Elder Statesman and South-South leader, Senator Edwin Clark, has quietly intervened and prevailed on some angry militants in the Niger Delta Delta, threatening to lock up the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over the continued operation of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, to abandon the option.
Vanguard learned that the action of the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has brought respite to NDDC operations. Clark could not be reached for comment on his role, but reliable sources confirmed that he, indeed, used his influence, as a Niger Delta leader, to invite and speak to some of the agitators to allow NDDC interim management work without trouble.
Vanguard could not confirm if any member of the NDDC interim management committee or other top government officials requested his assistance.
He summoned some of the recalcitrant agitators and spoke to them on phone and a number of them face to face, according to sources.
One of the vocal groups, 21st Century Youths for Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, which led a coalition of Niger Delta youths to lay siege to NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcourt, last month, was among the group’s the elder statesman lobbied.
Leader of the group, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, told Vanguard: “In pursuit of development and ensuring a prosperous Niger Delta for our children and the unborn generation, we received a clarion call from an elder statesman, Pa E.K. Clark to give peace a chance.’
“He implored us to ensure that the interim board carries out its oversight function without hitches and distractions to enable the auditing firm do their job speedily and transparently since its mandate is to supervise the audit of the commission effectively and transparently, to set a clean template for the incoming board to hit the ground running with its developmental vision for the Niger Delta.
“We respect him as the leader of Niger Delta, but we want to appeal to the interim board to make known the international auditors saddled with the probe and publish in our national dailies the names and companies involved in the despicable looting of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.
‘”They should also make known also in national dailies staff and directors that are involved in facilitating this inhuman action
“After a critical and frank discussion with our elder statesman, Pa Edwin Clark, to give peace a chance and tow the part of peace because without peace there will be no development, and since the interim board is saddled with the responsibility of supervising the audit and probe to set a clean template for the confirmed board to be inaugurated, our stance has always been on the side of peace, development and justice because without justice, there will be no permanent peace and development.
“The 21st-century youths of the Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience call on Mr President to ensure that his good gesture for the Niger Delta is not politicised to smear his goodwill.
“We therefore use this medium to applaud Mr President for his new year’s gift of hope and determination to redirect the ship of the nation to its destined harbour of unity, peace and progress. We commend and salute your courage of coming out to exonerate yourself of the third term plot to extend your stay beyond 2023.
“We also commend and applaud your courage and sincerity on the directive given to the INEC Chairman and the Inspector General of Police to henceforth conduct credible elections.
“We, therefore, use this opportunity to plead to our President, Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari to please kindly take a critical look at these three very important issues that will mar or bring to light his good intention.
“Sincerity and commitment to alleviate the plight of the people, put a stop to the primitive, callous and wicked leaders that have impoverished the people of the Niger Delta with 15trillion down the drain and nothing to show for.
“Your good intention to strengthen our electoral institutions to enable the people to choose leaders they can trust with their future and collective destiny is worth commending.”