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Reuben Abati “Who would ever think, Chief E.K. Clark would publicly disown President Jonathan?”

Abati made the comment in response to Clark’s statement that Jonathan “didn’t have the political will to fight corruption”.

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Former Presidential aide, Reuben Abati has criticized Niger Delta chieftain, Edwin Clark for disowning former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

Abati made the comment in response to Clark’s statement that Jonathan “didn’t have the political will to fight corruption”.

Jonathan’s former aide also accused Clark of turning against “his own son.” This was contained in an article written by Abati titled “Clark, the father, Jonathan, the son.”

It reads in part:

I had hoped that our dear father, E.K. Clark, would issue a counter statement and say the usual things politicians say: “they quoted me out of context!” “Jonathan is my son”. That has not happened; rather, some other Ijaw voices, including one Joseph Evah, have come to the defence of the old man, to join hands in rubbishing a man they once defended to the hilt and used as a bargaining chip for the Ijaw interest in the larger Nigerian geo-politics.

If President Jonathan had returned to power on May 29, 2015, these same persons would have remained in the corridors of power, displaying all forms of ethnic triumphalism.

Chief E.K. Clark? Who would ever think, Chief E.K. Clark would publicly disown President Jonathan? He says Jonathan was a weak President. At what point did he come to that realization? Yet, throughout the five years (not six, please) of the Jonathan Presidency, he spoke loudly against anyone who opposed the President.

He was so combative he was once quoted as suggesting that Nigeria could have problems if Jonathan was not allowed to return to office. Today, he is the one helping President Jonathan’s successor to quench the fires. He always openly said President Jonathan is “his son.”

Today, he is not just turning against his own son, he is telling the world his son as President lacked the political will to fight corruption. He has also accused his son of being too much of a gentleman. Really? Gentlemanliness would be considered honourable in refined circles. Is Pa E.K. Clark recommending something else in order to prove that he is no longer a politician but a statesman as he says?

As someone who was a member of the Jonathan administration, and who interacted often with the old man, I can only say that I am shocked. This is the equivalent of the old man deleting President Jonathan’s phone number and ensuring that calls from his phone no longer ring at the Jonathan end.

Chief E. K. Clark had the President’s ears. He had unfettered access to his son. He was invited to most state events. And he looked out for the man he called “my son”, in whom he was well pleased. Chief Clark’s energy level in the service of the Jonathan administration was impressive. Fearless and outspoken, he deployed his enormous talents in the service of the Jonathan government. If a press statement was tame, he drew attention to it and urged a more robust defence of “your boss.”

If anyone had accused the President of lacking “the political will to fight corruption” at that time, he, E.K. Clark, would have called a press conference to draw attention to the Jonathan administration’s institutional reforms and preventive measures, his commitment to electoral integrity to check political corruption, and the hundreds of convictions secured by both the ICPC and EFCC under his son’s watch.

Every President probably needs a strong, passionate ally like Chief E. K. Clark. But what happened? What went wrong? Don’t get me wrong. I am not necessarily saying that the Ijaw leader should have remained loyal to and defend Goodluck Jonathan because they are both Ijaws, patriotism definitely could be stronger than ethnic affinities, nonetheless that E. K. Clark tale about leaving politics and becoming a statesman is nothing but sheer crap.

If Jonathan had returned to office, he would still be a card-carrying member of the PDP and the “father of the President” and we would still have been hearing that famous phrase, “my son”. Chief E. K. Clark, five months after, has practically told the world that President Buhari is better than “his own son”.

It is the worst form of humiliation that President Jonathan has received since he left office. It is also the finest compliment that President Buhari has received since he assumed office. The timing is also auspicious: just when the public is beginning to worry about the direction of the Buhari government, E. K. Clark shows up to lend a hand of support and endorsement.

Only one phrase was missing in his statement, and it should have been added: “my son, Buhari.” It probably won’t be too long before we hear the old man saying “I am a statesman, Buhari is my son.” I can imagine President Obasanjo grinning with delight.

These are teachable moments for President Jonathan. Power attracts men and women like bees to nectar, the state of powerlessness ends as a journey to the island of loneliness.

The same hegemons and their agents whom Clark used to fight furiously will no doubt find him eminently quotable now that he has proclaimed that it is wrong to be a “gentleman”, and that his son lacks “the political will to fight corruption”. There is more to this than we may ever know.

Chief Clark can insist from now till 2019, that he has spoken as a statesman and as a matter of principle. His re-alignment, is curious nonetheless.

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