February 20, 2023

2023: Endorsement of Peter Obi sacrosanct, says PANDEF



…Asks Nigerians to disregard the rejection of Obi’s endorsement by the so-called youths, it is  borne out of infantile musings

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA-THE Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, led by the South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has said that its endorsement of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party and former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, as the preferred candidate for the Presidency of Nigeria as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducts the poll on Saturday, 25th February was sacrosanct.

PANDEF while responding to statements that its youth wing has rejected Peter Obi’s endorsement, urged Nigerians to disregard the reported rejection of Obi’s endorsement by the so-called youths, saying it was borne out of infantile musings, adding that  PANDEF does not have “wings” as the forum maintains a consolidated framework at the national, state, and local government levels.

In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, PANDEF urged Youths in the Niger Delta Region not to succumb to what it described as the antics of greedy politicians, even as it cautioned them to shun all acts of violence before, during, and after the forthcoming elections.

The statement read, “The attention of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has been drawn to certain gibberish in the media, regarding the forum’s endorsement of Peter Obi, credited to a purported Youth Wing of the Forum, championed by one Vincent Oyibode, together with a few ill-advised persons.

“PANDEF urges the public to disregard the reported rejection of Obi’s endorsement by the so-called youths; it is borne out of infantile musings. In the first place, PANDEF does not have “wings”, the forum maintains a consolidated framework at the national, state, and local government levels.

“Furthermore, it is important to underscore that the said Mr. Vincent Oyibode is a serving Commissioner in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC). It will, therefore, suffice to conclude that the buffoonery is sponsored by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. With the intent to deride the leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, for not supporting his ill-fated vice-presidential ambition, but rather upholding the cherished and fundamental principles of fairness, equity, and justice.

“For the avoidance of doubt, PANDEF stands by the endorsement of Peter Obi by our National Leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, and the affirmation by the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), done in Abuja, on the 2nd of February 2023. 

“Without equivocation, PANDEF’s endorsement of Peter Obi is sacrosanct!!  

“It is significant to note that the endorsement of Peter Obi as our preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election was the culmination of a process that started in 2021. Recall that on the 30th of May 2021, following the Asaba declaration by the 17 Southern Governors, the Southern Middle Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) met in Abuja and re-echoed the position of the Southern Governors. 

“SMBLF insisted that the Principle of Zoning and Power Rotation between the North and the South has been the basis on which the Nigerian Federation has, since Independence, been premised.

“And, further insisted that, in observance of the principles of justice, equity, fairness, and political inclusiveness, the South, and particularly, the South East Zone, should produce the next President of the Country in 2023.

“More importantly, after months of consultation at various levels, PANDEF, in its full complement, met with the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in Yenagoa, on 23rd December 2022. A rounded presentation on the concerns and expectations of the people of the Niger Delta was handed to the candidate. And the vision statement His Excellency, Peter Obi, shared at the occasion, as it relates to making Nigeria more productive, using the rich resource endowment in every part of the country; curbing waste and fighting corruption; as well as, creating jobs for our teeming youths through innovative initiatives resonated with the ideals and vision of PANDEF.

“We have nothing personal against any of the other presidential candidates in this Saturday’s election. However, it is our well-considered conclusion that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) is the best choice. He represents the Nigerian conscience, moral probity, generational hope, and redemption epiphany, among others, and remains the answer to the many problems confronting the country.

“It is rather most unfortunate and shameful that at a time when well-meaning Nigerians, and particularly, patriotic youths, are zealously working to enthrone a new Nigeria, some inadvisable elements are erring because of ephemeral perks.

“PANDEF will not be distracted by the misdemeanor, but would instead intensify efforts to ensure Peter Obi’s victory in the Niger Delta region.

“PANDEF cautions youths in the Niger Delta region not to succumb to the antics of greedy politicians and to shun all acts of violence before, during, and after the forthcoming elections.

“PANDEF further urges the entire people of the Niger Delta region, and indeed, all Nigerians, who believe in the unity, peace, stability, and sustainable development of the country to embrace the candidacy of  Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential election, while noting that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power.”