•Continues to fume over comments on Jonathan, Ijaw people
By Emma Amaize
Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday continued to flay comments by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the reasons Dr. Goodluck Jonathan lost re-election as president saying that Obasanjo’s comments were framed to show his disdain for his successors and position himself as Nigeria’s best ruler ever.
Chief Clark, who returned to the country on Thursday after a medical check-up in London, told Saturday Vanguard on phone, yesterday that he was angry that Obasanjo has arrogated to himself the powers to castigate people at will and attempting to control every successive President of Nigeria, failure upon which he would declare the person his enemy.
Chief Clark spoke in response to Obasanjo’s comments in the just-published book on the 2015 presidential elections, Against the Run of Play, written by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, a revered columnist and chairman of Editorial Board of Thisday Newspaper.
While disputing Obasanjo’s claims that Jonathan violated the zoning principle of the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he said, “who are you to assess the performance of Presidents and their governments, who are you to dictate to Nigerians who should be President or who should not be President? Who are you to talk about zoning when you, yourself were to run a single term of four years between 1999 and 2003, which led Atiku to challenge you in 2003 when you wanted to continue a second term?
On the ex-president’s claims on pipeline protection programme initiated by the Jonathan administration, Clark asserted: “You thought this was wrong because it was another way of creating areas for corruption. You felt that this was a job for the police or the security agencies, but you failed to realise that the issue of pipeline agency has been a long standing issue before Jonathan came into office in 2010.
“At a meeting of Niger Delta leaders at Aso Rock with you in 2001, where the issue of militancy and fratricidal war in Warri were discussed, I raised the issue of pipeline vandalisation and how to protect it. I said it was wrong for oil companies like Shell and Chevron to employ individuals to supervise pipeline and that it should be given to the youths in every oil producing community to look after and whoever allows vandalisation to continue in their area should be penalised, and you bought the idea and called on the NDDC to initiate the plan, but that never took place.
“It was our appeal to the oil companies whose contractors were being molested by the communities that later agreed that the pipeline surveillance should be given to the youths in the various oil communities. And oil companies farmed out pipeline surveillance to the youths, and this produced a very successful result, and the youths were engaged.
“In that same meeting, I accused top military officers, particularly the Navy of being involved in illegal oil bunkering and stealing and you, therefore, appointed our most respected General TY Danjuma to investigate my allegation. I was vindicated by TY Danjuma’s report. All of these were before Yar’Adua and Jonathan’s administration,” he added.
Clark maintained: “After the amnesty, it was also negotiated and agreed that the militant leaders should now supervise the pipelines but unfortunately it did not succeed, and the contract was cancelled. For some time the pipeline remained unattended to, it was towards the end of Jonathan’s administration that the contract was re-awarded to various youth organisations which the incoming government of President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled.”
Fraudulent remark on Boko Haram
Reacting to attributions to Obasanjo in the book that President Jonathan turned Boko Haram into an industry for making money, Clark said:
“I think this is very uncharitable and dishonest; you should name how Jonathan and his people turned Boko Haram into money- making industry and who are his people that benefited from that industry.”
“You are not sincere in commenting on the Boko Haram, it should be remembered that you went to Maiduguri on two occasions and you did not report to Mr. President the objective of your mission to Maiduguri in the Northeast. Instead of reporting the outcome of your mission to Mr. President, you used it as a political score point and personal aggrandisement,” he said.
According to him: Olusegun Adeniyi also noted that you had advised early in the life of Jonathan’s administration that Jonathan needed to pay more attention to the Boko Haram insurgents and the advice was ignored. Who is lying? Is it you or is it the author Adeniyi? Is it after your visit to Maiduguri which led to more killing of Boko Haram people particularly the father in law of Yusuf or your second visit? Was that the time you told the president to show more concern on the Boko Haram affair?
He continued: “I am surprised that you had to advise Mr. President on such a serious matter like Boko Haram at a gathering to mark the 40th anniversary of Pastor Ayo Oristsejafor as a minister of the gospel. You had every access to Aso Rock both in the day and at night.”
The elder statesman noted: “It must be observed that Boko Haram came into being in 2002 when you were the president and commander in chief of the armed forces of Nigeria. As usual and for reasons best known to you, you did nothing about it as you did not do anything about Sharia when the governor of Zamfara State, Yerima legalised Sharia in his state, and other northern states were agitating for the introduction of Sharia in their states; and you did not see any danger in that in a country which is secular.”
“It must be noted that in 2009, when Boko Haram attacked in the north east, Jonathan had not become the president of Nigeria. And the period of 2009 to 2010 when Yara’dua was in Saudi Arabia, Jonathan was not in a position to do anything about Boko Haram because the Cabal was in power,” he said.
Hatred for Ijaw
Speaking on Obasanjo’s allegation of “clannishness and promotion of Ijaw triumphalism” by the Jonathan administration, he stated: “The most important accusation you made against Jonathan is “clannishness and promotion of Ijaw triumphalism, which you described as sickening.”
“You said you asked Jonathan “what is this thing all about, can Ijaw people make you president? You further accused Jonathan of granting pardon to DSP Alamieyeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa State convicted for corruption and that this has become an international embarrassment to Nigeria.
“I am not surprised because you hated and destroyed DSP Alamieyeseigha until his death simply because he wanted to be a running mate to Atiku in 2003. Your boy, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was deputy, was promoted to high heaven by you to the extent of making him a Chief of Owu in Abeokuta,” he said.
Clark asserted: “you have the highest disdain for the Ijaw people. You do not hide your malice towards the Ijaw people of which Jonathan happens to be one. It is known by all Nigerians that whoever is the President of Nigeria, his language becomes the Lingua Franca of the Presidency from the Shehu Shagari time till date.”.