The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has described as idiotic and foolhardy a statement credited to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), disparaging the elder statesman and South-south leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark.
It has, therefore, called on the leadership of the Igbo nation to tender a public apology to the National Leader of PANDEF over the unwarranted aspersion cast on him, ThisDay reports.
The Forum in a statement issued by its National Chairman and former Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, stressed that the expressions in the said report could only have emanated from deluded and demented minds, which 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 geo-political zone.
“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’s 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.”
PANDEF also flaunted the contributions of Clark, whose life is a rich source of inspiration to many, within and beyond the borders of Nigeria, adding that since the IPOB belligerents are so infantile and uninformed, it would suffice to state that the influence and significance of Clark transcend the South-south zone and the Niger Delta.
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It described the nationalist as an unswerving voice that resonates across Nigeria, for decades, speaking out against oppression, discrimination, and marginalisation in the country.
PANDEF further said: “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.
“Working with other patriotic Nigerians, including the leadership of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and eminent personalities of Igbo extraction, towards the realisation of a better Nigeria, where equity, fairness, and justice would reign, and which, he remains doggedly committed to, even at age 94”.
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The group, apart from demanding an open apology from the Igbo nation to Clark, also called for the denouncement of the statement forthwith.
It said: “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”.