By Emma Amaize & Perez Brisibe
UGHELLI— crack has hit the leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, following the adoption of the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as some executives of the forum faulted the endorsement.
PANDEF Publicity Secretary, Chief Sara-Igbe Anabs, while reacting to the adoption, said at no time did they meet as a body to take that decision.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved executives, yesterday, Chief Sara-Igbe said: “The leader can say anything, but it should be on record that PANDEF has not met to take any of such decision.
“As far as I am concerned, we have not met as a body and besides, the constitution of PANDEF bans the forum from being partisan.
“Article 1 of PANDEF constitution states that we must not be partisan, so I do not know how and where that endorsement is coming from.
“That does not mean that PANDEF members who are in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, cannot do whatever they want. They can, but there was no time that the entire body of PANDEF sat down, argued for or against and came to such a resolution.”
Reacting, PANDEF, yesterday, lambasted its spokesperson, Anabs Sara-Igbe, who faulted the endorsement of PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by the Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum, comprising the group, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Ohanaeze and Northern Elders Forum.
PANDEF Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, in a statement, said: “Sara-Igbe has demonstrated gross perfidy to the core issues PANDEF stands for. It is baffling that Sara-Igbe has allowed his political persuasions to becloud his sense of reasoning and judgment.
“It is on record that PANDEF has always emphasised that it will give its support to only political parties and candidates that affirm support for restructuring of the Nigerian State, at all PANDEF’s fora.
“This is the consensus of the people of the Niger Delta that we represent. This position was also eloquently restated and an overwhelming mandated given to PANDEF to canvass at the South-South mega rally on restructuring, held March 25, 2018, at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“Consequent upon the decision of the Yenagoa mega rally, PANDEF embarked on series of engagement within and outside the region, towards attaining national cohesion and understanding on the issue of restructuring, as demonstrated in the national endorsement of Atiku Abubakar, by the Nigerian leaders and Elders.
“We will advise Anabs Sara-Igbe to rather be focused on his new-found United Niger Delta for Buhari, rather that attempting to fish in waters that are clearly beyond his reach.”