Edwin Clark, an elder statesman and former Federal Commissioner for Information, has urged leaders in the country to devote more efforts to the promotion of peace, claiming that a lack of trust is tearing the country apart by the day.
Clark made the remarks on Thursday at an event commemorating his 96th birthday at his private residence in Abuja’s Asokoro District.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, ex-Edo State Governor, Oserheimen Osunbor, and All Progressives Congress chieftain, Cairo Ojougboh, all attended the event, which saw Clark in his element, renewing his commitment to speak truth to power at all times.
The Ijaw leader told guests gathered to honour him that he stopped celebrating his birthday anniversaries when schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State were kidnapped in 2014.
On April 14, 2014, over 200 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, were abducted by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, from their hostels; a tragedy that sparked international condemnation with calls for the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to swing into action and rescue them alive.
“I will always speak of what I know in defence of Nigeria. We cannot be one country by word of mouth. We must love and trust ourselves. It is a lack of trust that is breaking Nigeria today, Nigeria is divided but we must speak our minds. I am a Nigerian, but I won’t keep quiet when Nigerians are suffering. If Nigeria does not stand properly, there will be no unity, there will be no peace.
“I have worked for Nigeria for over 70 years, from the age of 25 or thereabout. I have served this country in various capacities. I must have offended many people, but I will always speak on any issue concerning Nigeria.
“I am not celebrating. I stopped celebrating my birthdays since the Chibok school girls were abducted in Borno State. It was very painful. Today, I am not celebrating, I am thanking God. I am not celebrating because I lost two younger brothers in the past. On October 13, 2020, I lost my younger brother, Prof John Pepper-Clark. In July last year, I lost my brother, Ambassador Blessing Clark who was Nigerian Permanent Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. So, I no longer celebrate my birthdays,” he said.
The elder statesman who unveiled his memoir titled, “Brutally Frank,” at the event expressed his readiness to face litigations because of “What I wrote in this book.”
He continued, “This is a book, my memoirs that I have written. It contains everything and I titled it, ‘Brutally Frank.” I know some people would like to take me to court but I am waiting for them. I have spoken the truth and you can’t kill the truth. The foreword to the book was written by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.
In his goodwill message, Gov Diri saluted the courage of the nonagenarian for his deep sense of history, stressing that even at his (Douye’s) age, he could not boast of Clark’s athletic mind especially when dealing with datelines of important events.
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