By Daniel Alabrah
Ijaw national leader and First Republic Information Minister, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, at the weekend replied northern leaders threatening fire and brimstone if President Goodluck Jonathan contests again in 2015.
The octogenarian elder statesman insisted that it is only the Nigerian people that can decide the President’s fate if he decides to run and not any section of the country.
Clark spoke in Lagos on Friday night at the investiture of Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon Kingsley Kuku, as the Maritime Man of the Year.
The event was organised by Maritime Media Limited, publishers of Shipping World Magazine.
He upbraided a section of the political class in the North, saying their attitude “shows that the region is born to rule over others in the country.”
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. There is no second-class citizen in this country and that is why I sometimes find it very difficult to believe that our northern brothers are still carrying on as if they are more Nigerian than other tribes.
“I think the best thing for anybody to do is to remain patient and honourable if after 40 years of being in the saddle in this country, power leaves you and goes to another section of the country. Does it not look worrisome that someone will one day wake up and threaten fire simply because power has shifted away from his region?
“Even though I do not want to talk about 2015 now because the time is still far, the North should know that only Nigerians have the power to stop anyone from becoming president. If Jonathan wants to run today, the North cannot stop him because apart from the fact that he has the right to run, the North should equally know that they are not born to rule over others in the country.
“Today, there is Boko Haram in the North and they blame it on the present government. It is wrong in my thinking because the reasons for the uprising of the sect did not start just yesterday. They have been there for over 40 years; and who was in power? The North. They should blame themselves for this because they did not develop the North for the unborn children of yesterday, who today are the restive youths in the region.
“Let it be known that there is a great difference between Boko Haram and the Niger Delta struggle, which some people call militancy. They are things no one should compare because the backgrounds for both are different,” Clark said.
He equally defended the maritime security concession granted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to Global West Fleet Specialists Limited, which is reportedly owned by a former warlord and leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo).
“If someone like Tompolo, for instance, is given the concession for maritime security in the country and people complain, they are only insulting our psyche in the Niger Delta. If Tompolo, who lives on water, cannot be allowed to secure where he lives, is it in the North that he can be given such a concession? We are tired of these intrigues where whatever that is due to our people face unnecessary
blackmail,” Clark said
The event attracted some of the prominent former militant ‘Generals’ in the Niger Delta such as Ateke Tom, Ebikabowei Victor-Ben (Boyloaf), Ezekiel Akpasibewei (Deadly Underdog), Bibopreye Ajube (Shoot-at-Sight) and Eris Paul (Ogunbos)