Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
This is our response to the open letter written to our Governor, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, CON, by our most respected father, Chief Pa. Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, concerning the twin issues of a phantom N250b loan and the demand for his resignation as Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 Presidential Elections.

First, let us place it in proper perspective that Chief Pa. Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, is an elder statesman in Nigeria, by any definition or standards, and from any angle one looks at it. He has paid his dues in Nigeria and he has served the country eminently, in the past. So, younger Nigerians as we are, must of necessity and compulsion, pick our words when addressing him, no matter the extent of disagreement with his actions. And the areas of our disagreement with him, on the open letter he wrote to the Governor of our state and about him, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, are many.*

In the second place, it is extremely doubtful if our reverred and highly respected great grandfather, at about a hundred years, will exert himself so vigorously now, to disturb himself mentally and even physically as to unsettle his state of equanimity, by stirring the calm, peace and progress of Delta State in a manner he just did, when it is truly uncalled for. It is obvious to us that he has been cajoled and used in a manner that a presidential candidate of a party in the country is now being disingenuously and pitifully used and guided on to get to the finish line, even when it is obvious to all, that this man should be resting – another classical case of ADULT ABUSE. But in both cases, the children are to blame significantly. Will any of us in this room allow our father, grandfather and great grandfather to be thrown into public commentary that will attract nothing but public opprobrium in this manner? Delta State has been in stable, secure, peaceful and progressive hands in the past seven and half years, we dare say. But we must thread softly and be kind to Pa. Clark in all we say or do.

According to the holy book of I Samuel, the pregnant wife of Phinehas went into forced labour at the news that the Ark of God had been taken by the Philistines. She named her son Icabod to commemorate the glory of the Lord that had departed the land of Israel as a result of the capture of the Ark. Such was the reaction of members of THE MIDWESTERNERS, (a body dedicated to the advancement of the fortunes of the old Midwestern region of Nigeria). It is apt to recall that Elder Statesman Edwin Clark came to political limelight when he was appointed Midwestern Commissioner of Education (and later Commissioner of Finance). It came as a surprise to us that Pa Clark can rise to destroy someone from the Old Midwestern region who is seeking the second highest political office in Nigeria just because some people hate the governor’s guts and they have successfully made our respected elder statesman to inherit such hatred. ICABOD: THE GLORY HAS INDEED DEPARTED!

For the first time since the present political dispensation a bona-fide son of the Old Midwestern region is going for the office of Vice President of Nigeria with the possibility of becoming the President in eight years time. Chief Pa Clark, we are now made to believe, is not happy about that achievement because the man involved is not an Ijaw man, we may adduce. He would rather fight for a man from the Southern Eastern Nigeria to be the next President than for his kit and kin from the Old Midwestern region.

It should be put on record that the old Midwestern region has suffered the most in the political trajectory of post-civil war Nigeria. The Midwest became a region in 1963, very early in the evolution of geographical Nigeria, not too long, after the existence of the other three regions. The Igbo man shouts from the roof tops of being marginalised in political appointments. We make bold to say that we in the Old Midwestern region have suffered far more than those in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. It therefore behoves all sons and daughters of the old Midwestern region to rise up as one in supporting the political aspirations of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as he seeks to become the first man from the old Midwestern region to be elected Vice President of this country.

But come to think of it. Should we be really surprised at the seeming outbursts of Pa Clark? Closer scrutiny of Pa. Clark’s previous fights and which his chaperones are still exploiting, shows that he is an ethnic champion. After all, Okowa is not an Ijaw man. Pa Edwin Clark is an Ijaw man who has spoken more in support of Ijaw ethnic politics than the politics of Delta State. It is on record that in the past three or four decades Pa Clark has flaunted himself more as a defender of his ethnic nationality, the Ijaws, than he is a defender of the political interests of his State. We recall that Edwin Clark was among the delegates from Midwest who opposed confederation. Though he claims to be related to the Urhobo nation, we are sure that the Urhobos will not forget in a hurry the role he played in the political travails of James Onanefe Ibori.

Trying to shore up his relevance in the current political dispensation after the downfall of his political godson Goodluck Jonathan, he has turned his attention to the political aspirations of Senator Okowa. Clark is asking Okowa to account for N250b of Delta State money. But he can close his eyes to the rape of the Nigerian till by Dezianni, his Ijaw Niece who bought two diamond-laced bras for $60m (approximately N36b). The funds stolen under the watch of his political godson ran into more than N10 trillion. It is ok for Clark to close his eyes to what his godson and niece did but would go all out to hunt down Ibori and Okowa. Double standard indeed. We still believe he is being used against his will though.

When did Pa Clark become the Chief Accounting Officer of Delta State that the Governor must come to him to explain how he spent Delta State money? That he has kept silent in the past seven years, in his own words, (quite uncharacteristic of him), means that Governor Okowa has been good to him, in all material sense. So what went wrong all of a sudden, especially now that the governor has a higher calling? We wish to humbly remind Chief Clark that the Delta State House of Assembly is capable of carrying out their oversight functions over the affairs of Delta State. Subjecting our Governor to trial in the public space is not right and unacceptable to us. We denounce in totality the gimmick of Pa Clark to ridicule the political integrity of our Governor.

