Former Minister of Information and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has alleged that ministers are not loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan. Clark spoke while delivering the ‘2nd State of the Federation Lecture’ organised by the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on Wednesday. Clark delivered a brief summary of his 67-page lecture titled, “2012 State of the Federation Lecture.”
He said, “Today, ministers are in office – how many of them have you seen making political statements in support of the President? No one! Because they believe that their loyalty does not lie with the President. They are loyal to the governors that nominated them.
“Today, the governors have taken over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Without them, there can never be an executive. So, the National Working Committee of the PDP is not loyal to the party, the chairman of the party, or the President. They are only loyal to the governors,” he said.
Clark, who is known to be close to the President, also accused politicians who allegedly threatened to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan of sponsoring the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has waged a violent campaign against the society, killing hundreds in attacks on churches, mosques, military and police facilities and bars in the northern part of the country.
The octogenarian said, “our type of terrorism is homegrown, whereas in the United States and Israel it is imported from the Middle East. Boko Haram, which was a religious group, has become a political body.
“People who said they must make Nigeria ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan must be behind what is happening.
“If you have said you will make this country ungovernable for President Jonathan – the government should pick (you) up, nobody is bigger than the government.”
“In the Niger Delta, our own (agitation) is for 50 per cent derivation, what is their own grievance?”
President Jonathan is the President of Nigeria. He is not the President of the Niger Delta; he is not the President of the Ijaw.”
He faulted former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida’s recent intervention in the Boko Haram crisis, arguing that the ex-military ruler ought to have spoken before then.
Clark said, “I expected that IBB should have spoken since. I thought he would have spoken with his friend (Gen. Muhammadu) Buhari; two of them have been meeting since. So why (speak) with Obasanjo?
“IBB said he would wear a uniform and fight for Nigeria’s unity at 72. He should first stand up and condemn Boko Haram from the bottom of his heart.
“Obasanjo has gone to Maiduguri to meet the people. Why has he (IBB) not gone?”
In the lecture that touched on several issues, Clark argued that the National Assembly did not have the powers to single-handedly amend the 1999 Constitution.
He said, “Today I am 85 years old, and it could be my last appeal to you. Only God knows, for some time there seems to be deliberate attempts by certain elements to harass and intimidate President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan without any justification simply because he does not belong to a certain part of this country where the people believe it is their absolute right to rule because they are in the majority without having regard to the fact that the world is changing fast.
“Some parts of this country have ruled for about 40 years out of our 52 years and another part of this country has ruled for 12 years. Now that it has pleased God to choose a minority man to rule, why not give him a chance if we are all equal citizens of our great country. He is not going to be there forever, but only for the period allowed him by Section 137 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
“Pastor Tunde Bakare has turned his pulpit to a political theatre where he preaches against President Jonathan.
and his administration to the extent of saying that the President will not last up to 2015, adding that Nigerians should be ready for fresh elections any time before 2015.”
Clark however urged the National Assembly to drop its threat to impeach Jonathan, arguing that 100 per cent implementation of the budget was not possible, anywhere in the world, between July and September.