The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has admonished political leaders to desist from using their comments to stoke the embers of discord between the North and the South ahead of the general elections.
Spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, gave the advice at a news conference on Friday in Asaba.
He said the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa were prepared to keep to the terms of the peace accord midwifed by very notable Nigerians principally the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and the very revered Bishop of the Catholic Church, Hassan Kukah and indeed other members of the National Peace Accord Committee.
He stressed that the promotion of peace was necessary to achieve the much needed development in the country.
He advised Pa Clark not to mortgage the unity of Nigeria at the expense of his preferences, pointing out that Nigeria’s unity was paramount to the continued existence of the country.
According to him, the PDP will continue to accord enormous respect to persons in the category of Chief Edwin Clark, but in the midst of that, we will also advise that, in line with the need to promote unity and the peace of this country, elders must make comments that are in line with our desire to remain as one country.
“As an administration here in Delta and as a political party the PDP, our Presidential Campaign Council has enormous respect for Chief Edwin Clark.
“We have enormous respect for him on many grounds as an elder statesman, as somebody who has played very wonderful roles in our country as a former minister, and as a Nigerian allowed by the constitution to have an opinion on issues.
“So we have enormous respect for him and that respect we will continue to give to him.
‘’It might be pardonable for the young ones to talk about the North and South dichotomy, but Edwin Clark has been around even before the Civil War, and he knows the geographic composition of Nigeria with brothers and sisters criss-crossing the North and the South.
‘’By tradition, not by law, the choice of a running-mate has always cut across the other zones different from that of the presidential candidate. In this regard, delegates of the PDP overwhelmingly elected Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
‘’In fulfillment of the constitutional provisions and after wide consultations, saw that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would be able to add value to his quest to lead Nigeria out of the woods and have a much more united country,’’ he said.
Mr. Aniagwu reminded Pa Clark that when former President Goodluck Jonathan sought re-election in 2015 to the consternation of the North, his running-mate, Namadi Sambo, was not embarrassed by the North for supporting a southerner.
‘’So, for our elder statesman to cast aspersions on Governor Okowa and label him a betrayer cannot be in the interest of nationalism. If someone must be patriotic, as Pa Clark has shown over time, his recent comments do not suggest the way for our continued unity.
‘’We also know that Pa Clark has made his choice in this election. First, he took sides with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, even when the last President of the PDP (Goodluck Jonathan) was from the old Rivers State (Rivers and Bayelsa).
‘’If we are talking about equity and justice, could it have been fair that the power coming back to the south would have still come to the same state, even when we have 17 states in the south?
‘’Are we looking for a regional president or one who would govern the entire country? So, elders and everybody must try as much as possible to bury their sentiments under the need for us to be nationalistic.
‘’We need a united country that can survive beyond the election and build for us to call home even beyond the elections. So, any comment that fuels such division cannot be in the interest of current and coming generations,’’ Aniagwu said.
Mr. Aniagwu, who also doubles as the Delta State Commissioner for Information, wondered how Pa Clark could have downgraded the state government, whom he had scored high in the past, just because his candidate is not popular in the state.
‘’We advise our elder statesman, whom we respect very well, not to allow the politics of sentiments to injure his prominent position. As an elder statesman, the integrity and sanctity of our constitution are fundamental. The unity of this country should be paramount.
‘’Therefore, those that should know in the categories of Edwin Clark cannot, because of the sentiments and conveniences of today, push an agenda that is inimical to the unity paramount for us to move as one country,’’ he said.