By Emmanuel Aziken & Clifford Ndujihe
LAGOS—HAVING failed to take advantage of reconciliation terms he offered some time ago, First Republic Information Minister and an elder of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, 83, has ruled out reconciliation with Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Delta State PDP Governorship Candidate in the forthcoming court-ordered re-run polls.
In a two-hour interview with Vanguard at his Apapa, Lagos home, Clark, who listed four reasons he was against Uduaghan’s occupation of Government House, Asaba, alleged that the former governor’s annulled administration had inflicted so much hardship on Delta citizenry to the extent that reconciling with him would not solve the problem of Deltans.
Welfare of the people
Asked if he would settle with Uduaghan if the latter came to him for reconciliation, the octogenarian said: “We have no personal issues. All I am saying is that I cannot settle with Uduaghan at the expense of the generality of the people in Delta State. The welfare of the people of Delta is of paramount interest to me. So, settling with Uduaghan will not solve the problem. It is not by saying, ‘I am sorry, I will not do it again.’ He has harmed people. We have the most impoverished people in this country. Our state is going down.
Teachers were employed, for a whole year, none of them got paid. He has done much damage. The street light in Asaba is being powered by generator. They said they spent N250 million on Effurun Roundabout, what is there at Efurun Roundabout? Building cinema everywhere? We are tired, enough is enough.”
An agitated Clark listed Uduaghan’s alleged opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential bid, graft, coverage of former Governor James Ibori’s misdeeds, and poor performance after three and a half years in office.
In addition, Clark, who said he was not backing the opposition against the PDP, said he was disturbed because Uduaghan was imposed on Delta by Ibori and thereafter no elections were held in the state in 2007 and no congresses were held to elect officers for the Delta PDP.
On his earlier conditions for truce, Clark said: “Uduaghan came to me and I gave him two conditions. This issue of protecting Ibori, dissociate yourself from Ibori and let us settle. You are already governor. See that the party is one. Two, see that there is an integrated government where all people will be involved. He agreed.
But Ibori told him not to. So you cannot have a government which is being manned by a faction of the community or party.
“I am not against Uduaghan as a person. Even Uduaghan sent his deputy governor to accompany me to Paris to receive an award. While we were coming back, I sat his deputy governor down and said, ‘look, it appears your man is not listening to us.
I told him to dissociate himself from Ibori and let us settle so that some of our people will get … particularly when he dissolved part of his cabinet, remove some commissioners, bring some of our people, then let’s work together.’ Perhaps, that will strengthen his hand of dissociating himself from Ibori because our people will advise him. The deputy governor, Prof Utuama is there. Nothing came out of it.”
Asked if his opposition to Uduaghan would not hurt President Jonathan’s ambition, Clark said to the contrary and alleged that the former governor was in support of power returning to the North in 2011. He read a letter written to Uduaghan on October 17, by Dr. Udenta Udenta, then director general of Bukola Saraki Presidential Campaign Organisation soliciting funds as allegedly agreed at an earlier meeting, to buttress his claim.
Who is fooling who?
Clark added: “President Jonathan can never be sacrificed for Uduaghan, who is unpopular in Delta State. Who is Uduaghan fooling? Who is fooling who? Uduaghan is not supporting Jonathan. When Yar’ Adua was ill in Saudi Arabia, Uduaghan was part of the cabal headed by Ibori. They drank champagne when Yar’ Adua arrived from Saudi Arabia thinking that the man was now coming to take over from Jonathan.
“Tell me any member of the House of Representatives from Delta State that actively supported Jonathan’s acting appointment in the House? The only senator that actively supported Smart Adeyemi and others was Prof. Adego Eferakeya. Today, they are victimising him for doing so. Amori now went to Dubai to be adopted by Ibori. Today, Amori is the government’s candidate for Delta Central Senatorial seat.
Furthermore, Uduaghan is one of the few governors working with IBB and Saraki. So, what I am saying is that Uduaghan is not supporting President Jonathan.
“Without us, President Jonathan cannot win an election in Delta State. Without the support of Delta people, who believe in the Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum, he cannot win. Secondly, the removal of Uduaghan was God’s will. God has come to judgment. “