Chief Edwin Clark, elder statesman from the South South aged 93 has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of deliberately marginalizing the geopolitical region.
Clark who said that the South South has not faired well under Buhari alleged that the region which produces the bulk of the nation’s wealth has suffered immensely from what he says is the policy of the administration to ‘northernize’ the country through appointments into the service and public sector of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The elder statesman who heads PANDEF, a regional body which advocates for the rights of the Niger Delta people alleged that religious and ethnic considerations as well as a growing overdose of nepotism has become more paramount in the choices that the Buhari administration has made so far in terms of appointments.
He cited the experiences of Dr Dakuku Peterside, former Director General of NIMASA who did a splendid job, Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, former Head of Service, Justice Walter Onnogen, ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria and Mrs Azuka Azinge among others to buttress his argument that the President hasn’t been fair.
“I am an old man now”, Clark wrote to the President on Democracy Day, “I have just celebrated my 93rd birthday, but it would be unthinkable for me, to keep quiet in the face of such injustice, oppression, and marginalization, unfair and unjust treatment, being practiced against my people. I can say, without doubt, we have never had it this so bad.
“I do not know when it will please the Almighty God to call me home. But, let me sound this note of warning, things cannot continue this way!”
In the letter entitled,”Let Us Call A Spade A Spade”, Clark said, “the truth, Mr. President, is that the South South Geopolitical Zone have not been treated fairly, by your administration, despite our contribution to the economy of the country.”
“For reasons unknown to me, we have continued to witness discriminative, and unjust actions, against people of South South Extraction, under the presidency, in the last five years.
“Why is it that people, particularly from the South South Zone, are being treated as if they are not Nigerians, as if they are foreigners, or as if they are second class citizens, in their own country”, Clark wrote.
He said he has been inundated with complaints from the people of the South South and so could not continue to turn a blind eye to such issues.
“It is in that light, and in view of recent worrisome developments, that I am writing this letter to Mr. President on Democracy Day.
“The message herein, is a message of truth; encapsulating my thoughts, as well as, the feelings, dissension, and remonstrations, of the people of the South South Geopolitical Zone, that I have been continuously inundated with.”
Clark pointedly warned that imbalances in Nigeria could be catastrophic, saying the President has an enormous responsibility to redress issues which could lay the foundation for crisis and instability.
“Today, it seems, the only qualifications for appointment in the federal civil service or public service, under your administration, are religion or ethnicity”, Clark told the President.