Prominent elder statesman and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has expressed opposition to the declaration by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, to become the governor of Delta state in 2015.
In his view, the Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Ochei, is also unqualified either to be governor of the state, he said today in a press conference in his residence in Warri.
Chief Clark carpeted the Speaker for abandoning the state Independent Power Plant Project at Oghara after collecting N18 billion out of the N27 billion mega contract, stressing that no work has yet to take place at the project site.
The enlarged press conference was also attended by the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Peter Nwaoboshi. The former Minister of Information expressed regret that Orubebe has caused a lot of embarrassment to the Presidency, stressing that even if it were the turn of the Ijaws to produce the next governor of Delta State, "it will not be Mr Godsday Orubebe and he is fully aware of that".
According to the visibly angry PDP leader, “Mr. President has made his position very clear on this matter. He has categorically stated that he was not going to take a decision on whether he will re-contest the Presidential election in 2015 until 2014 and that he needed time to concentrate on the job he promised Nigerians during 2011 election, when they massively voted for him and therefore directed that none of his ministers and other government functionaries should engage in politics as to declaring their intentions or supporting any one for elective position including senatorial, House of Representatives or gubernatorial.”
Orubebe, he said, has flouted that order, and cannot claim ignorance of that fact.
“His flagrant disobedience is no doubt an embarrassment to Mr. President, to the leaders of the party and party faithful, particularly to me that everybody believes, contributed greatly to his becoming minister, having regard to the opposition from former governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and his supporters,” Clark said.
“Our opponents and detractors are definitely cashing in on Mr. Godsday Orubebe’s careless and irresponsible statement and are now using it to insult President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Ijaws and even myself that the President and I, are definitely behind him. I have tried to disabuse the minds of the people and deny that neither Mr. President nor I is aware of Mr. Orubebe’s statement.”
He recalled that he was the one who accompanied Orubebe to the State House in Abuja after his confirmation by the Senate as a Minister and to be sworn in as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with three other colleagues of his, followed by the embarrassment when the former Secretary to the Federal Government Amb. Babagana Kingibe, informed him that the President had decided not to swear Orubebe in.
“I left the Executive Chambers with Mr Godsday Orubebe and his wife in disgrace but later summed up courage to address the State House Press on the issue,” the former Minister said. “It is therefore, my advice to the Honourable Minister not to allow the spoils of office to derail him or cause him to take wrong judgement.”
He described as reckless the assertion by Mr. Orubebe that the governorship should be produced on the basis of ethnicity since the Urhobos and the Itsekiris have produced governors and the Ijaws, Isokos and Ndokwas have not.
In that regard, he reminded Orubebe that peace has been a scarce commodity in Delta state, particularly in the PDP, since the 2007 gubernatorial election, and that it was only last year, following a series of litigations, that there was voluntary reconciliation.
With reference to Mr. Ochei, Clark lamented the inability of the anti-graft agencies to investigate the Oghara IPP project, regretting that a man carrying the burden of failing to execute such a massive public project, is the one now boldly seeking the governorship where he will be protected by the immunity clause.
“This is over two years now, so some people are above the law even when they are yet to become governor when it will be said that they are protected by the immunity clause. Delta State people need a governor who is God fearing, transparent, intelligent and loved by his people,” he said. Contacted on the phone over Clark’s comments about him, the Speaker refused to comment.
Clark urged the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, to call Orubebe to order and to advise him to withdraw the court cases he has filed, so as to allow peace to reign in the party and State.
Mr. Orubebe shocked many people in political circles last week when he declared, despite a series of corruption allegations against him,that he would enter the Delta State gubernatorial race in 2015.