First Republic Minister and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has denied media reports that he hostedÂ prominent lgbo leaders among whom were Senator Ken Nnamani, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief Okeke, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and former Governor Sam Egwu to a meeting of the South South and South East leaders in his Abuja residence.
Chief Clark denied the said Igbo leaders were part of the meeting in his house, saying the publication was a shock to him.
According to him, â€œat no time did we hold any meeting with the people mentioned. But we held a meeting with Peoples Democratic Party, PDP leaders from the five states of the South East and they were led by second republic Senator Ukpabi of Abia State.
The meeting was attended by former Health Minister, Dr. Ihechukwu Madubuike, former Minister of Education, Prof. Chinwe Obaji and other prominent PDP leaders from the zone.
â€œA statement was issued at the end of the meeting which was signed by five members from each zone. The names of the people mentioned in the publication were never there.
They did not attend the meeting and nobody mentioned their names in the meeting.
Therefore, for them not to investigate but jump to conclusion that their names were used is ridiculous and not only embarrassing but fraudulent, which is an attempt to justify their meeting with some Northern leaders,” he added.
â€œNigeria is a democratic and free country and people are free to meet with or negotiate with anybody. It is therefore unfair and unjust to use us to score cheap political points.
We repeat, we never held any meeting with these leaders nor were their names mentioned.
â€œI have built my name and reputation and integrity and I will not take it lying low for anyone to tarnish my good name. I therefore appeal to these Igbo leaders to play their politics in a straight forward manner without dragging other peopleâ€™s name into the mudâ€.
Chief Clark added that â€œit is also ridiculous for Professor Obaje to arrogate to herself that she is being threatened since the publication about our meeting. I did not invite her to the meeting but she came along with the Igbo leaders.
That we are campaigning for President Jonathan to contest the 2011 elections, like any other Nigerian does not mean we have to be rubbished by any person or group of personsâ€.