In like manner, it came as a surprise to us that the well respected members of PANDEF could descend so low in the name of supporting their leader Pa Edwin Clark to equally call on Senstor Okowa to give an account of the N250b on the pages of newspapers. This is inspite of the credible, intellectual and realistic responses of both the Commissioner of Finance and the Commissioner of Information of Delta State on this issue. They both made it abundantly clear that only N100b out of the expected N250b of Delta State share of the yet to be paid arrears of 13% Derivation Fund is what is at stake. The Federal Government has not released one kobo out of the N250b they are owing Delta State. The Governor is just carrying out a draw down of 100b out of the anticipated 250b. If the whole 250b had been paid, by now it ought to have been spent. But Governor Okowa will be leaving 150b of that money untouched for the incoming Governor. We expected the members of PANDEF to be more critical in their analysis of issues considering the caliber of people in that group. We can excuse Pa Edwin Clark for his outbursts. We still believe he is being used to fight a proxy war.

Pa Edwin Clark has turned himself into the political oracle of Nigeria who can now decide who becomes President and Vice President of Nigeria. It is in that capacity that he has ordered Okowa to resign from his position as the Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP in the 2023 General elections. We all know that “Atiku is too dumb” to know who he wants as Vice President. So the oracle Pa. Edwin Clark will have to choose for him. The Pope has spoken! Pa Clark accused Okowa of betraying his Governor colleagues from Southern Nigeria. Okowa should apologise for being a democrat. 17 Governors (made up of APC and PDP Governors) met and resolved that their parties should Zone the Presidential ticket to the South. The APC Governors went to their NEC meeting and had their way in getting their party to zone the Presidential ticket to the South. But the Southern PDP Governors could not achieve a similar feat in the PDP NEC because at the meeting they all mandated Okowa to speak for them. Since Okowa couldn’t speak for them, and since they didn’t have the boldness to speak for themselves, Okowa should be blamed for the NEC of PDP decision to throw their Presidential ticket open to all comers. It is as simple as ABC.

This matter has been over flogged to the extent that everyone, except those who pick and choose what to believe, now knows the truth that Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Gov. Nyesom Wike’s man, threw the battle for the presidential ticket of their party open to the entire country. When Atiku clinched the ticket, three names were submitted to him to pick his Vice. Gov. Wike, who came second in the fight for the presidential ticket, was top on that list. He did not say, “No, remove my name, we have said that the presidential candidate must be a southerner”. As party men, THEY ALL stayed loyal to the party. Furthermore, no caution was heard from Chief Clark reminding all and sundry of the Asaba, Lagos and Enugu proclamations. But as soon as Atiku exercised his constitutional right to pick his Vice, from the shortlist he was given, all hell was let lose. So why is Okowa being singled out for vilification and labelled with the unsalutary tag of betrayer all the time. It is now commonly known who actually betrayed the southern cause. There is no doubt that Pa Edwin Clark wanted Wike to be the next President after the reign of Jonathan. The Ijaw agenda!

We members of THE MIDWESTERNERS sympathise with Pa Edwin Clark whose glory had departed from him without his knowing. It happened to Samson in the Bible. There is no doubt that age is taking its toll on our aged great grandfather. We urge him to speak less on national issues so that he can go to the land of the great beyond with some modicum of respect from his teaming supporters. We regret to announce to Pa Edwin Clark and his nepotistic followers that Nigeria needs a unifier in the person of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to bring it back to the path of development and progress. He is the only candidate of the pack of 18 candidates with the cognate experience for the job. We also regret to announce to Pa Clark that the choice of Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, the Ekwueme of Africa, as the next Vice President of Nigeria is irrevocable. God and the angels above have signed and sealed the Atiku/Okowa partnership for a better of Nigeria.

We equally regret to announce to Pa Clark that the days when he thought he could dictate who becomes Governor in both Edo and Delta States are gone forever. The Ekwueme and the PDP family in Delta State have thrown their weight behind Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori to become the next Governor of Delta State. On March 11, 2023 the people of Delta State will affirm this decision with or without the support of Pa Clark. We wish our elder statesman will be part of that history. Being on the winning side will be good for him in his twilight days.

The time for the old Midwestern region (now Edo and Delta States) to take its rightful position in the political equation of Nigeria has come. The Unifer, Atiku Abubakar, has chosen our son Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to lead this charge. We call on all citizens of the old Midwestern region to rise up as one in support of their son. A vote for Atiku is a vote for Okowa. A vote for Okowa is a vote for the prosperity and development of the old Midwestern region. We use this opportunity to inform our Edo state brethren to expect us very soon. A visit to the very cerebral and fine speech maker, Gov. Godwin Obaseki is in the offing.

Thank you all for listening.

  1. Hon. Iwemdi Nwaham, Chairman
  2. Prof. David T. Ejenobo, Executive Vice Chairman
  3. Deacon Fidelis Chimokwu, Secretary
  4. Rotarian Kenneth Okwuenu, Member

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