INTERVIEW: “E.K. Clark Is Jonathan’s God-father – Fani Kayode
In this interview with Ezra ijioma, Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister and ex-spokesman to former President Olusegun Obasanjo opens up on key controversial issues – security challenge, Chief Edwin Clark’s positions, presidential leadership and more.
Are you satisfied with the way the security situation in the country is being handled?
That’s my own perception because you have a government that keeps talking about dialogue and you have the insurgents and terrorists telling you that they will not engage in dialogue with you unless you become a Muslim or unless you change your faith or unless you give them whatever it is that they are looking for in the northern part of the country.
I think the attitude of the government has left a lot to be desired and I think that it really has just manifested a weakness and weakness attracts aggression….
What is your response to recent comments by the Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, that concern your activity as Minister of Aviation and some other national figures who you have worked with? First of all, let’s talk about myself. He raised issues and accused me of embezzling funds and so on and so forth. Of course, I completely reject that submission and I have said so in an article titled ‘Chief Clark and His Moral Icon’ because he claimed that I was holding myself high as a moral icon having embezzled money.
I rejected that assertion and I pointed out all the facts in that article in respect to specifically what is happening in my case with the EFCC and what the facts are. I am not prepared to go any further than that because the matter is sub judice and I won’t go into the details of the case out of respect for the courts.
But what I would say is that I will refer everybody to the essay that I wrote. In terms of what he said about me, I reiterate my innocence until proven guilty by a court….
And once again, Clark feels that because he is close to the president, the president is his son, he can run him [Tinubu] down and talk down on him. I could go on and on. He spoke about Pastor Tunde Bakare, a man who has shown himself to be full of courage and strength, who has spoken his mind without any fear or favour.
He [Clark] should go and study church history to know what real priests are supposed to be doing. They are supposed to stand up against tyranny, stand up against evil and stand up against injustice.
So Bakare is doing precisely what he is expected to do but of course Chief Clark doesn’t even know or appreciate that. He now declared people guilty of crimes that they are not even accused of; people like Odili, Orji Kalu, Alamesigha, Prof. Borishade and so many others.
These are people that are Nigerians and have constitutional rights which confer on them innocence until they are proven guilty. Is it fair, is it reasonable, is it rational for anybody to behave in this manner? What Chief Edwin Clark has done is that he has divided this country by his utterances more than any other elder statesman has done in the history of Nigeria.
We are expecting him to be a Nigerian elder statesman and not to be an Ijaw elder statesman.
Do you think he [Clark] is speaking for himself?
I do not. My honest belief is that he is echoing the thinking of the Presidency. That’s just my belief. It is self-evident. He is the father of the president. He is what I call the godfather in chief of the Nigerian state. Chief Clark is the father of the president and the godfather of the Nigerian state, so anything he says must be taken very seriously by everybody in this country.
So those that say we should ignore him that he is speaking his own mind have missed the point completely.