Elders and leaders from the South-South region on Wednesday suspended the Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, from the South-South Peoples Assembly. The decision was informed by the recent appointment of Dokpesi as the Director-General of the former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s campaign organisation. The group made its position known in a communique issued at the end of its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday. The communique was signed by an elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark and 10 other members.

According to them, they have resolved to suspend Dokpesi from the activities of the South-South Peoples Assembly, following his decision to take up the job of the Director-General of IBB Campaign Organisation.

While condemning Dokpesi’s action, they said, “We totally condemn and dissociate the forum from ignoble action of Chief Raymond Dokpesi to serve as D-G of the IBB campaign organisation. Consequently, he is hereby suspended from the activities of the South-South Peoples Assembly, till further notice. Let it be known that there are other citizens of the South-South zone who are active members of the IBB Campaign Organisation who have not been so sanctioned because as Nigerians they are free to associate and affiliate with any political group or interest of their choice.”

A rally has also been scheduled for Uyo next Monday, September 13, to formally urge President Goodluck Jonathan to join the race.

Clark, in his speech, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure strict adherence and compliance with the stipulated guidelines “especially with a view to enthroning internal democracy in political parties.”

He also called on all South-South indigenes to ensure full participation in the election.

The octogenarian said, “We commend the President for giving INEC all they need to work to ensure a successful election in 2011. We want the country to have a free and fair election in 2011. We have never tasted the Presidency before and we contribute most to the wealth of this nation. We all belong to this country and we are not opposed to anybody contesting the election.”

Some of the leaders from the zone present at the meeting are a former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Mike Akhigbe (retd); Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Chibudom Nwuche; Chief Graham Douglas; former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Don Etiebet; former Governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh; Senator Bob Effiong; Senator James Manager; chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State, Chief Richard Lamai; Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey and Minister of State (Works), and Mr. Chris Osa-Ogienwonyi.

In his reaction, Dokpesi said he had never been a member of the South-South Elders and Leaders Forum and had never attended any of their meetings.

Dokpesi, in an interview with one of our correspondents said, “I was never a member of that association. I don‘t know the members and I am not even aware of the forum. I say it again, I have never ever been a member and had never been contacted by anybody to attend any of their meetings.”

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