Yesterday, Chief Edwin Clark wrote an open letter to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, apparently in response to the open letter that Obasanjo wrote to President Jonathan.
Chief Edwin Clark is a former minister of information (1975), a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979-83), the chairman of the Delta State Elders’ Forum and a staunch ally of President Goodluck Jonathan. Clark has campaigned for Ijaw rights in the ethnically volatile Niger Delta.
We present it below, unedited. It makes for some intense reading. Enjoy!
My Dear Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,
LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
This indeed is a season of open letters, the session of which you heralded with a contemptuous one to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your eldest daughter and a former Senator, Dr. lyabo Obasanjo, feeling uncomfortable with your antics quickly fired a response to your now infamous letter that has gone viral and continue to generate negative national discourse.
President Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, an amiable gentle man to whom you routed your vicious open letter would not tolerate Presidential aides writing nor commenting on your letter, and so ordered a stay of action. He in his characteristic manner of respect and decorum said he would personally reply. I am quite certain that the President did not want to join issues with a benefactor and former President. He would have wanted the charged atmosphere your open letter orchestrated to ride itself out until normalcy and calm return to the polity, as witnessed in other incitive comments by well placed Individuals in the recent past.
However, as you well intended the echoes of your vicious letter continue to reverberate negatively. The President had no option left but to reply you through the same medium of an open letter. With a deep sense of responsibility the President touched all the damaging allegations you heaped on his administration and today Nigerians are better informed.
In the light of the forgoing, it has become incumbent upon me at this point in our national life to refute some of the issues highlighted in your letter especially about the Ijaws so that Nigerians must know that you are not the saint you claim to be, but a mischief maker, an ego maniac who always wants to play to the gallery. As rightfully put by your daughter lyabo “Nigeria does not belong to Obasanjo”. In addition, I want to buttress the assertion that all Nigerians are equal no matter where they come from, that is, no one is a second class citizen of this nation. You have no right to plunge Nigerians into crisis as your past actions and recent open letter to the President connotes. The generality of Nigerians think your letter is treasonable.
Why I write
Ordinarily, I never intended to join in the affray of accusations and counter accusations between a former President and a sitting President and a daughter in between. But, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in your usual characteristic hatred and use of sarcastic remarks about Ijaw, you have again berated and insulted us the Ijaws in your letter to Mr. President. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has never for once acted nor behaved as an Ijaw man since he took office as President, and we hold no grudge against him for that.
Secondly, as a Nigerian and an Ijaw man, I am proud to belong to both entities. Unlike you Obasanjo who is a Yoruba man first before being a Nigerian, I Chief E.K. Clark am the accepted leader of the Ijaws, while unfortunately you, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, are not accepted as leader of the Yorubas despite being Head of State twice, because you lack the virtues and honour deserving of a Yoruba leader. Your devilish and inciting remarks about the Ijaws are unfounded.
My dear former President, I know my letter will not come to you as a surprise because you know I would respond in equal measure, I have written several open letters to you in the past for your mismanagement of Nigeria affairs with Atiku Abubakar between 1999-2007, when you were the President and he your Vice President. I have also criticized and commented on your incessant interference with the government of Late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and I have commented on your unwarranted interference with his administration because of the confusion you generate. Reproduced hereunder is your myopic, rude and irresponsible remarks about Ijaws in your desperate letter to Mr. President:
‘For you to allow yourself to be “possessed” so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an Ijaw man’ is a mistake that should have never been allowed to happen. Yes, you have to be born in one part of Nigeria to be a Nigerian if not naturalized but the Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism. And those who prop you up as of, and for ‘Ijaw nation’ are not your friends genuinely, not friends of Nigeria nor friend of ‘Ijaw nation’ they tout about. To allow or tacitly encourage people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw insults on other Nigerians from other parts of the country and threaten fire and brimstone to protect your interest as Ijaw man is myopic and your openly quieting them is even more unfortunate. You know that I have expressed my views and feelings to you on this, issue in the past but I have come to realize that many others feel the way I have earlier expressed to you.”
I am indeed very sad and disturbed that you can make such a malicious, mischievous statement about an ethnic group which you did pejoratively knowing fully well that it has no single iota of truth nor foundation purposely to instigate and incite the rest of Nigerians against Mr. President and Ijaw come 2015.
