Former Federal Commissioner for Information, Edwin Clark, has alleged that Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, sabotaged the former president by failing to promote his image and achievements. Against Mr. Abati’s claims that Mr. Clark no longer considered Mr. Jonathan his ‘son’, Mr. Clark said he still sees the former president as a political son despite gaining nothing from his presidency.
While expressing his resolve to quit partisan politics, Mr. Clark was recently reported as saying Mr. Jonathan “did not have the political will to fight corruption”. In his response to Mr. Clark’s remark on the ex-president, the former president’s publicist wrote in an opinion article titled, “Clark the Father, Jonathan the Son” that the octogenarian was only making the disparaging remarks because Mr. Jonathan had lost the 2015 election.
“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,” Mr. Abati wrote.
Apart from Mr. Abati, many other persons loyal to the ex-president, such as the Ijaw Justice Forum, IJF, and other groups also took exception to the claims by the elder statesman. But in an email to PREMIUM TIMES Thursday, Mr. Clark said he could not understand why he came under attack over his comments on Mr. Jonathan “for reasons so obvious”.
Mr. Clark said it was curious that Mr. Abati, who he accused of failing to sell Mr. Jonathan’s achievements to Nigerians, could accuse him of disparaging a man he (Abati) was never loyal to. He said he had to, at a point, point out to Mr. Abati how negligent he is to his duties by not defending Mr. Jonathan against some of the scurrilous attacks against him and also by not promoting the president’s image and well-known achievements of his administration.
“My advice that a publicity committee made up of eminent journalists be put in place in Aso Rock and that media proprietors and senior journalists should be invited to Aso Rock were jettisoned by Abati because of what I suppose is his covetousness, particularly when many journalists and media houses always complained to me that he was not carrying them along,” Mr. Clark said.
“Dr. 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,” he said.
Mr. Clark also recalled that before his appointment by Mr. Jonathan, Mr. Abati was one of the strongest critics of the president in his Guardian newspaper column.
“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. In fact, he became so notorious and fearless a critic of former President Jonathan and his wife in the Guardian Newspaper that I had to draw the attention of my cousin the proprietor of the Guardian newspaper to his excesses.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Clark said Mr. Abati repeatedly lied against him in his article. He said it was “crude and unpolished” for Abati to claim that he would still have been a card carrying member of the PDP if Mr. Jonathan had won re-election.
“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.”