Is Edwin Clark Asleep?, By Abdulrafiu Lawal
It is time for Edwin Clark to come out of his shell by apologising to Nigerians as his inactions or greed have led many people to their untimely deaths. He needs to free his conscience which is tainted with blood money and redeem his image in the eyes of the people that he still has some degree of dignity. Anything short of this amounts to a rape on morality and good conscience.
With the mind boggling revelations from the Dasukigate scandal that can make even the most patient person to seethe with anger, the number one “defender in chief” of former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the person of Edwin Clark, has suddenly lost his voice. Or could it be that the Kaigbodo chief is not in the country? Even if he is not in the country, at least his children are briefing him on developments at home or at worst he gets the news from the dailies. In case he is unaware of what Dasukigate is all about, it is the looting of billions of naira from the nation’s treasury between 2014 and 2015 under the false pretence of procuring arms for fighting Boko Haram. At least at this point, he cannot claim his godson, Jonathan is being persecuted or being criticised because he is ijaw or a minority. After all, the immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has confirmed the release of the money to Sambo Dasuki following a memo from Jonathan.
For those who have forgotten, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno had met President Jonathan at Aso Rock on February 17th, 2014 to brief him on the progress made in the war against Boko Haram. Shortly after, he spoke with State House correspondents saying Nigeria was losing the war as the insurgents were far more equipped and better motivated than our soldiers. This to many was the right thing for a responsible chief executive to say, but Jonathan would have none of that. He went on national television during a media chat to accuse Shettima of undermining the fight against Boko Haram. As if these insults were nothing compared to an already emotionally traumatised governor who was fighting a triple war; an aggrieved political god father, Ali Modu Sheriff; and his people who were being killed in their hundreds daily and their villages sacked that made him look like a “bereaved old man” instead of a State’s chief executive. Clark went to the press two days later and called for the removal of governors Murtala Nyako and Kashim Shettima of Adamawa and Borno states for what he called their incompetence, forgetting the fact that the states were under emergency rule. Their crime was telling Jonathan the truth about how Abubakar Shekau and his cohorts in crime were maiming and killing people of the North-East and Nigerian soldiers.
Today, based on the statements credited to Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser, in the media, following his arrests and that of fellow actors in the “blood money” scandal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), it is clear that Jonathan, Dasuki, Clark and his other allies were the real enemies of Nigeria more than Boko Haram. The reason is simple, Boko Haram can be excused as they never hid their intentions to destroy the Nigerian state, but Jonathan, Dasuki and others swore to defend Nigeria and its people based on the calling of their offices. Instead, they chose to dance on the graves of thousands and gnash their teeth, while using the funds to meant for arms to protect the country to prosecute the 2015 elections, with many families ending up grieving for losses. This is a discussion for another day as the courts are already looking at this matter and all the culprits will surely get their ‘residency permits’ to different Nigerian prisons very soon.
…Clark, who has not been arrested nor charged with any crime, is pretending not to see or hear any evil, but his own crime is far greater than that of the Dasukigate actors. This is because he gave moral support to genocide and the killing of ill equipped patriotic soldiers by concealing the truth. He cannot pretend not to know that Jonathan did not a buy a single rifle for our soldiers on the frontline.
Dasukigate underscores the salient fact that Nigeria’s problem is not ethnicity or religion as we are made to believe, but about a clique of greedy individuals whose collective middle name are “vested interests” in the nation’s common wealth. The key actors cut across different ethnic and religious backgrounds. They have no conscience and steal to preserve for five generations after them, while many go to bed hungry. These classes of Nigerians are easy to identify at major airports around the world, from Charles de Gaulle in Paris to John F Kennedy in New York and Heathrow in London. They display a very disgusting kind of arrogance by jumping the queue when boarding plane and telling those who care to know they are sky priority passengers.
However, Clark, who has not been arrested nor charged with any crime, is pretending not to see or hear any evil, but his own crime is far greater than that of the Dasukigate actors. This is because he gave moral support to genocide and the killing of ill equipped patriotic soldiers by concealing the truth. He cannot pretend not to know that Jonathan did not a buy a single rifle for our soldiers on the frontline. It is only God who knows what the widows of these soldiers are going through at this time in a country where collecting a breadwinner’s terminal benefits by a next of kin are as easy a finding water in the desert. This is not to talk about four or five million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who hitherto were commercially enterprising from Baga to Hong and were once a source of hope and a better tomorrow to their families, but are now being fed in tents like street urchins three times a day. Thank God for the high level of fatalism in the North-East, especially in Adamawa and Borno States, as many of these individuals would have committed suicide due to their inability to reconcile their past with the present. The states concerned will have had more than they can handle as it will be like the proverbial Hausa tale where a needle excavates a hoe.
Clark should better speak up now and apologise to the people of Borno, Adamawa and Nigerians in general before it is too late. His continued silence remains the greatest crime against humanity because those who choose to look the other way when injustice is being meted out are worse than those perpetuating the injustice. His clothes, voice, shoes and even the food he eats are tainted with blood, because the curse of parents of the Chibok girls, the dead, wounded, widows, Internally Displaced Persons(IDPS) and children still in the womb of their mothers will continue to haunt him for all the days of his life. The curse of pastors and imams whose congregation were killed by bomb blasts, as well as Christians and muslims who worshipped in their churches and mosque with one eye open will continue to be his source of insomnia.
Once an elder like Clark can get his palms greased with hard currency, he can dance “dorobucci” for a seventeen year old, not old enough to be his grandchild. He must realise that by not telling Jonathan the truth despite having his ears for four or more years, he has failed himself, his people, generation and the nation in general. His conscience will continue to prick him until he meets his creator.
It is said that where there are elders, young people don’t go astray, but with “elderless” elders like Edwin Clark, our generation is sitting on a time bomb. People like him are those who the present Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi once described as those with ‘vested interests’ moving Nigeria in reverse gear, during one of his presentations as governor of the CBN. The likes of Edwin Clark will go to any length to defend wrong things and talk like deranged “Gelede” masquerade because of vested interests and greed. Once an elder like Clark can get his palms greased with hard currency, he can dance “dorobucci” for a seventeen year old, not old enough to be his grandchild. He must realise that by not telling Jonathan the truth despite having his ears for four or more years, he has failed himself, his people, generation and the nation in general. His conscience will continue to prick him until he meets his creator.
He believed re-electing Jonathan was the best thing for Nigeria, but thank God so many Nigerians were not thinking with their “stomach” like Clark or else 180 million people would have rented space in hellfire with all the attendant suffering and frustrations by bringing back a clueless government for another four years. Our biggest source of consolation today is that we have left where we were for four years, although we are not where we want to be, but encouraged by President Muhammadu Buhari who has genuinely shown commitment to give our generation and those yet unborn a ray of hope that things can get better with sacrifice.
It is time for Edwin Clark to come out of his shell by apologising to Nigerians as his inactions or greed have led many people to their untimely deaths. He needs to free his conscience which is tainted with blood money and redeem his image in the eyes of the people that he still has some degree of dignity. Anything short of this amounts to a rape on morality and good conscience. Whether he decides to lead the honourable path or not, he will have no hiding place when the people of Borno and Adamawa approach the International Court of Criminal Justice for redress. No matter what happens, his children and generations after him will read about his inglorious role in Jonathan’s six year misrule that left Nigeria and Nigerians on social and economic life support.
Lawal, a public commentator writes from Boston, United States. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.