Your statement: “For you to allow yourself to be possessed so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigeria as an Ijaw man is a mistake that should have never been allowed to happen” One may wish to ask why you think Jonathan is being possessed by Ijaws in the Presidency? The answer is definitely no. A few following instances may suffice;
i) The NSA in-charge of security in the whole country is Fuiani from Sokoto state.
if) The SGF is Ibo from Ebonyi State
iii) The Principal Secretary to the President is Fuiani from Adamawa
iv) The Commander, Brigade of guards is from Cross River
v) The ADC to the President is from Kogi
vi) His Speech writer is from Edo State, while the Senior Special Adviser on Media is Yoruba from Ogun State
vii)Chief of Staff to the President – Edo State
viii) Principal Secretary to President is Fulani
ix} The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Custom Service is Fulani from Katsina
x) The Chief of Air Staff is an Ibo from Delta State;
xi) The Chief of Naval Staff is from Kwara
xii) The Chief of Defence Staff is from North
xiii) The Chief of Army Staff is Ibo from Abia
The Inspector-General of Police is Hausa
xiv) The Director-General of DSS is from Cross River
xv) The Director-General of Immigration Service is from Plateau State
xvi) The Director-General of NSCDC is Yoruba from Ogun
xvii) The Executive Secretary of PTDF is Yoruba from Ekiti
xviii) The Chairman of FERMA is Yoruba from Osun while the MD is Ibo from Delta
-xix) The GMD NNPC is from Kaduna State
xx) The Acting DG NTA is from Eco State
xxi) Director-General of Inland Waterways – from the North
xxii) The MD of NPA is Hausa Fulani
xxiii) The CBN Governor is Hausa/Fulani from Kano
xxiv) The FRSC Chairman is Ibo
xxv) The Director-General of NAFDAC is from Benue.
INEC Chairman is Hausa/Fulani from Kebbi
NDDC Chairman is Ibibio from Akwa Ibom State Director-General National Orientation Agency is from Nasarawa State The Economic Adviser to the President is Ibo. The Chief of Protocol to Mr. President is a Yoruba man.
Even in the field of ambassadorial appointments, there is no Ijaw man or woman holding any senior ambassadorial appointment as underlined below:
The Ambassador of Nigeria to United States is Yoruba. The Nigerian Permanent Representative to United Nations is Ibo. The Nigerian High Commissioner to United Kingdom is Hausa/Fulani. Nigeria Ambassador to Russia Akwa Ibom. Nigeria Ambassador to China is Hausa. Nigeria Ambassador to Argentina, Benue. Nigeria Ambassador to France – Yoruba. Nigeria Ambassador to Spain – Ibo.
Out of the 64 ambassadorial posting to various Nigerian missions abroad, only three are Ijaw. No Ijaw person is Vice-Chancellor of any of the 36 Federal Universities.
The President has 18 Advisers approved by the Senate, only Mr, Oronto Douglas is Ijaw. The number of Ijaws in the Federal Civil Service under Jonathan’s Administration has not increased and the number of Permanent Secretaries is only three Ijaws out of about seventy. There are only two Ijaw Ministers out of 42. Only one Ijaw man from Rivers State owns Oil bloc even though most of the oil comes from Ijaw land. No Ijaw man is an oil marketer and no Ijaw man lifts oil. You have agreed that the amnesty programme has not been implemented properly. The second phase which is infrastructure development is yet to take place. The 45-Man Technical Committee recommendations White Paper under the Chairmanship of Comrade Ledum Mittee is yet to be released. This is one of the few areas Ijaw people could have benefited. Where are the Ijaws who have taken possession of President Jonathan?
I shall soon publish the full details of all those who held important federal positions and beneficiaries in line with ethnic quota in your government between 1999 – 2007. This will enable us determine who was possessed by his people and groups that were marginalized to show the extent President Jonathan is possessed by Ijaws. It may be necessary to state that:
1. Hausa language was the lingua franca at the Presidency while Alhaji Shehu Shagari was the President of Nigeria from 1979-1983.
