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Try OBJ, IBB Now, Clark Tells Jonathan … Accuses OBJ Of Inciting Nigerians Against Jonathan

One-time Minister of Information and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Sunday, asked President Goodluck Jonathan to summon courage, arrest and prosecute past political leaders including military heads of state, Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar for corruption and using their political positions to amass enormous wealth at the expense of Nigerians.
Apparently speaking in response to alleged attacks launched on the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in Warri, Delta State, last week, the former information minister said Obasanjo’s comments were tantamount to inciting Nigerians against Jonathan ‘for reasons best known to himself.’
According to Clark, Obasanjo lacked the uprightness or moral justification to criticize Mr. President or his government averring that Jonathan is today battling with the corruption-related problems created by past Nigerian leaders including Obasanjo.
In a statement released in Warri, Sunday, the elder statesman said, ‘The problem of Nigeria is corruption by every living president or head of state; and none of them, except two or three. None should therefore parade or see himself as indispensable, let them be factual but not to deceive fellow Nigerians.
‘Those ex-heads of state and presidents who contributed to the corruption in Nigeria today are the same former heads of state or presidents parading themselves as the only former heads of state who could eradicate corruption or who believe that any head of state or president who is ready to fight corruption must be ready to die. This is hypocrisy and it must be taken as a call on the present administration to deal with corruption cases no matter whose ox is gored, because in many parts of the world, presidents and former heads of state have been charged to court. Nobody should be seen as a sacred cow.
‘In a situation whereby former heads of state who stole Nigerians’ money and everybody knew that they were corrupt are now buying the property of Nigeria, particularly in the power sector is condemnable, these leaders should be held accountable. They should not be celebrated.
‘It is sad that they are parading themselves as the only people who could deal with corruption and they regard the present administration as being too weak to deal with it. Nigerians should ask all former heads of state that “bided” for power assets where they got the money from. We need to know their technical partners from abroad; Jonathan should probe the source of the money.
‘It is only in Nigeria that former heads of state are bidding to buy public property which they corruptly mismanaged when they were in power. This does not happen in other parts of the world; such former heads of state should be facing trial for corruption or be made to remain behind bars.
‘Most heads of state and former presidents contributed to the corruption in the country. The Halliburton scandal is fresh in our memories. It should not only be resuscitated to try all those involved but the government must recover the money paid by Julius Berger under plea bargain. All those involved should be tried no matter the position they occupied.’
Clark, the elder statesman, urged Nigerians to question the above-named past leaders about the sources of money they are using to buy public assets being divested by the Federal and State Governments.
He stressed that most of the country’s past leaders lack the moral and legal right to talk or accuse anybody of corruption.
‘All Nigeria’s former head of states and presidents, with the exception of about two or three, are not supposed to be moving about as free citizens because of the level of their involvement in corrupt practices during their tenure of office,’ he added.
Clark further challenged Jonathan to immediately probe the source of the money the ex-leaders were using to buy up public assets as well as initiate the process for their trial.
He specifically lamented that Obasanjo, who while in office as President of the Federal Republic allegedly used his position to amass questionable wealth was now trying to portray President Jonathan as incapable of performing the duties of a President.
The former information minister alleged in his statement that Obasanjo practically perpetuated and legalized corruption while presiding over the affairs of the country and in his (Clark) estimation remained one ex-leader Nigerians should be wary of.
‘It agitates my mind when I read or hear of former heads of state or presidents claiming that they are more positioned to fight corruption than any other one, particularly the present administration. It angers one therefore to hear or read Obasanjo’s claim as to how to curb corruption when in fact he is the one who perpetuated and legalized it.
“For instance, he was the brain behind the formation of Transcorp Company in which he bought over two million shares while serving as president and Transcorp Hilton, the premier hotel in Nigeria is partly owned by Obasanjo. The same Transcorp Company went on to bid for power facilities on their privatization, after Obasanjo had spent over US$15m on these same power facilities as exposed by the Elumelu Committee set up by the House of Representatives.
‘Secondly, he forced Nigerian businessmen and bankers to donate to his presidential library in Ota. Was he out of office when the Bell University was founded? He should tell Nigerians how much he made from Ota Farms though one of his cronies, Fani Kayode, had once claimed that he was making N30 million daily. Why has he not announced how much he is making now? One will also like to know the details of Ota Farms’ transaction with the Delta State Government, for which he, Obasanjo, has been paid over N3billion.
‘We do not want a situation whereby most corrupt former heads of state or presidents pride themselves as the only persons who could fight corruption because they are ready to die in the fight for its eradication as they seek to present a false picture to the Nigerian public that Jonathan as president is not ready to die in the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria.’
Speaking on the Boko Haram insurgency, Clark said he has already given Obasanjo credit for visiting the Boko Haram den in Maiduguri and challenged his colleagues to condemn Boko Haram and visit the den as leaders.
Clark however took exception to comments Obasanjo made thereafter in which he claimed to have submitted a report to President Jonathan but was not acted upon. The elder statesman in his statement therefore asked Obasanjo which report he was talking about and also explain to Nigerians the reason and purpose of the letter he jointly signed with Babangida?
‘I want Obasanjo to stop parading himself in every corner of Nigeria as a super-president and looking at other leaders as being incapable of solving Nigeria’s problems, particularly those created by him.’
Obasanjo last week, during a public lecture in Warri, Delta State, to honor President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor on the 40th anniversary of his Christian ministry, scored Jonathan low in the fight against corruption and the methods he has employed to fight the activities of the violent Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

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