Sunday, 1 September 2013

Clark Should Retire From Politics, Not Me — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obsanjo on Saturday replied Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark’s comment on him, saying his utterances showedit was time for him (Clark) to retire from politics. Obasanjo’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Victor Durodola, who responded to comments credited to Clark in a newspaper (not PUNCH) accusing Obasanjo of sowing seeds of discord in the Peoples Democratic Party, and urging him to retire, said it was Clark who needed to retire.
Among other things, Clark had said the former President caused the current crisis in PDP by instigating Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State to contest the Presidency in 2015.

Durodola told SUNDAY PUNCH that all of Clark’s allegations were baseless since he failed to provide evidence to substantiate his claims.
He said, “Usually, Baba will not dignify such a comment with a response. If he says somebody is sponsoring Governor Rotimi Amaechi, what evidence has he provided? If you have a son and he is not in good terms with your friend, will you kill your son so that your friend will know that you are his friend? That is not the way to live life. The best an elder can do is to try and settle quarrels, if there are any. Remember he (Obasanjo) is an elder statesman, a former President.
“Edwin Clark, you can see from all his utterances that he is actually the one who should go and sit down. He should not be involved in politics, he should be a leader. But if he is involved in politics, that is okay for him.The fact is that there is nothing he is saying now that he has not said before. Baba would not join issues with someone like Edwin Clark; he wouldn’t. He ought to have provided evidence, instead of making general pronouncements.”
Durodola added that Obasanjo believed that democracy meant Amaechi, Lamido or any Nigerian, had the right to contest any office they choose.
He said, “Are Lamido and Amaechi not Nigerians? Are they not eligible? Is Clark himself not eligible? What is wrong with somebody contesting? There is democracy. There should be no seal. Whoever wants to contest should be free to contest. Let the primary election determine who should be the candidate of the party. Everybody should be free to contest, including Clark. He is an elder statesman, he should know that this idea of because somebody is interested in contesting, then he becomes an enemy, is not the way of civilisation. Democracy means freedom for everybody.”
He insisted that contrary to popular opinion, Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan were in good terms.
“Just to clarify things, Obasanjo is not quarreling with Jonathan. They talk; they interact; they meet; they travel together. The fact is that he (Obasanjo) likes to express himself, and he believes in democracy,” he said.