2. Hausa language continued to be lingua franca in the Presidency when the military was in power between1983-1998.
3. Between 1999-2007, the Yoruba language became the lingua franca during your Presidency.
4. Between 2007-2010 the Hausa language returned to the Villa as lingua franca during late Umaru Musa Yar’dua administration and in fact, he was accused of bringing nearly all members of the State Executive to the Federal government. Is the Ijaw language the lingua franca at the Presidency now? The answer is NO.
My Dear Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, you have become an unrepentant trouble maker, as Nigeria gave you more than you truly deserve. Hence you see yourself as lord of the manor. You have without recourse in the past embarrassed all past Heads of State and Presidents in Nigeria through open letters and unsavory comments. In such letters, you have always alleged maladministration, corruption and incompetence against them.
At this juncture, I may wish to quote a piece from a concerned Nigerian, Senator Uche Chukwumereje: “He has since after his first stint in Aso Villa, consistently played the role of the Praetonia Guard pontificating to every successor and awarding marks like a headmaster to each pupil-President. Every regime from Shagari through Buhari to Babangida and Abacha, has benefited (or suffered) from the corrective tongue lashes of the guard.’’
Nigerians are aware that you set the stage for the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as President of the Federal Republic. But the saying goes that if you present a gift of a goat to a friend you must let go of the tether. You are probably different. Right from the inception of the Jonathan presidency, your body language indicated you wanted to play the role of the piper, that is, dictate how Jonathan runs, the phenomenon you did not tolerate from those who put you in office in 1999.
An incident that played itself out then will suffice. You masterminded the removal of Chief Tony Anenih then PDP Chairman, Board of Trustee, and appointed yourself thinking the position will give you powers to control and manipulate the President. The futility of your actions dawned on you when you realized Jonathan is his own man. And in frustration you resigned as PDP Board of Trustee Chairman. You had thought the President will kneel before you begging that you stay on; but he never did. Every Nigerian therefore, knows that you connived, with PDP renegades and opposition parties to ridicule and undo President Jonathan and the government because he refused to be your puppet.
In the cabinet of General Yakubu Gowon, you always pretended to be the most loyal and honest man. I was in London with General Murtala Muhammed when the coup of 1975 took place. Murtala came back to Nigeria through a KLM flight to Kano, On that fateful day you were at the Kano Airport to receive General Muhammed, and that was how that government was formed and you were part of it. Later, I met you at Dodan Barracks and asked you why you betrayed General Gowon by .going to Kano to receive Muhammed. You explained to me that you were in Kano for sporting activities, which I disagreed with.
You went all out to frustrate and humiliate your Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, when he declared his intention to contest the 2003 and 2007 Presidential elections. You associated him with US Congressman William Jefferson, prompting the FBI to investigate and search his residence in Maryland. The FBI could not find any connection between Atiku and Mr. Jefferson. You were determined to stop your deputy at all cost from contesting the presidential election. A letter from Jefferson to you was handed over to the EFCC to enable it investigate Atiku, to declare him unqualified for the 2007 election. The EFCC report led to the establishment of an administrative Inquiry headed by the Minister of Justice and your boys and girls in the Cabinet. They hastily found Atiku guilty as charged by you. You sent the report to the National Assembly.
You declared Atiku a persona-non-grata, his aides and vehicles were taken from him, and you declared his seat vacant. All these you did as if the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not exist. You can see how petty you are. You did all these just because you felt Atiku worked against your third term presidential ambition.
Jonathan not training snipers
My dear Obasanjo, your allegation that President Jonathan is training snipers in preparation for 2015, is a diabolical concoction and a figment of your imagination. As you have no shred of evidence to authenticate this bogus lie. The same is applicable to the supposed 1000 political leaders being on the watch list of the President, Time and time again President Jonathan has said his election is not worth shedding a single Nigerian blood for, which is very much unlike you who played “do or die politics”. You made up these stories to whip up ethnic sentiments not only against Mr. President, but the Ijaws and the entire South South geopolitical zone.
