The Ijaw leader also wants Tinubu to clear himself of identity crisis
A former Information Minister, Edwin Clark, on Tuesday insisted that a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, was not the leader of the Yoruba. He, however, denied making a sweeping insult on the Yorubas.
He also asked the former governor to clear himself of allegations of fake educational qualification and pedigree.
The former minister also clarified a statement he made when a delegation of South-South Indigenes Resident in Abuja paid him courtesy visit in his house.
Mr. Clark, a prominent Ijaw leader and supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan, had said that Yoruba in the present political dispensation were yet to have such great leaders in the mould of Obafemi Awolowo, Adekunle Ajasin and Abraham Adesanya.
He also said Mr. Tinubu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was wasting his time parading himself as the leader of the Yoruba and that money could buy leadership.
According to him, Mr. Tinubu’s self imposed leadership was primarily for personal gains.
In a recent statement, the former governor said Mr. Clark had intense hatred for him and those who speak against the mis-governance holding sway in Nigeria. Mr. Tinubu also accused Mr. Clark of being desperately determined to keep his kinsman, President Goodluck Jonathan, in power.
However, in a statement by his legal consultant, Kayode Ajulo, on Tuesday, Mr. Clark said his comment during the visit of the South-South delegation was distorted by Mr. Tinubu to appear as if he made a sweeping insult on the Yoruba race to whip up ethnic hate.
He said he was merely echoing the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade, who, in January 29, 2009, in the presence of 250 traditional rulers and prominent Yoruba indigenes at a gathering to commemorate the centenary celebration of the late Obafemi Awolowo said that the traditional rulers had agreed to collaborate and come up with strategies on how a new leader would be appointed to lead the race.
Mr. Clark expressed his respect and admiration for the Yorubas and some of their leaders, citing a speech he had made at the tribute ceremony of the late Abraham Adesanya in 2008.
“When Chief Clark spoke at the tribute ceremony for the late Senator Abraham Adesanya held on 20 May, 2008, at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Lagos, he made it very clear that the Yorubas were the most enlightened and obviously the most economically viable group of people in Nigeria. And that after the passing on of his good friend, Senator Abraham Adesanya, some politicians including serving and former governors and senators will struggle for the leadership of the Yorubas. He stated categorically that none of those already struggling for the leadership position of the Yorubas both within and outside, were qualified and that at the appropriate time, the Yorubas will select their leaders. His statement was not only received with a loud ovation, there was also a tumultuous jubilation to the speech,” the statement by Mr. Ajulo read.
It stated that in the same speech, Mr. Clark was referring to people like Mr. Tinubu. He said the only qualification to the latter’s claim to leadership was pecuniary lust and primitive acquisition of the people’s common wealth.
“The speech was well reported both in the print and electronic media and no Yoruba man including Bola Tinubu regarded Chief Clark’s speech then as an insult on the Yoruba race,” it said.
The statement said Mr. Clark, thereafter, repeated this statement in several places, particularly at Ikenne when he visited the wife of the late Mr. Awolowo, Hilda.
“That Chief Clark has insulted the Yorubas in his statement, is now the mantra of Bola Tinubu, who arrogates to himself the uncrowned leadership of the Yorubas to cover up his deficiencies. Chief Clark’s first visit to Ikenne which Alhaji Tinubu has referred to, was to appeal to the Yoruba leadership to ignore the rantings of (Tinubu) when he alleged that the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has insulted the Yorubas at a rally in Ibadan, when the President said that PDP will not allow rascals to take over governance in the country. Apart from inciting the Yorubas and lying against the President, Tinubu in his usual uncouth and uneducated manner insulted the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when he called him “a drunken fisher man”,” the statement said.
It described as “very unfortunate” the behaviour and innuendos of Mr. Tinubu, which it claimed, knew no bound.