Edwin Clark, a former federal commissioner for information, has accused Reuben Abati, of not promoting the image and achievements of former President Goodluck Jonathan during his administration.
Clark, in an email to Premium Times on Thursday, October 29, said Abati, the special adviser to the former President on media and publicity, ignored his advice that a publicity committee made up of eminent journalists be put in place in Aso Rock.
The former commissioner was reacting Abati’s claims that he no longer considered Jonathan his ‘son’, and that he was only making the disparaging remarks because Jonathan had lost the 2015 election.
Abati wrote an opinion article titled, “Clark the Father, Jonathan the Son” saying: “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 realisation?
“Yet, throughout the five years, he spoke loudly against anyone who opposed the president.”
The former special adviser wrote the article after Clark said Jonathan did not have the political will to fight corruption.
Responding to Abati’s claims, the elder statesman stated that he did not single out Jonathan on his comments about the inability of Nigerian leaders to fight corruption since the return to democracy in 1999.
He said his comments about corruption were based on the fact that “it has been the reason for the neglect of the ordinary man in Nigeria by all governments.”
Clark noted that he still sees Jonathan as his political son, adding that he could not understand why he came under attack over his comments.
He said: “Reuben Abati has risen to the defence of his last employer too late. He owes the former President apologies for his (Reuben Abati) failure to perform while in office. I should not be used as a scapegoat. I love Goodluck Jonathan and Goodluck Jonathan loves me.”
“I do not recall any favourable remark made by Abati all those years when he was the chairman of the Editorial Board (of the Guardian) and syndicated columnist about the former president, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan. If I recall correctly, they were always the butt of ridicule by Dr. Reuben Abati.
“These vitriolic attacks on former President Jonathan and his wife only stopped when he was appointed the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity by the former president.
“I do not know the background of Dr. Abati but for him to lie and devilishly imagine that I should have remained a PDP card carrying member if President Jonathan had won the election is satanic.”
According to him, he remained proud of the Jonathan’s performance in areas such as railway system, economy, education, fight against polio and ebola, maternal health, the power sector, and others.
“He brought transparency into the electoral process – when people could vote and the votes actually openly counted without violence. Today he stands as the first African president to concede an election to an opponent, even before the final counts,” Clark said.
The elder statesman said he only supported Jonathan not only as his son but also as the first person to emerge from the minorities of the Niger Delta as the president and he has no regret of doing so.
He noted that the story would have been different today if Jonathan’s close associates and political leaders had promoted all his achievements, rather than the pretence and betrayal they were engaged in.
Some days back, Clark, in a lengthy letter out his mind, saying he had known Jonathan before he became the president and he didn’t at any time gain anything from being close to the former president.
In reaction, a group in Delta state, the Ijaw Justice Forum (IJF), on Wednesday, October 28, criticised him saying, it was wicked and mischievous for Clark to say that he did not get anything from the Jonathan-led administration.