On the security issues stated in your letter I have already stated that the President should leave this serious allegation for the Security agents to investigate for no one is above the law of this country. As I also mentioned in my letter to you, I stated that the contents of your letter is a revisit to your own activities in your eight years rule between 1999 and 2007. The President in his reply referred to the attack of Bayelsa State Government House and the bombing of his personal house in Otuoke, Yenagoa, all in the attempt to assassinate him and cause chaos in Nigeria. He also mentioned the Petrol tanker incident. You were the sitting President in Nigeria at the time, you did not investigate the matter nor comment on it.
I am fully aware of the incident because our late President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua who was very much embarrassed and seriously shaken by it, discussed the matter with me and he appreciated the role I later played in the matter. That was the beginning of Yar’Adua’s loss of confidence in you. I am fully aware that the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was ready to stop you from meddling and parading yourself with this holier than thou attitude. You were eternally lucky that the late President did not carry out his intention before he fell ill and later passed on.
Your two eldest children, Senator lyabo and Gbenga have publicly denounced you and have sworn not to ever speak nor have any communication with you again until “thy kingdom come” because of the wrongs you did to them. OBJ what manner of a man are you to deserve this? You cannot carry on like a bull in a China Shop. I advise you take some time off to reflect on some of these things.
On a personal note, both of us are regarded as President Jonathan’s father, in fact, according to you after God and his parent you come next before me and others. You and some of your children are always at the Villa for one thing or the other while my children do not know where the Presidency or Villa is. The only position you have not occupied is to rule the Presidency from your Ota farm in Ogun State. In his book “Accidental Public Servant”, El-Rufai stated that you informed your kitchen cabinet or economic committee that they should not disband because you would be ruling Aso Rock from Ota and you needed them.
President Jonathan has not identified himself to the nation as an Ijaw man. He hardly attends their social ceremonies. But he attends social gatherings when invited by other Nigerians from all over the country. I can confirm that apart from Yenagoa and Otuoke his village, in Bayelsa State, President Jonathan has not visited any Ijaw village or town for official function or social outing. He is the most deetribalized President of Nigeria and in most case keeps away from his own people for fear of accusation by you and your cohorts. We have prominent Ijaw politicians both men and women who participated fully in the 2011 election and today they have not been able to enter the Presidency or received any patronage from the Jonathan’s government.
Our people believe this is the sacrifice they have to make. And they are indeed very grateful and appreciative of the roles being played by other Nigerians of all ethnic and religious divides to make their son President.
As the Ijaw leader, I have gone out of my way to remind Mr. President publicly that Nigerians expected much from him hence they voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011 and will vote for him again 2015 if he performs. I have therefore not for once advocated for fire and brimstone or that blood will flow if Jonathan is not elected in 2015. I have gone further to apologize to all Nigerians that if at any time I made a statement that threatened the unity and stability of Nigeria, I should be forgiven. Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State himself commended my statement.
It must be recalled that some of the ex-militant leaders like Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom Boyloaf, etc. have openly attacked Mr. President to the delight and applause of the President’s political opponents. It is therefore very unfair of you to envelope all Ijaws in your attack of President Jonathan and his people. At this juncture, I would like to challenge you to name other Ijaw persons or groups that throw insults on other Nigerians on account of Jonathan. One may therefore wish to ask you to refresh your memory when you recruited Femi Fani Kayode to attack your political opponents including your own ethnic group and you compensated him with a ministerial appointment and kept him until your last breakfast with your other kitchen cabinet members in the Villa. Is it therefore fair to accept Fani Kayode’s recalcitrant and irresponsible statements on other Nigerians, as acting on behalf of an ethnic nationality?
It will be madness of anyone to do so as you have done with Ijaws because of Asari Dokubo’s statements which did not receive the applause of the generality of Ijaws. My people started voting for other Nigerians even though they had no candidates, since 1951. And they formed alliances with other people or political parties in other parts of Nigeria. For instance, in 1959 both late Dappa Biriye and Chief Melford Okilo stood election on the platform of Niger Delta Congress (NDC). Chief Melford Okilo won his election to the Federal House of Assembly.
