A former Minister of Information and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Edwin Clark, on Tuesday accused the owner of the Energy Group of Companies, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, and a former governorship candidate of the party in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, of working against the defection of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State from the Labour Party to the PDP.
Speaking during an audience with members of the South South PDP Integration Committee, led by Prof. Iya Abubakar, at his Abuja residence, the Ijaw leader described their actions as disloyal.
The Ijaw national leader expressed dismay with the reception and attempted scuttling of Mimiko’s return to the party.
He wondered what Ibrahim and Oke intended to gain by working against their party.
Clark said: “There are members of this party who don’t want the Ondo State Governor, Chief Olusegun Mimiko, to come back to the PDP even when the policy of the party is to bring people into the party.
“People like Jimoh Ibrahim and Chief Olusola Oke did everything within their powers to frustrate the decamping of Mimiko into the PDP.
“This would be the second time that Chief Oke would be working against the decision of the party.
“Remember that he went to court to challenge Mimiko’s election against the decision of the party not to do so.
“He went as far as the Supreme Court where he lost.
“On his own part, Jimoh Ibrahim was busy organising people to oppose Mimiko coming into the PDP.
“This is not the attitude of a loyal party member.
“Nobody is bigger than the party.
“You are either in the party or you are out.
“But you cannot be inside and be working against the interest of the party.
“I think every responsible member of the party has a duty to work for the interest of the party, which is to bring in new members into the party and reconcile aggrieved members back into the fold.
“Anything short of this is not acceptable.”
Clark therefore urged the party to instil discipline to avoid a situation where members of the party are involved in actions that are against its general interest.
On President Goodluck Jonathan’s reelection bid, he cited Section 37 (1b) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides: “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the president if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.”
Clark said Jonathan was eligible to contest in 2015 general elections.
According to him: “If Jonathan contests and wins another four-year term in 2015, he would have self-succeeded himself as president for a cumulative period of nine years and 23 days.”
Besides, Chief Clark argued that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution completely demolishes the argument canvassed by Dr. Umar Ardo in his letter to the party’s leadership, adding that Jonathan has only contested once for the office of president and the constitution guarantees him a second term.
He added that what the constitution says is that a president or governor shall remain in office for a period of eight years after he has gone through two successive elections.
Clark said: “There is nowhere in the constitution where it is stated that a period a president occupies office after the death or resignation of a predecessor will be counted first term in office.
“The one year and 23 days of Umaru Yar’ Adua’s administration, which Jonathan served out, therefore seems to form the centrepiece of the writer’s argument to canvass for President Jonathan’s prevention from seeking a second term re-election.
“This, again, is baseless and inconsequential as the unexpired term served out by the Vice President is duly provided for in the 1999 Constitution by virtue of Sections 141 and 142.
“It neither violates the constitution nor any known law in Nigeria.
“This argument is worthless and amounts to flogging a dying horse.
“The writer appears more like a man with a clear vision, yet requesting for a light to see clearly.
“The one year and 23 days bears no relevance or effect on the two terms of eight years due for Jonathan.”
Clark noted that section 137 (1) of the 1999 Constitution is very instructive as it unequivocally uses election as basis for the eligibility.
It states: “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous election.”
Abubakar expressed confidence that the PDP will win the 2015 general elections and form the government of the country.
He disclosed that his Committee is working assiduously in reconciling aggrieved members back into the party as well as receiving new ones.