Edwin Clark Writes Obasanjo Over Marginalisation Of Niger Delta, Says Ex-President Has Hatred For Oil-rich Region


Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ijaw National Congress, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has written a protest letter condemning former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his alleged hatred for the Niger Delta region.

Clark lambasted Obasanjo, stating that the latter betrayed the interest of the Niger Delta region when he was the military Head of State.

According to him, the former President had only recently visited him at his residence last week, and showed no discontent about the Niger Delta and its people with regards to the struggle for resource control, but had embarked on verbal outbursts, at a summit organised by the Global Peace Foundation in Abuja.

Clark thanked Obasanjo for stopping over at his Asokoro residence last week Monday to check on his well-being adding that they both engaged in a discussion that bothers on national issues and those issues that were very disturbing, but wondered what went wrong within a few days that made Obasanjo descend heavily on the Niger Delta people.

He said, the discussion, though, personal to the two of them, was never about Niger Delta, and neither did Obasanjo express any ill feelings about Niger Delta people, before going to a summit to lash out at Niger Delta people.

Clark noted, “Your Excellency will recall that a summit was organised by a group, Global Peace Foundation, on Monday, 13th December 2021, the same day you came to visit me, to which various groups and individuals were invited, and Your Excellency happened to be one of the invitees.

“I was equally invited. But because as Your Excellency knows, I am recuperating from an ailment, and since I have been told by my doctors to take things easy, I asked His Excellency, Ambassador Godknows Igali, a retired Permanent Secretary with the Federal Civil Service, and a former Ambassador, to kindly represent me at the Summit together with Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, a retired Director with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Engr. Ebipamowei Wodu, the Secretary-General, Ijaw National Congress (INC).”

He expressed shock at watching Chief Obasanjo’s outburst in a video which he described as unbecoming of his standing in the society.

He said Obasanjo’s outburst was a huge disappointment to those present at the meeting as his hate for the people of Niger Delta who dared to agitate for resource control was obvious, specifically, when he interjected Engr. Wodu and Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, each time they tried to put the interest of the Niger Delta in proper perspective.

According to him, he has known Obasanjo for 46 years, even before he became the Military Head of State, wondering why he continued to push for the marginalisation of the region.

“Your Excellency, we have known ourselves for several decades, since 1975, when we served as Federal Commissioners (Ministers) in the cabinet of General Yakubu Gowon’s government, together with His Excellency, late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, late General Murtala Mohammed, amongst others,” Clark said. 

Clark said the agitation for resource control has been there even when it was earlier captured in the 1960 Constitution, wondering why Obasanjo has been consistently working against the region that produces the nation’s economic mainstay.

Pointing out Section 140 of the 1960 Constitution, according to Daily Trust, Chief Clerk insisted that natural resources found in regions were controlled by the people of the regions in the country.

“As a former Military Head of State of Nigeria, 1976-1979, and later a democratically elected President of the country, 1999-2007, I am certain Your Excellency knows that the principle of derivation, has always been top on the agenda of our national discourse, before and after the country’s Independence.”

Clark said Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Western region and Sir Ahmadu Bello of the Northern region were able to develop their regions above the Eastern region as a result of the practice of the principle of derivation.

“The Eastern Region did not progress like the other two regions. From the benefits of the practice of derivation principle, the Western Region introduced free education, built universities, the first Television in Africa, among other economic and social infrastructure, including hiring at the time, an Israeli Company, Soleh Boneh, to develop roads and other infrastructure.”

He pointed out that the derivative principle continued till the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in 1956 which the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, sent a congratulatory message to the then Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara.

The sharing formula at the time was 50% of the revenue for the owning State, while 20% and 30% goes to the Federal government and distributable pool, for sharing among the regions, including the contributing region.

“Your Excellency, as you are very much aware, this was the situation for sharing the fiscal assets of the federation among the regions of the country until the 1966 coup that suspended the Constitution.

“The Cocoa House and the Liberty Stadium all in Ibadan, the Western House in Lagos and the Oodua group of companies, one of the biggest companies in Nigeria, are solely owned by the Western Region. 

“One very disappointing thing that happened in the whole of this, was when the Midwest Region, to which I belonged, was created out of the Western Region, the Western Region, bluntly refused to share assets with the Midwest Region on the reason that the Midwest Region did not contribute anything to the Western Region and its economy.”

He explained that the northern region was well coordinated in the joint ownership of assets compared to the South East region, a situation that badly affected them at the time.

He further lamented that the 36 States of the Federation go to Abuja monthly to share oil revenues made from the ruins of the Niger Delta region.

Source: Sahara reporters