By Emma Amaize
PAN Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, umbrella group of the coastal states of Niger-Delta, has urged the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, apex socio-cultural of organization of Igbo people, to call the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, to order over the group’s attack on South-South leader and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Senator Edwin Clark.
National Chairman, PANDEF and former Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, in a statement, lampooning IPoB for disrespecting the South-South leader, said: “Anything short of that would be inferred to be the tacit approval of the balderdash of IPoB.”
PANDEF chair asserted: “Over the years, the highly respected chief who was a federal minister of information and distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, has in his capacities as an educationist, politician, public servant, lawyer, lawmaker, community leader and nationalist, continued to play vital roles to stimulate unity, peace and development in the Niger Delta region, and Nigeria, at large.”
“He has been working with other patriotic Nigerians, including the leadership of the apex Igbo socio-Cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and eminent personalities of Igbo extraction, towards the realization of a better Nigeria, where equity, fairness and justice would reign, and which, he remains doggedly committed to, even at age 94.
“Though PANDEF assumes no well-meaning Igbo son or daughter would sanction the aspersion by IPOB on our respected national leader, however, we would insist that the leadership of the Igbo nation denounce the irresponsible statement by IPOB, and tender a public apology to the elder statesman, and, indeed, the entire Niger Delta people, in the interest of healthy relations between the South-East and South-South zones. Anything short of that would be inferred to be tacit approval of the balderdash of IPoB,” he said.
PANDEF described as “idiotic and foolhardy” the IPoB statement being circulated in the media, credited to one Emma Powerful, a supposed spokesman of the group against Senator Clark., adding: “The preposterous expressions in the said article could only have emanated from deluded and demented minds, and are quite indicative of the silliness of the IPOB officialdom.”
“It is a shame that they cannot differentiate between fact and fantasy. This stupidity would erode any sympathy they had hitherto received from the South-South geopolitical zone.
S’South can’t be Biafra
“Let us restate, without any equivocation, that the Niger Delta region is not part of Biafra and that no inch of the South-South geopolitical zone shall be part of any imagined ‘Republic’.
“It is rather puerile for IPOB or any other group to consider that Niger Delta region would be part of any arbitrary contraption. If it becomes necessary for the Niger Delta people to pull out of this country, we shall do so, on our terms.
“Regarding the unsavory remarks, it’s needless to mention the privileged credentials and contributions of the iconic nationalist and esteemed nonagenarian, whose life is a rich source of inspiration to many, within and beyond the borders of Nigeria.
“Nevertheless, since the IPOB belligerents are so infantile and uninformed, it would suffice to state that the influence and significance of Chief E. K. Clark transcend the South-South zone and the Niger Delta. He is an unswerving voice that resonates across Nigeria; for decades, speaking out against oppression, discrimination, and marginalization in the country,” PANDEF chairman asserted.