Edwin Clark, PANDEF faction reconcile to move Niger Delta forward
Members of the two factions of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) met yesterday for several hours in Delta State and agreed to work together again for the good of the region.
The meeting held in Kiagbodo, the country home of Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark in Burutu Local Council, followed the disruption of the group’s meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State by suspected militants loyal to a splinter group.
It was gathered that the move is also to prevent a reoccurrence of the Port Harcourt incident in the PANDEF meeting holding in Warri today. It is to be attended by all stakeholders in the Niger Delta.
The Pan-Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC) led by Chief Mike Loyibo and Pere Ayemi Botu broke away from PANDEF two months ago. They alleged the Clark-led PANDEF had lost the credibility to represent the region, citing inaction in the negotiation with the Federal Government.
After hours of talks, both parties agreed to work together. Leader of the splinter group, Loyibo, said they broke
“There was a disagreement in the leadership of PANDEF because of some problems, and we broke out, but today we are back. The only way we can make progress is to come together. So, from today, there is no more PNDPC and there is one leader of PANDEF who is Chief E.K. Clark.
If we are divided, there will be no development for our people. We have decided to collapse PNDPC and work with PANDEF,” he said.
Clark, who was the convener, described the PANDEF as the body uniting and speaking for the Niger Delta region just like Afenifere in South West, Ohanaeze in South East and the Arewa Consultative Forum in the North.
“We have now met and decided to come together and use the possibility to tell the Federal Government to see us as one, not to cause division amongst us.
“We want to reemphasize that PANDEF is not an Ijaw affair but that of all the ethnic groups in the Niger Delta. We should work together and not allow anyone divide us,” Clark said.
Former minister of police affairs, Alowei Broderick Bozimo, said the reconciliation was not brought about by the PANDEF meeting holding today in Warri, but by painstaking effort that began a few months ago. He urged the Niger Delta to speak with one voice to get respect from the presidency and other regions of the country.
The traditional ruler of Ogulagha kingdom, HRM Joseph Timiyan and other leaders from various communities attended the meeting.
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