Foremost Ijaw leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, on Wednesday, made some surprisingly scathing remarks against former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Clark, a staunch political ally of Jonathan, said Jonathan’s meekness is largely to blame for the former president’s failure to properly tackle corruption, noting that “being a gentleman is not enough to govern this country.”
The remarks, which have since gone viral, included damaging revelations about how Jonathan allowed corruption to fester during his tenure to a stage where low-level staffers who served in his presidency have been able to acquire exquisite properties after leaving office.
“Drivers of yesterday are living in palatial buildings now under his government,” Clark said when he received members of Think Nigeria First Initiative, a public-interest think-tank, in his Asokoro, Abuja, residence.
Chief Clark was one of Mr. Jonathan’s earliest and most loyal political allies, and most of his visitors had expected him to take a few swipes at President Buhari in order to show his continued loyalty.
Instead, he attacked his former benefactor and also painted a largely affectionate portrait of the current administration. He declared his support for President Buhari’s anti-graft efforts: “We are all to support him, particularly in his determination to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.”
Clark, who turned 88 this year, also used the session to announce his exit from active and partisan politics to become an elder statesman who would “be father to all.”
The statement swiftly enraged a large number of PDP sympathisers who said the octogenarian’s departure from politics will be of no political consequence to their party.
“I really do not see Pa Edwin Clark’s retirement from politics as a setback for PDP but rather a necessary realignment that must happen,” a Lagos-based PDP public relations strategist, Demola Olarewaju, wrote on his Twitter page early Thursday.
Olarewaju, added that the PDP’s most potent political strength is in its nationalist ideology.
“The strength of PDP and the attraction for people like me is the nationalist foundations which is where we must return,” he said.
But Alesta Wilcox, an APC strategist and Coordinator of Buhari Vanguard, said the Clark’s remarks tell a lot about the virtue of the people left in the PDP, urging Nigerians to emulate Clark’s decision and renounce their affiliation to the party.
“The PDP has been a disaster as a political party, that Edwin Clark could finally dump them gives us a clue about the reputation of those who are there, claims Wilcox. “I hope Nigerians still trapped in the party will withdraw their membership before it’s too late.”