Clark Points Out Errors

Clark Points Out Errors In Nigeria’s Politics

Clark Points Out Errors

OpenLife Nigeria reports that an elder stateman, Chief Edwin Clark, has pointed out the errors in Nigeria’s political engagements.

The 96 years old nationalist from Delta State made this known during a media session with journalists earlier reported in the Vanguard Newspapers.

According to the former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari deceived Nigerians ahead of the 2015 Presidential election with his campaign mantra of “change. ”

He noted that the “Change ”deceit marked the beginning of developmental down turn for the country.

Clark, who noted this in his 688-page ‘Brutally Frank’ , his autobiography, said that throughout his administration, he betrayed Nigerians, and did not serve them contrary to his inaugural remark that he belonged to everybody.

The book which has five chapters was unveiled on Thursday in Abuja. It captured the journey of Clark as a classroom teacher, a commissioner, minister, a Senator and national activist, spanning over seven decades.

In Chapter 22, titled, Buhari’s Nigeria from Page 523, Clark took a swipe at the former President, saying that nothing changed for the better during in his eight years and perhaps if there was any change at all, it was for the worse.

According to the elder statesman, there was massive conspiracy against Goodluck Jonathan’s government ahead of 2015 presidential election by northerners, just as he stressed that immediately after Buhari was sworn into office, he took off to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, Niger, Chad, etc. with a view to mobilising their support, particularly in strengthening the Joint Task Force.

He expected all neighbouring countries to contribute troops to the Joint Task Force. Unfortunately, he did not achieve his desired goal as the Joint Task Force started to disintegrate and no one knew its role and position today.

Clark in the book said, “there was massive conspiracy against Jonathan’s government at the 2015 presidential election, particularly by northerners who felt that the continuation of Jonathan’s government, whether legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional, must stop in 2015. The conspiracy first began during preparations for the 2011 election which Jonathan eventually won.

“In 2015, the conspiracy grew thicker. That was the main reason four political parties merged to present a united front at the 2015 presidential elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.) who contested for the presidency of Nigeria on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 and 2007 unsuccessfully formed the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2009 to contest in 2011 against Jonathan, but lost again at his third attempt.’

“Precisely on the 15th of April 2011 at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja, General Buhari said: “This campaign is the third and last one for me, after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the President”.

However, on October 15, 2014, at the Eagle square Abuja, he decided to throw his hat into the ring once again and said “I humbly present myself to all Nigerians and to God, seeking to be elected as All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate”. Is he truly a man of his Words as portrayed?

“Quite unfortunately, despite the force and provocative propaganda mounted by the APC and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari between 2014 and 2015 through the change mantra, giving the impression that they were here to clean the Augean stable and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan would be thrown out in shame, nothing seems to have changed for the better. Perhaps if there is any change’ at all, it is for the worse.

“The APC and President Buhari boasted that eradicating Boko Haram which was operating from north-eastern Nigeria was not a difficult task and that Boko Haram would be a thing of the past after three months of their administration. Unfortunately, today, Boko Haram is still with us and has even given birth to various other splinter groups.

“It is worth noting that after President Buhari was sworn into office, he immediately visited our neighbouring countries, Niger, Chad, etc. with a view to mobilising their support, particularly in strengthening the Joint Task Force, whereby all neighbouring countries contributed troops to the Joint Task Fore but unfortunately, he did not achieve his desired goal. The Joint Task Force started to disintegrate and no one knows its role and position today.

“Before dwelling more on President Muhammadu Buhari, it is only proper for me to comment on his inaugural speech on the 29th of May 2015 at the Eagle Square, with former President Jonathan, standing by him motionless.

As promised in his inaugural speech, he said and I quote: “Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”

“For the past seven years, President Muhammadu Buhari did not serve Nigerians and that is contrary to what he said in his inaugural speech that he belongs to everybody. That is not so to us, he belongs to some people.

For instance, he appointed fourteen out of the seventeen security chiefs from his Fulani tribe, a well-acclaimed speech stating that he belongs to everybody and nobody is a sham. I make bold to say reverse is the case: he belongs to some people but does not belong to the entire Nigerians.

“It appears he did not read through the inaugural speech before coming to deliver it publicly. There is no evidence in his government that the few people who must have offended him in the past, he did not get even with them.

If he did not do so security-wise, he referred their cases to EFCC, ICPC or Code of Conduct Bureau. A typical case of victimisation is that of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, JSC.

The President suspended him from office when he had no power under the 1999 Constitution to appoint or remove the CJN. He dictatorially did and no one challenged him, not even the Nigerian Bar Association.

Another case that comes to my mind is that of Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Senate President. The offence he committed against Mr. President and his party was that he became the Senate President, whereas the choice of Buhari and APC was Ahmed Lawan, the current President of the 9th National Assembly.

“Senator Saraki, President of the 8th National Assembly, was harassed and humiliated by subjecting him to trial at the Code of Conduct Bureau, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, where he was finally discharged and acquitted, but Magu, the then Chairman of EFCC continued to haunt him at the behest of the government.

The haunting continued until the hammer fell on Magu himself. Buhari promised to tackle hard on insecurity, pervasive corruption, fuel and Power shortages. Contrary to his boast, the cost of fuel and power are beyond the reach of the common man.

Nigerians today are lamenting that Buhari is not capable and overwhelmed with problems. Today, Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Insecurity has overwhelmed most parts of the country especially North-West. North-East and South-East.

Boko Haram and 1SWAP control some local governments and the Federal Government has not been able to Capture and put on trial, some of these terrorists. Furthermore, over 110 Chibok girls are still at large not to talk of Leah Siharibu. In Kaduna State, about 10 people are being killed almost every day.

