Elder statesman and leader of the South-South geopolitical zone, Chief Edwin Clark, has congratulated the People’s Democratic Party and its Osun State governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke, on their victory in the governorship election held on July 16.
While commending the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for describing the outcome of the elections as “an expression of the will of the people through ballot, which must matter and be respected”, the nonagenarian berated the All Progressives Congress national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, for his comments before the election and desperation to get Osun State by hook or crook.
Clark in a statement issued on Thursday night in Abuja, recalled his encounter with the APC chairman who, according to him, he had known since 1979 as national coordinator for the minorities of the South and the Middle Belt.
Adamu had while inaugurating the 86-member of the APC National Campaign Council for the Osun State Governorship election, reportedly made some remarks about Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate in the election.
He had said, “We must be prepared to face him eyeball to eyeball. There is no sparing for any reason whatsoever, no sparing his party the PDP…I urge you to leave no stone unturned. I urge you to go there and do whatever is doable within the laws of Nigeria and our electoral laws to win.
“Nobody should come back to us crying. Whatever it takes within the laws of the land, I say go for it, win the election. Let them go complain, let them go wherever; let us win the election. We have no apologies whatsoever for this posture because these two elections are tests for the national election coming up in 2023.”
But Clark criticized the comments by Adamu, saying he was not surprised as the APC chairman had been known to be “a very ruthless and an aggressively ambitious politician.”
He said, “What desperation! Senator Abdullahi Adamu’s unguarded statement did not come to me as a surprise because I have known him since 1979. I was the national coordinator for the minorities of the South and the Middle Belt, so on several occasions, I had cause to interact with him. He is a very ruthless and an aggressively ambitious politician.
“At the time, the late Ibrahim Mantu wanted to contest for the chairmanship of the Plateau State chapter of the National Party of Nigeria; Abdullahi Adamu wanted to crush Ibrahim Mantu, but we resisted.
“It was also during this period that he (Abdullahi Adamu) was able to push himself to become the chairman of the NPN in Plateau State.
“I also heard from a reliable source that Abdullahi Adamu was very hostile to Muhammadu Buhari during one of his (Muhammadu Buhari’s) presidential campaigns under the Congress for Progressive Change.
“In fact, the then Senatorial candidate of the CPC, Gen. Ahmed Aboki (retd.), was maltreated during the period. To Abdullahi Adamu, the political party he belongs to and himself, are greater than Nigeria as a country and Nigerians.
“I am, therefore, not surprised that he did not accept the result of the free and fair gubernatorial election held in Osun State, even a day after the result had been announced. What a shame! The only surprise I would like to express here is that I thought ageing would have changed him. Our leaders must be able to feel the pulse of the people. Let leadership have a human face.”
According to him, as a leader of the APC, Buhari was magnanimous enough to congratulate the winner in an election in which his own candidate was defeated.
Clark said, “I also wish to commend him for his excellent statesman position. This is indeed a legacy which must be protected by the APC desperados, who must endeavour to maintain and keep this legacy.
“My commendation also goes to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission. He is a man of integrity, conviction and courage. He has no doubt improved on his work over the years, and more importantly, over his predecessor in office, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“There is so much discontent in the land. If people are complaining, a good leader should listen. Unfortunately, we have leaders who not only ignore the concerns of the people with impunity, but also make crass statements.”