By Henry Umoru
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark said yesterday that as President Goodluck Jonathan settles down to put in place his cabinet, he must not allow State governors nominate for him Ministers that will form the yet to be constituted Federal Executive Council, FEC.
Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja, Clark who alleged that some governors have suddenly become dictators who have in recent time caused trouble in their nomination of Ministers, however urged President Jonathan to consult very widely with traditional rulers, leaders of thought in the country and bring on board, technocrats that will help him in the developmental process.
According to him, “he knows those who will bring this country together. The only thing I should say is that he should not allow a situation whereby governors are responsible for nominating ministers from their states. That has caused a lot of trouble in the past. Where a minister appointed by the president has double loyalty. Loyalty to his governor, loyalty to Mr President.
“He should appoint technocrats from all over the country. People on merit. When governors appoint commissioners, they don’t consult the local government chairman, why should you consult them. You could consult the party not governors. Governors will always nominate their boys who listen to them.
“He should consult with the party, prominent men in the country, prominent traditional rulers who will recommend people for him and he did that last time and I think he should do it again. This time he should not consult the governors.”
Speaking on the post election peace moves, the Elderstatesman noted that with the election of President Jonathan, “we now have a Nigeria that will be united fully by a man God has sent to unite the country and that is President Jonathan”, adding that arrangements have been concluded for a meeting between leaders of the South South and leaders from the North with former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma as the arrow head, even as there will be subsequent meetings with other geo-political zones of the country with a view to moving the country forward.
“So we will, now that the elections are over and Jonathan as usual has stretched his hands to everybody, we will encourage him to do more and now we will meet with everybody, call a meeting and we will settle our problems,” he said.
On the post election violence witnessed in some parts of the country following the declaration of President Jonathan as winner of the Presidential polls, Chief Clark who described the incident as unfortunate, stressed that the ground work for the riot was put in place before the elections especially against the backdrop of inciting statements made by some leaders.
According to him, “it was very unfortunate, unfortunate in the sense that some of the leaders including those who wanted to contest election, have made statements to the extent that if we do not have this Presidency, there will be no Nigeria. Or the north has lost every thing and I think that was the ground work which prepared them for this riot.
“It’s not something that came just like that. Secondly, some of them said, they will make the country ungovernable. These were statements made before the riot and the ground was prepared. Buhari himself made some statements that they should defend their votes and how are they going to defend their votes?
“So immediately he thought he had won particularly the north west when the votes were coming out, there was the likelihood that he was going to win, so when he did not win, he need not go to tell them that go and riot. He had prepared the ground; I am saying this today and some of them have done so.
“But we are lucky that majority of the northerners have become very well educated. Men who do not believe in religion or tribe and they supported Jonathan otherwise it could have been worse than that. But now that it is all over, we have no other country to go to, Nigerians must now live together despite what happened. We should now build a united country free from religion, free from interest, free from ethnicity and let’s be one country, a country where everyone is equal.”