On Aprýl 11, 2022, about 170 people were killed in Plateau State while Samuel Lalong, the State Governor was busy attending meetings of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential declaration.

“Today, there is hunger and unemployment in the land. Industries are dying and federal and state universities are frequently shut because of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strikes. I am therefore, not surprised when Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum called on President Muhammadu Bubari to resign since he is no longer able to cope with the problems in Nigeria. Nigeria is now regarded as the poverty capital of the world.

“President Muhammadu Buhari also promised to run a democratic government. This he has failed to do. He is more of a military dictator. It is sad indeed that his advisers did not advise him properly before he started to interfere with the functions of state governments.

As a result, he engaged in issuing Executive Orders to regulate the finances of state legislature and judiciary. This he did recently when he issued Executive Order 10 to regulate the finances of states and the judiciary. The state governments went to court challenging the order, which the Supreme Court declared null and void.

“ The local government system inclusion in the 1999 Constitution is indeed a misnomer. Various constituent assemblies, including the 2014 National Conference, of which I was a member had recommended that the entire affair of the local government is constitutionally a state matter, therefore it is not a third-tier of the constitution. Thus, the naming of all the local government council is unconstitutional.

“I further submit that state governments should be free to create local government areas in their states and be responsible for them fiscally. For instance, it is absurd that the military were able to create state and local government in their areas. That is why today, Kano State has 44 Local Government Areas, they receive allocation from FAAC, up to the tune of about 5 Billion Naira on monthly basis.

Bayelsa State has only 8 Local Governments and receives little or nothing from the Federal Governments distribution pool. This is no doubt oppressive, discriminatory and unjust.

“The freedom of the press which Mr President guaranteed in his inaugural speech no longer exists, having regard to the utterances of the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.

Due to the massive propaganda of the APC, many Nigerians believed them and that gave them goodwill, but within the first six months of assuming power, Buhari squandered the goodwill as he operated in isolation. That was the same way Buhari was received by Nigerians on the 31st of December, 1983, when his group sent the government of President Shagari packing.

Within a very short time, the goodwill he enjoyed from the Nigerian people vanished as claimed in a broadcast by Major Gen. Sani Abacha, leading to the overthrow of his government in August 1985.

“For the past 7 years, Nigerians have not seen any evidence of democracy in Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
For the first 6 months of his administration, he was on his own and hardly communicated with other prominent Nigerians. Nigerians began to ask what was happening.

It was then that he announced the appointment of his ministers, most of whom would be regarded as old wine in
new bottles. There was nothing to inspire anybody.

One had expected that with the long wait, the President would have done his homework consulting with elites and civil society organisations and would then bring with him, new set of ministers who are free of corrupt charges. But as usual, most of his ministers the same people Obasanjo, YarAdua, or Jonathan had appointed into their governments as ministers or advisers.

“ It was clearly stated in the manifesto of the APC in 2014 and 2015 that they should restructure Nigeria in their own way and therefore there was no need to effect the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s 2014 Conference Report that was handed over to the Buhari administration by the transition committee.

The APC, out of pressure appointed the El-Rufai Committee which went around the whole country interacting with Nigerians as to what kind of restructuring they deserve and at the end of their findings, they wrote a report which I learnt was submitted
to the National Executive Committee of the APC with President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance as leader of the Party.

Both Chief John Odigie Oyegun, former Governor of Edo State who was the National Chairman of APC and Mallam EI-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, confirmed that the report had been accepted by the leadership of the Party.

Even in a recent interview granted by El-Rufai to Channels Television, he repeated the same statement, and added that what was left, was to submit the report to the National Assembly.

But Muhammadu Buhari who preached democracy even though he did not believe in it, sat on it, and behaved as if he was still in the 1984-1985 military regime, where there was no one to question him. It is now a common belief to Nigerians that the APC does not believe in restructuring.”

Born in Kiagbodo, in the Ijaw area of what is now Delta State, Edwin Clark attended primary and secondary schools at Effurun, Okrika and Afugbene before completing further studies at the Government Teacher Training College, which later became Delta State University, Abraka. Thereafter, Clark worked briefly as a school teacher before traveling abroad to earn a law degree.

Clark’s involvement in the political process began during the pre-independence period when he was elected as Councillor for Bomadi in 1953. Clark later joined National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). While a student at Holborn College, he was active in the West African Students’ Union.

After the military coup of January 1966, Clark was among a group of delegates from the Mid-West who opposed any ideas of confederation that were raised at an ad-hoc constitutional conference set up by Gowon in 1966. The delegation’s mandate was Nigerian unity and when proposals of a loose federation were tabled, the region’s delegates asked for adjournment.

Officially, Clark, worked with the administrations of military governor Samuel Ogbemudia and head of state, General Yakubu Gowon between 1966 and 1975. In 1966, he was a member of an advisory committee to the military governor of the Mid-Western Region province, David Ejoor and was appointed Federal Commissioner of Information in 1975.

Clark was later appointed Midwestern Commissioner of Education and later, Finance. As commissioner for education, he was active in the establishment of a Mid-West College of Technology that became the foundation of the University of Benin.

During the second republic, he was a member of the national executive committee of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and was the treasurer of the party in Bendel State (now, in part, Delta State and previously the Mid-Western Region province). In 1983, he was an elected Senator for three months at the twilight of the Shagari administration.

Beginning in 1996, Clark has been a self-described leader of the Ijaw nation. He supported the Ijaw ethnic group in Delta State during an ethnic crisis in Warri and has led Ijaw leadership delegations to meet political leaders.

Clark, who was an unofficial advisor to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is a philanthropist who founded the Edwin Clark Foundation and established a university in his hometown called Edwin Clark University in 2015.

Clark Points Out Errors In Nigeria’s Politics
Edwin Clark Points Out Errors In Nigeria’s Politics


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