You ought to be statesman not tribesman, Obasanjo tells Clark
Niger Delta leader insists Jonathan stopped Islamisation of Nigeria
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, replied the leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, over allegations of his hatred for the oil-rich region.
Obasanjo said Nigeria and Niger Delta demand in Clark, a statesman and not a tribesman, just as he warned the PANDEF chieftain and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), against deploying “offensive and uncouth languages” to describe his personality.
Clark had, last Wednesday, hit Obasanjo over what he termed “a disappointing display of hatred against the people of the oil-producing states in Nigeria.”
He was reacting to a recent outburst by the Nigerian erstwhile leader in Abuja, where he reportedly castigated the INC’s National Secretary, Ebipamowei Wodu, at a peace and security parley convened by Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa.
In an open letter to Obasanjo, titled: ‘My disappointment over your unprovoked outburst against the people of the Niger Delta region,” Clark accused Obasanjo of double standards on resource control.
But reacting yesterday via the same medium, Obasanjo said he bore no grudge against the Niger Delta.
Obasanjo’s response was contained in a letter dated December 28 and titled, “My response to the open letter by Clark.”
The ex-President noted that some of the words deployed by Clark to describe him “are offensive and uncouth.”
He said: “I have never shown any anger, distraught with Niger Delta region nor any part of Nigeria. Some of the languages you have deployed to describe me in your letter are offensive, uncouth and I totally and completely rejected them. I am not inconsistent, hypocritical, unstatesmanly, and nor am I anybody’s lackey.
“You use your own yardstick to judge others. I fear God and I respect those who respect themselves and I hope it is about time you changed from a tribesman to a statesman of character.
“That’s what Nigeria, and indeed the region you profess to love, demand of you at this stage. I believe one lesson that we all must appreciate that we have all learned in the last 61 years of our independence is that we all need to be civil to ourselves and occasionally put ourselves in the position of others. Bad language does not show prudence, wisdom and maturity. I hope you will think and adjust.”
The Owu chief also clarified that the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to Nigeria constitutionally.
Obasanjo observed that the Constitution did not confer ownership of oil and other mineral resources on any of the regions.
IN another development, Clark has insisted that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan deserves the credit for halting the Islamisation of Nigeria.
He expressed surprise that the likes of Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, have “kept heaping praises on President Muhammadu Buhari over the attainment of the feat.”
Clark said, “it is unfortunate that Islamists, operating under the guise of bandits and terrorists, have recorded inroads within the past six years in the country.”
He stated that “Mohammed should be hiding his head in shame now considering the harm he alongside chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) did to undermine the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration prior to the 2015 poll even after reclaiming 14 area councils from the stranglehold of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency group.”
The Niger Delta leader added: “But as the saying goes, what goes around, comes around. They never knew they were raising what is like the proverbial Frankenstein monster. What they created became uncontrollable and returned to haunt them.”
He went on: “Today, part of Niger State in North Central geo-political zone is occupied by Boko Haram. The governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has cried out several times about this. The insurgents have hoisted their flags in parts of the state, collecting levies and taxes from farmers before the latter will not only be allowed to go about their business but also enable them to live in peace.
“Only recently, on December 19, 40 innocent persons were gruesomely murdered in Kaduna by terrorists, in a state that has very major state security installations. These are not imaginary persons – they are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and relatives of persons. In fact, the names of 29 of them were published, the rest are yet to be identified. Just a few days ago, there were rocket explosions at different locations when the President visited Maiduguri.
“Yet, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Information Minister, is not seeing this. What he keeps seeing in his imagination is his warped images of 2015.
“It is a blatant falsehood for Alhaji Mohammed to claim that but for President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria would have been Islamised, that it was President Buhari government that sent Boko Haram out of the 14 Local Government Areas in Borno State.”
“Of course, no patriotic Nigerian will believe Alhaji Mohammed’s statement that it is President Buhari that prevented the takeover of Nigeria by Islam, rather, most Nigerians have the strong feeling that it is his government that has given or created the environment for the sect to return and be more daring.
“With all the menacing activities of this group, no armed herdsmen have been arrested. Is it by coincidence?
“I want to reiterate that Buhari’s spokesmen are his albatross. They unleash unwarranted attacks, insults and arrogance to opponents, behaving like Paul Joseph Goebbels, the chief propagandist of the Nazi Party of Germany and one of the closest allies and spokesmen of Adolf Hitler during World War II.
“As Information Minister, Mohammed, should be building bridges, instead of widening and expanding the gulf.”