Following a swipe taken by Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, at organisers of the National Political Summit on the future of Nigeria tagged: Uyo 2013, the organisers have replied, described as unfair and uncharitable comments attributed to the elder statesman, that those billed to participate in the event were saboteurs of democracy and enemies of President Goodluck Jonathan that he could not sit with them.
In her response to the comments yesterday, Ms Ankio Briggs, one of the South-South co-ordinators of the summit, said Clark’s words were harsh and unacceptable.
“How can calling for this summit of Nigerians from different sectors and parts of the country to discuss the future of Nigeria, call for a Sovereign National Conference, people’s constitution and true federalism amount to being unpatriotic, undemocratic and enemy of President Jonathan? I find it difficult to believe that my elder and leader, Chief E.K Clark feel that when people sit down to discuss the future of Nigeria they are unpatriotic and undemocratic. It is harsh.
“The summit is not about President Jonathan as a person or president. It is about Nigeria, the future of Nigeria and the way forward. I am a supporter of Jonathan myself. Clark was invited. If he doesn’t want to attend, it does not mean those who are attending are enemies of Jonathan. We have been saying that we want SNC. There have been other summits that Clark attended. He was at the Lagos summit.
“I will attend. It is a wrong impression to see the summit as being about Jonathan. The summit is not anti-Jonathan. I believe that we must have a national conference before 2015 if Nigeria is to survive. It is in the interest of President Jonathan to have a national conference. May be President Jonathan would be the first president to have the wisdom, boldness and courage to say Nigerians have been clamouring for national conference, let’s give it to them.”
She wondered how eminent Nigerians like Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Professor Itse Sagay, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, Amanayabo Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Ishiaku Rabiu and Chief Olu falae and others, who fought for democracy and almost died in the struggle during the military era could be branded enemies of democracy, adding, “we are not enemies of Jonathan. We are not saboteurs democracy. We are protecting democracy in Nigeria.”