ABUJA— FORMER President Ibrahim Babangida, yesterday, slammed elder-statesman Chief Edwin Clark over his allegation that some Northern leaders including him, Babangida, were soft on the Boko Haram insurgency.
In a stout rebuttal to the assertion, Babangida alleged that sense may indeed have departed from Clark and hence his disregard for the historic role he (Babangida) played in unifying the country.
Affirming that he had no reason to play politics with the issue having left the ‘political industry’, Babangida traced the difficulties of the Jonathan administration to divisive people he said were of the same mindset with Clark, who have prevented the present administration from seeking reasonable counsel from those that could help it.
He specifically alluded to former Heads of State who he claimed were not being consulted by the present administration.
Babangida spoke in response to Clark’s claims last Wednesday that some northern leaders were behind the increasing spate of violence in the country.
Clark spoke as guest speaker at the second State of the Federation Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS.
Clark had specifically challenged Babangida and former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to condemn the activities of the Boko Haram group that has claimed responsibility for the insurgency campaign in many parts of the north.
Clark noting the joint declaration by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Babangida on the spate of insecurity had said at the lecture:
“Boko Haram preceded Jonathan. It started in 2002 when Obasanjo was President. It was there when Yar’Adua was also ruling. It is not synonymous with Jonathan. I had expected that somebody like Babangida should have spoken since. I thought he would have spoken with his friend Buhari. Two of them have been meeting. So why is he now with Obasanjo?
“At 72, Babangida said he will wear uniform and fight for the unity of Nigeria, he should therefore stand up now and condemn Boko Haram from the bottom of his heart, not with Obasanjo. Obasanjo has gone to Maiduguri to meet the people, why has Babangida not gone?” he asked.
But responding yesterday, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, Babangida said:
“The statement reportedly credited to Chief Edwin Clark on Friday, August 3, 2012 in several newspapers and online media to the effect that General IBB has a hand in Boko Haram, is the subject of this response. We are ashamed to state here that rather than coming up with plausible and efficacious solution[s] to the insecurity in the country, what the self-acclaimed elder statesman came up with was buck-passing, such odium and rancid outburst, to the extent of trying to accuse General Ibrahim Babangida on the Boko Haram menace. We view this misguided and senseless statement in very bad taste and we take very strong exceptions to his drooling and implied conclusion.