The NDC entered into alliance with the Northern Peoples Congress [NPC] which was the largest party in Nigeria but had no national spread in the south of Nigeria. It was therefore the NDC alliance with the NPC that made it a national party. It is therefore very arrogant and insulting of you to berate Ijaws as immature politicians. Today, the 17 states of the south are cooperating with one another and meeting from time to time to discuss the progress and unity of Nigeria. We have successfully met in Uyo, Enugu and Lagos. We shall also meet in Delta State soon. In this association, the Ijaws are playing a leading role under my leadership. You may not also know the South-South relationship with the Middle Belt of Nigeria made up of North Central and North Eastern zones,
Mr. former President, 1 will also like to use the language of your daughter, lyabo to describe you to Nigerians. You are “a liar, manipulator, two faced hypocrite” and that “you have an egoistic craving for power and live a life where only men of low self esteem thrive”.
You know over the years, I have always criticized you about your performance starting with the Ibori’s ex-convict case even though he may not have a good case.
Your vindictive and mischievous attitude towards political opponents was unacceptable and very few of us were able to criticize you. You felt former governor Ibori of Delta State and Alameyeseigha, his counterpart in Bayelsa State were being used by the former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, against you and you decided to punish them. But when Ibori gave you money he became your good boy, despite the position held by Delta Elders against him,
In the case of Alamieyesiegha you tried to use his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, against him but he refused. You went on to use the Chairman of the EFCC to intimidate members of the Bayelsa House of Assembly and they carried out a kangaroo impeachment to remove him from office. You then immediately directed the security agencies after the impeachment to handcuff the governor and took him to Abuja for prosecution. I also criticized you when you asked your security men to arrest the candidate who was standing against your daughter in the senatorial election in Ogun State even though there was no case against him in Nigeria.
You may also remember my open letter to you published in the Vanguard Newspaper in which I asked you to leave Yar’adua alone to run his government. That you attempted to rule Yar’adua’s government from Ota farm is unacceptable. I quoted the example of France and Great Britain to buttress my case. I continued my attack on you and your cohorts when President Jonathan refused you to run his government from Ota farm. However, everything you asked President Jonathan, he gave to you. The first two important Ministerial appointments, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who are not politicians were given to you for Ogun State,
You had a hand in almost every appointment in the South West hence the party collapsed in the South West.
El-Rufai said in his book “Accidental Public Servant” that you sent him to General Buhari inviting him to be the Presidential candidate of the PDP in 2011 with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Itweala as his running mate. El-Rufai told the story of how together with Dr. Odumegwu, former Chairman of the NPC and two others drove from Lagos to Ota in the night only for you to say that Jonathan should be given another chance. They discovered that your daughter lyabo had won her Senatorial case in a High Court. You can see how petty you are,
You are today one of the richest men in Nigeria if not in Africa. In 1999, it was widely reported in the media that you came out of Gashua Prison very broke. As a matter of fact, it was stated you had N20,000 in your bank account as declared in your Code of Conduct Bureau Form. In just 8 years, as President of Nigeria, you metamorphosed from a struggling ex-head of state, into a life of opulence. You must tell Nigerians the magic behind the sudden affluence. When corruption is mentioned, informed Nigerians know those that foisted the malady on our nation.
The Halliburton bribe scandal and the Siemens case were lightly touched by President Jonathan in his open reply to you. These two high profile corruption cases happened during your tenure as President.
How dare you point accusing fingers at others when you have a cupboard filled with skeletons? You have forgotten the saying that “a man who lives in a glass house should not throw stones”.
The anti-corruption apparatus became a coercive instrument in your hands to browbeat perceived political enemies. Your vendetta against political opponents and those you believed were working counter to your third term ambition knew no limits. Chief Obasanjo your former Minister of Defence, General T,Y, Danjuma, was the first to call you a pauper, when he fell out with you. He tagged you “Stone broke”, a phrase he used to describe your pathetic financial predicament before you came to power.
My dear former President, what do you really want from President Jonathan? Most of the various issues you raised in your letter are mere re-visitation of the many things you did and failed to do in your 8 years of mis-governance.
In conclusion, I would like to borrow the words of Peter Howard, “the petty plans and plots of small minded men rob every nation of their destiny”. This is my new year message and response to your open letter and other subterranean activities designed to destabilize Nigeria because of your personal interest.
My best wishes of the season to you and your esteemed family.
Chief Edwin Clark