Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam has warned the former Federal Commissioner for Information and renowned Ijaw leader, Chief EK Clark to “respect his very old age and either speak with decorum and facts or keep quiet.”
Gaidam in a statement by his Special Adviser on Press Affairs and Information, Mallam Abdullahi Bego said: “Once again, we are constrained to re-state our position with regard to the State of Emergency extended again by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States a few weeks ago and speak to the barefaced lies, vitriol and provocative statements made by one ethnic champion from the South-South part of the country called Mr. Edwin Clark.”
He said: “Mr. Clark was reported by several news media, including Vanguard of Wednesday 4th June 2014, as repeating his malicious, vindictive and ill-informed call on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare what he called ‘full emergency rule’ in the three northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on the basis of dubious inferences and grounds of null validity.”
The statement stated that: “More gravely, Mr. Clark is reported as describing Governors Gaidam of Yobe, Shettima of Borno and Nyako of Adamawa States as “conspirators who are hiding under the guise of opposition to foster their political nests (sic) and display their politics of bitterness, hatred, ethnicity and religion to disparage him (sic) and scuttle Jonathan’s constitutional right to seek a second term as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution”.
The statement further read: “First, we condemn in the strongest terms this totally unwarranted attack on the persons of the three state governors. We take the strongest possible exception to Mr. Clark’s vitriolic and totally baseless statements. We ask that he respects his very old age and either speak with decorum and facts or keep quiet.
“Second, we ask President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in whose defence Mr. Clark is apparently speaking, to call him to order and make it clear that he (Jonathan) is the President of the whole country and not a section of it. This call has become necessary because, by his carriage and utterances, Mr. Clark is pretending that he personally made Mr. Jonathan president and not the Nigerian people.”
The statement went further to state that: “It is also important to state, once again, that no section of the constitution of our country ever envisioned the appointment of a sole or military administrator in any of the 36 states of the federation under the prevailing democratic order and that Mr. Clark’s repeated analogy of the scenarios in Ekiti and Plateau States during the Obasanjo government when emergency rule was declared in those states woefully fails to grasp the world of difference with the prevailing situations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States today.”
The governor, in the statement emphasized that “Boko Haram is an evil, ignorant, totally un-Islamic and condemnable ideology which must be fought as a threat to humanity and the whole of the country.”
He lamented that: “For more than three years, our people in Yobe State and others in Borno and Adamawa States have suffered unspeakable horror and attacks from Boko Haram. And all people of goodwill here and around the world have condemned Boko Haram for the bloodthirsty terrorists that they are.
“It is only Mr. Edwin Clark who sees this great catastrophe, which requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to resolve, from the prism of politics and ethnicity. How unfortunate and unbecoming of a man who sees himself as an elder statesman!
If Mr. Clark is making these senseless and baseless statements to deflect attention from the corpus of serious issues which must be addressed by the Jonathan presidency as a matter of urgency to restore security and ensure the safety of the Nigerian people, he has failed and will continue to fail.”
He argued that: “Today, from the biggest city to the remotest village in Nigeria, everyone knows and feels in a very real way the relentless onslaught of insecurity. Devastating Boko Haram attacks have wiped out lives and livelihoods in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states but insecurity is not restricted to these states alone. We have seen this very recently from Taraba to Benue and Kaduna to Nasarawa States.”
He added that what was required is a strong will on the part of the federal government, along with prayers which are a contingent part of the search for solution, to address and resolve the Boko Haram problem in a decisive way and help restore peace and security.
One of the the major components of this effort, he said, “remains the necessity to provide our troops on the ground the weaponry and capabilities they need to go after and subdue Boko Haram.
“For example, as infiltration of terrorist networks becomes more difficult, countries which have made headway at fighting insurgency and terrorism always develop or possess capabilities to penetrate the digital communications of terrorists as a means of trying to know what they are up to. Our troops, who have helped restore peace in other climes, can and should have this and other necessary and lethal capabilities to hunt and smoke out terrorists.” He added.
Gaidam said: “The Senate itself has given a voice to this position in the eight conditions it stipulated for accepting to pass the president’s request for state of emergency extension when it calls for ‘proper kitting and arming’ of our armed forces.”
“We have also emphasized the need for the federal government to actively engage the civilian populations in the affected states and partner with them on behalf of peace and security. Any counter-insurgency initiative which has ever succeeded has always carried the victim populations along. This is done through targeted interventions and other support measures. Again, the Senate of the federal republic has concurred with this when it called on the federal government to come up with an economic Marshal Plan (along with the affected state governments) to revive the battered economies of the three states.” Gaidam also said.
He added that: “These are the issues. No amount of effort at deflecting attention away from them will take away from their substance. Mr. Clark would do well to realise that we will always remain focused on issues of substance, will refuse to be distracted and will oppose and condemn his intemperate, insensate, dubious and selfish remarks about our dire situation in the northeast.”