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All I prayed for, God gave to me – Clark who turns 93, says

Elder Statesman and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Senator Edwin Clark, who turns 93 years today, has said that everything he had looked for, wished for and prayed for in life, God gave all to him, therefore, he is grateful to the Almighty for keeping him alive.

The South-South leader, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, asserted that he had been at the departure lounge for years having obtained his boarding pass, but “It is God that owns life, life belongs to Him, He gives long life and shows mercy to whomever He wishes and nobody can query Him.”

He said he was at peace with God and bears no animosity against anybody, adding: “In answer to your question on the relationship between me and two former governors of my home state, Delta, Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan: “It is still the position, I have no axe to grind with Chief James Ibori, our former governor anymore. He remains my son. After all, there is a limit you can show anger to anybody.

“It is very unfortunate that certain things happened and he had to go to prison. As far as I am concerned, it is all over. On Uduaghan, we settled before he left office.”

The nonagenarian, however, admitted that he has a soft spot for the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa “because of his humility, intelligence and respect.”

The South-South leader said the day a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, women leader first told him she wanted to bring somebody, Ifeanyi Okowa, to him he told her outright that he did not know him.

His words: “One day, Mrs Ifeoma Agbonma, one of the PDP women in the National Executive Committee told me she wanted to bring Senator Okowa to see me. I said I did not know him, but when he came, I found him a nice fellow, young, intelligent and humble. He did not say anything to me the first day he met me. Another day he came, I started developing interest in him.

“When I am invited to some functions, instead of sending someone else, I send him to do it for me. And I remember when the University of Benin wanted to give me an award after giving the keynote address, I asked him to follow me, when donations were made, I made a pledge and he volunteered to pay it. So we became very friendly.

“I remember when I was invited to Jos by a group that wanted to establish a private university, I sent him again with others, so we became very familiar.

“So when the governorship race came, about 12 of them wanted to be governor, then they told me Uduaghan was supporting one Tony Obuh, now late, from Ika, I said no, it would not be. As permanent secretary then, he had been working for Udughan, so he was not the proper person. There are many qualified people from Delta North.

“All of them were having a meeting in this house, Cairo Ojougboh, Victor Ochei, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Hon Elumelu and quite a number of them.

“So, we all teamed up to go against the governor’s nominee. Then one day, Uduaghan, accompanied by two of his commissioners came to see me, he said he had nominated Tony Obuh as his candidate. I said it would not work, he left not very happy, only for me to hear that he was again supporting David Edevwie.

“Much earlier, I was sitting down in my house at Abuja when the Asagba of Asaba led a team of 11 traditional rulers under the Anioma Congress, they sat down. It was Chief Benjamin Elue, the former deputy governor that read the speech that if they are to remain in Delta State, they must produce the governor.

I accepted and they said they would like me to make a public statement. They said they were going to organize a kind of summit or rally at Asaba, they invited me, and I went. I was the special guest of the occasion, and I was treated like a governor.

“In their address, they wanted two things, if new states were to be created, Anioma should be one of them, but in the meantime, while new states have not been created, an Anioma should be governor of Delta State. So in my reply, I said agreed. You want to have governor, which we have already had, you should have it.

“I started to educate our people that we do not want trouble in the state, this is what Anioma want and I also advised them to reach out to other senatorial districts and leaders of the state, which they did.

“So we decided to support Dr Ifeanyi Okowa with Barr. Kingsley Otuaro as his deputy and since then, I found him a man that has the qualities I have always sought for, that was how I developed an interest in him. At this juncture, I will like to mention the roles played by one of my sons, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

Both of us actually discussed the various aspirants vying for the governorship positions of Delta State, and we both settled for Dr. Okowa and agreed to support him. Based on this decision, Tompolo immediately returned to Delta State to participate in the primary elections of the PDP, which our candidate won.”

He continued: “Do not forget that I said I, and Uduaghan had settled. There is nothing wrong. In fact, when former President Goodluck Jonthan decided to reshuffle his cabinet and Elder Godsday Orubebe was dropped and there was no more Minister representing Delta, the then governor, Uduaghan came to me, he sat down and said the president said he should come to me to discuss, who should be appointed from Delta.

“My mind went to Delta North, he reminded me that we agreed that the next governor would come from the North in 2015, so it is better we think of another place. I said let Delta Central take it, we agreed that Dr Stephen Oru should take the position. The position he was holding as zonal chair of PDP South-South should be taken over by somebody else; that was how we named Dr Cairo Ojougboh, who took over the position.

“I and Uduaghan agreed that we should settle in 2012 and the 29 positions in the Delta State Executive of the PDP were shared into two; I nominated Peter Nwaoboshi as state chairman, while Dr Uduaghan nominated the state secretary, organizing secretary and other positions.

That was how we settled and agreed to work together. He consulted me and sought for my advice on major decisions and appointments in the state across the three senatorial zones, always coming to discuss the affairs of Delta with me.

“He was very respectful to me and treated me like a father. I also wish through this medium to once again commend him for the roles he played in the establishment of the Edwin Clark University.

“I will remain ever grateful to him. So I am at peace with everybody, they are all my children,” he said.

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