Former President Jonathan remains my son (3)
FINALLY, Your Excellency, I wish to repeat here part of what I said in my open letter to my Northern brothers which was addressed to Alhaji Maitama Sule, that citizenship of any nation must be based on equality and respect for one another and not based on segregation of first class and second class citizens.
We the minorities of the South-South have supported and worked with every government in Nigeria, waited for over 50 years before it pleased the Almighty God to make one of us the ruler of this country. We remain grateful for that and no one has faulted the majority ethnic group for ruling over the years.
This is the principle I have always stood for and supported. But some people misunderstood me…. Once again, I congratulate you and reassure you that as you get set to commence the process of peaceful transition and government, you will have my full support, as a man who strongly believes in the unity of Nigeria, just as I supported our most respected late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and his successor President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as long as you will at all times uphold the dignity of Nigeria and those things that bind us together as one united country, remembering that part of our old National Anthem which says “Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand…”
My Retirement from Partisan Politics
I am fast approaching 90 years and had been in active politics for over 60 years. It came to me as a shock that misguided persons are trying to lose their senses over my decision to quit active partisan politics.
I was in the Niger Delta Congress (NDC), with the late sage Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye and late His Excellency, Chief Melford Okilo between 1955 and 1959. I was in Mid-West Front (MWF). I was in the National Congress for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). I was Secretary of the Zikist Vanguard, London in 1962. I served in General Yakubu Gowon’s cabinet as Minister of Information with late General Murtala Mohammed as Minister of Commerce, General Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister of Works, Alhaji Shehu Shagari as Minister of Finance. Today, three of these persons have become Presidents of Nigeria. Apart from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the others are no longer in active politics.
I was a member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). I recall with heavy heart that most of the people with whom I played politics are either dead or have become politically inactive. Some of them are Makama Bida of Niger State, Maitama Sule of Kano State, K. O. Mbadiwe of Imo State, Fani Kayode, Tanko Yakassai, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir of Bauchi State, Adamu Ciroma of Yobe State, Alhaji Ali Monguno of Borno State, A. M. A. Akinloye, T. O. S. Benson, Dr. Okezie of Imo State, M. T. Mbu of Cross River State, His Royal Majesty the Olubadan of Ibadan, just to mention a few. Not too long ago, I found myself attending a PDP caucus meeting in Warri with young men who are grand children of my political colleagues. Today, I sometimes move in a wheelchair. I had intimated former President Jonathan that once the elections were over and he was sworn into office for the second term, I would leave partisan politics and retire to my village.
Thus, I recalled earlier receiving a request by a group with the rather uplifting name of “Think Nigeria First Initiative”, TNFI, for a courtesy call on me and to make me their Grand Patron. The name alone sent sensations of kindred spirit through me and I readily accepted. I responded, enthusiastically, naturally.
It was in that context that I said that myself at the age of nearly eighty-nine (89) years, and having carried my passions of similar ideals with theirs for over 60 years, had decided that my energies, needed a paradigm restructuring. This same position I had declared at Akure, Ondo State, on August 24, 2015, at the meeting of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA), of which, by GOD’s Grace, I am one of the leaders.
• To be continued tomorrow.
• Chief (Dr.) Clark, OFR, CON is a veteran politician.