- Category: SPECIAL REPORTS
- Wednesday, 08 August 2012
- By Kayode Ajulo
Gen. Babangida’s Outburst Against Chief E. K. Clark Should Be Redirected To Find A Permanent Solution To The Boko Haram Menace In North - Chief (Dr.) E K. Clark, OFR, CON has noted the great interests which Nigerians both at home and in diaspora accorded the views expressed on the State of The Federation lecture last week at
the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Abuja.
The responses were evidence of the great commitment which Nigerians have for the peace, harmony and progress of Nigeria.
However, while not wanting to join issues with anybody, Chief E. K. Clark would want to touch briefly on unfortunate comments attributed to General Ibrahim Gbadamasi Babangida, GCFR, which are at total variance with the very positive and patriotic feedback received from Nigerians in general towards the lecture.
The statements showed nothing but insulting miscomprehension and misconception of Chief E. K. Clark’s innocuous expressed opinions and the challenge thrown down to the leaders of the North on the need to resolve the Boko Haram menace.
Ordinarily, Gen. Babangida should have joined many other Nigerians who applauded Chief E. K. Clark for crying out over the wanton loss of lives being experienced daily over the senseless killings of Nigeria’s women and children, christians and moslems alike.
Chief E. K. Clark is committed to the unity of Nigerian and peace within its borders. This was aptly demonstrated when some youths in the Niger Delta took arms against the Federal Government of Nigeria, resulting in the near total shut down of oil production; crude oil production which normally stood at 2.5 million barrels per day was reduced to 700 thousand barrels daily. Chief Clark led a delegation of Niger Delta leaders into the creeks to appeal to the youths to lay down arms and embrace peace.
Chief E. K. Clark also went to the creeks with the then Vice President, now President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, particularly to Okerenkoko and Camp 5 (which was the headquarters of the militants), thereby laying the foundation for late President Yaradua’s amnesty programme.
Therefore, amnesty did not come on a platter of gold, but through the genuine determination of the leaders of the Niger Delta, led by Chief E. K. Clark. Today, crude oil production in Nigeria has risen to about 2.7 million barrels per day.
It is therefore imperative, irrespective of the name calling, to restate what was said at the NIALS lecture on the state of Nigerian Federation that ’’Gen. Babangida and other Northern leaders must speak out, be proactive as well as demonstrate genuine commitment to address the challenges posed by the Boko Haram.’’ This is more so as precious lives of Nigerians are being wasted daily across the country in Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Abuja, Bauchi, etc.
Furthermore, Chief Clark’s challenge to the leaders of the North above is predicated on the misguided statements of some of the Northern opinion leaders since the inception of this administration. For example, in October 2010 during a build up to the last presidential election, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, a prominent Northern leader promised to make Nigeria ungovernable if the President did not come from the North. And as if on cue from Lawal Kaita, several others leaders of Northern Political Leaders Forum, headed by Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, of which Gen. Babangida is a prominent member, followed suit with similar reckless comments which might not only threaten peace in Nigeria but also Nigeria’s very existence.
Recently in March this year, Lawal Kaita issued another threat to the effect that the only condition for Nigeria to be one is for the presidency to come to the North in 2015.
Chief Clark would like it on record that majority of his compatriots from the North are peace loving, hard working Nigerians, who believe in the sanctity of human lives and the unity of this country; however the incendiary views of this minority cannot be overlooked and should be collectively condemned, especially when lives are being lost in numbers almost every day.
Let it also be stated that Chief Clark will not descend to the level of personal abuse or respond to the rude, uncouth, uncharitable and unwarranted outburst, methodically prepared to attack his person.
He is proud of his revered old age, good health and fine pedigree and will forever continue to be grateful to the Almighty God for His benevolence in enabling him to express his views on issues of National interest.
Let it also be noted, for the record that Chief Clark delivered a one hour twenty minutes lecture very coherently and articulately without having to refer to a written text. Nigerians stand a better position to judge as to who is senseless or senile as suggested by Gen. Babangida who can only make public utterances through texts prepared by aides and speech writers. Indeed Chief Clark would be more than happy to challenge Gen. Babangida to a joint public discourse/debate on National issues, free from the interference and prompting of aides.
Chief is surprised that Gen. Babangida would belatedly suggest that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should use Moslem clerics, when he, by his experience, and position is fully abreast of what to do in the circumstances of Nigeria bearing in mind his exalted membership of the Council of State and his former position as President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria. After all, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, a former President like Gen. Babangida not only spoke out strongly on this issue but went to Maiduguri in the aim of securing peace for the country.
Let Nigerians ask Gen. Babangida why has he been silent for so long and why he is avoiding talking to Boko Haram, since he is such a great patriot as claimed in the statement he made.
The attempt to label Chief Clark as an ethnic jingoist has no basis whatsoever as he has always believed and maintained that no ethnic group should be a second class citizen in Nigeria and that no Nigerian life whether from the North or South, East or West should be wasted.
Taking regard of his age and stature, Chief Clark wants to state that he fully forgives Gen. Babangida whom he regards as a younger friend for the unfortunate statement attributed to him. If anything, Chief Clark holds the view that the thoughts and energy exerted by Gen. Babangida against him should urgently be redirected towards finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram menace in the North.
It should be restated that Chef Clark has severally emphasized the need for dialogue with Boko Haram and other aggrieved groups with a view to resolving Nigeria’s current security challenges.
It is in this vein that Chief Clark speaks to his good friends in the North, including General Babangida once again, irrespective of Gen. Babangida’s threat of litigation, that they should openly condemn Boko Haram and join hands with the Government and good people of Nigeria towards finding a lasting solution to the challenge posed by the Boko Haram menace. Any laxity on their part would, either wittingly and unwittingly, potentially put them out as accessories to the present security scourge in the Northern part of Nigeria.
If this simple advice above is urgently heeded, it will save Gen. Babangida the need to wear uniform once again at the age of seventy one to fight for the unity of Nigeria.
Let General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida step forward and offer his services to his Nation at this time of need. That is the road for the true patriot to tread.
For and Behalf of Chief E. K. Clark, OFR CON
Chief Kayode Ajulo
KAYODE AJULO & CO. CASTLE OF LAW
(Legal Advisers/Consultants to Chief E. K. Clark, OFR, CON)