He noted that the problem in Adamawa state is as a result of the selfish interest of three leaders of the PDP in the state wanting their sons to be the next governor of the state. These persons, according to Chief Clark are the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the state Governor, Murtala Nyako and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, while the majority of Adamawa people look on helplessly.
He blamed the wrangling in the party on former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he accused of using his military antecedents, indoctrination and perceptual conceptualization to obliterate the known practice of the distinction of the party chairmanship with the leadership, and office of the President. Obasanjo, he stated, prevented the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi from becoming the chairman of PDP on the ground that Awoniyi was Yoruba like himself but preferred Engr. Barnabas Gemade with young Audu Ogbeh, who used to be a minister in Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government.
Obasanjo, he further stated, singularly sacked the party’s national chairman over the actions of his domestic aide, Sen. Andy Uba whose younger brother kidnapped then governor of Anambra state and imposed Sen. Ahmadu Ali as the new national chairman of the party with little or no resistance frpom the party leadership. The party’s supremacy was subsequently punctured and destroyed.
He observed that the over bearing influence of the NGF in the polity has become a matter of serious concern noting that the activities of the forum’s PDP members in particular has become very disturbing and calls for urgent correction as it is fast eroding the authority and supremacy of the party as well as posing a serious threat to Nigeria’s democracy having become a powerful tool in the hands of the governors who now use the forum to promote their individual and collective interests with little or no regards to the letter and spirit of the party’s constitution and supremacy.
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