by Isi Esene
Nigeria’s former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), yesterday in Abuja described a statement credited to Chief Edwin Clark accusing him of backing the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, as “rancid outbursts” by a “self acclaimed statesman”.
Mr. Kassim Afegbua, who spoke on behalf of the general, said Chief Clark should proffer better ways of addressing the insecurity in the nation instead of trading unproductive accusations.
He also advised President Goodluck Jonathan to alter his administration’s strategy of curbing the Boko Haram menace, a strategy which he described as “reactionary”.
The statement read:
“The statement reportedly credited to Chief Edwin Clark on Friday, 3rd August, 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.
“For the purpose of putting the records straight, General Ibrahim Babangida does not and will not have a hand in anything untoward against the unity and stability of the Nigerian State .
“Having invested so much in the unity and stability of the country, to the extent of fighting in the civil war to keep the country together, it is out of place for anyone, least of all an old man of Edwin Clark’s nomenclature, to input directly or indirectly that the great IBB should prove his innocence on the Boko Haram menace.”
It is obvious that the former president, Ibrahim Babangida, never shies from direct confrontation, last year he also had a similar public spat with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, an episode that saw the two generals exchange heated insults.