Obasanjo was reacting to Clark’s interview published in a national daily where he blamed the entire crisis in the ruling party – Peoples’ Democratic Party – on the former president’s meddlesomeness and said his retirement from active politics will restore calm.
“There is time available to offer service to your country. There is time to retire with dignity and remain at home. So, one of the areas I will like to mention/advise our most respected former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is that as I mentioned earlier, he should stay at home. Those who want to consult with him will go to him. He should not debase the office of a former President of the country or create controversies,” Clark was quoted as saying.
But the former president in a response through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Victor Durodola, said it was Clark who needed to retire not the former leader.
On the allegation by Clark that the former president instigated the current political friction between the five northern governors and the presidency by prodding Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State to contest the Presidency in 2015, Durodola said ordinarily ‘Baba’, as he is fondly called would not dignify such comments with a response, they are nonetheless bogus claims.
He said, “Usually, Baba will not dignify such a comment with a response. If he says somebody is sponsoring Governor Rotimi Amaechi, what evidence has he provided? If you have a son and he is not in good terms with your friend, will you kill your son so that your friend will know that you are his friend? That is not the way to live life. The best an elder can do is to try and settle quarrels, if there are any. Remember he (Obasanjo) is an elder statesman, a former President.
“Edwin Clark, you can see from all his utterances that he is actually the one who should go and sit down. He should not be involved in politics, he should be a leader. But if he is involved in politics, that is okay for him. The fact is that there is nothing he is saying now that he has not said before. Baba would not join issues with someone like Edwin Clark; he wouldn’t. He ought to have provided evidence, instead of making general pronouncements.”
In a tacit support for the conduct of primaries in the PDP come 2015 as against the proposal of an automatic ticket for President Goodluck Jonathan, Durodola noted that Obasanjo believes that democracy guarantees every eligible Nigerian, whether Amaechi, Lamido or even Clark himself to vie for any position in the land.
He said, “Are Lamido and Amaechi not Nigerians? Are they not eligible? Is Clark himself not eligible? What is wrong with somebody contesting? There is democracy. There should be no seal. Whoever wants to contest should be free to contest. Let the primary election determine who should be the candidate of the party. Everybody should be free to contest, including Clark. He is an elder statesman, he should know that this idea of because somebody is interested in contesting, then he becomes an enemy, is not the way of civilisation. Democracy means freedom for everybody.”
He maintained that contrary to media reports, Obasanjo and Jonathan enjoy a cordial relationship.
“Just to clarify things, Obasanjo is not quarreling with Jonathan. They talk; they interact; they meet; they travel together. The fact is that he (Obasanjo) likes to express himself, and he believes in democracy,” he said