Delta 2023: E. K. Clark Blows Hot On Zoning, Ibori – Okowa Faceup, Imposition Of Candidate, Sundry Issues

by bottlez
E. K. Clark Delta 2023,E. K. Clark

The man best regarded as the oldest politician in Delta State, the patriarch of the Ijaw nation, Chief E. K Clark has added his voice to the raging Delta State gubernatorial zoning controversy. In a no holds bar interview with Vanguard reporter, the elder states man talked about, the zoning controversy, the Ibori- Okowa face-up, imposition of candidates and many other issues. Excerpt:

On Zoning

He said, “in Delta State zoning has not been the case with previous experience. For instance, the Urhobo ethnic nationality, politically known as Delta Central, has on various occasions violated the national principle stipulated by the PDP convention, by participating in every Gubernatorial elections in the State since 1999, including Chief Edevbie, who contested with Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015. He was sponsored by UPU and the then Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.
In 1999, it was an all-commers primary contest including Prof Sam Oyovbiare, Joshua Elueme, and others. Chief Ibori won with our support. Because of the role I played, I was appointed the Chairman of Chief Ibori’s flag-off campaign in Oghara in 1999. I still have the invitation card with me. Thereafter, I continued my support for him, when he won the gubernatorial election against Engr. Moses Kragha.
I also remember in 2006, the Delta Southern Senatorial zone made up of the Itsekiris, Isokos and Ijaws formed an organization known as the 3 ‘I’s to produce a successor to Ibori.
The leaders of the three ethnic groups then were the Isokos headed by Chief James Otobo, the Itsekiris headed by Chief O. P. Edodo, and myself who headed the Ijaws. Prominent leaders of the three ethnic groups met at the PK Guest House in Government Reserved Area (GRA), Warri, where it was decided that the candidate will be declared in our next meeting and it will be followed by a mega rally to be held in Oleh, where I was the Principal Guest of Honour. But we were shocked when Governor James Ibori in abuse of his power, later organized a kangaroo primary election of the PDP at Ugwashi-uku and imposed his first-cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, on the people of Delta State. Almost all the contestants were treated shabbily. They included Chief Ovie Omo-Agege, Olorogun Emerhor O’tega, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Chief Ejaife Odebala, the late Chief Pius Ewerhido, Chief Charles Obule, Olorogun Oscar Ibru, Mr Sunny Onuesoke and Hon Napoleon Gbinije. Contestants from Delta North that year included Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Godswill Obielum, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Prof Fidelis Oditah, Chief Simon Ebonka and so on

In the 2015 gubernatorial election in Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan again wanted to impose his permanent secretary, Mr. Tony Obuh from Ika South on the people as his gubernatorial candidate against candidates like Chief Victor Ochei, Olorogun David Edevbie, Mrs Esther Uduehi, Dr Ngozi Olejeme, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Hon Clement Ufuani, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, Chief Paulinus Akpeki, Prof. Sylvester Monye, Chief Ovie Omo-Agege and Hon Godsdey Orubebe, from Delta South

On the alleged face-up between Ibori and Governor Okowa, Chief Clark said, ” I am indeed very surprised to hear about any face-up between Chief James Ibori and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as to who would be the Governor of Delta State in 2023. But if this information is true, I regard it as a futile exercise, as both have no power or authority to impose a candidate on the PDP members of Delta State. I humbly submit that my good son Chief James Onanefe Ibori has no moral justification as to choose who will become the next Governor of Delta State. As for Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, he has no right to impose a candidate on us because he was not imposed on us by his predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.

On the rumoured pact between the Ijaws and Governor Okowa, he said, “it is not to my knowledge and I was never a party to an arrangement that Dr. Okowa should hand over to an Ijaw person at the end of his term and there was no working accord known to me, it was not a part of the arrangement when I decided to support Dr Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015. It was not a matter between the Aniomas and the Ijaws. It was not based on any condition other than competence, equity and, fair-play.
Having said that, I wish to emphasise that I do not think that the Ijaws are asking for a special favour, but that a level playing field should be provided for all, I believe, as free citizens of Nigeria and Delta State, the Ijaws and the Urhobos, like every other ethnic group in the country, are free to aspire to any position in Delta State including the Governorship of the State, in 2023 and beyond. However, I have watched with admiration and satisfaction that both ethnic groups are campaigning, and peacefully advocating their interest all over the State without rancour and bitterness, as it should be in any democracy. People who are interested, should, therefore, be allowed to contest the party primaries. The duty of our amiable Governor is to provide a level playing ground for all of them to contest and the best will emerge by God’s grace. His Excellency, who is a master in the art of conducting primaries, should allow them to do so. He is the acclaimed best returning officer so far, because of the free and fair PDP primary election he conducted at the 2018 historic PDP Presidential Election Primaries, which he conducted creditably in Port-Harcourt, where Alhaji Atiku Abubakar defeated about twelve other presidential aspirants from the North and none of the aspirants there after complained.”

Further, Chief Clark said, “I recall that some time ago, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, accompanied by two of his commissioners including Hon. Solomon Funkekeme, Commissioner for Works, called on me few days to the PDP primary election, and pleaded with me to support Tony Obuh. But I refused. I told him that Tony Obuh, who had been a Permanent Secretary under him, will definitely be his frontman. Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan later adopted Chief David Edevbie in conjunction with Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). This brings me to the issue of what has generally come to be known as the “Uvwiamuge Declaration”, which was a declaration made by the Urhobos on 4th November, 2014.


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