Clark made this known in a goodwill message he ought to have presented at the Middle Belt mega-rally in Makurdi, Benue State on Monday but could not as their flight to Makurdi was allegedly aborted by the Nigerian Air Force, which denied the flight landing rights in the Benue State capital.
Clark in the goodwill message titled: ‘The Liberty Of Middle Belt Is In Your Hands, The Freedom Of Middle Belt Is In Your Hands And The Strength Of Middle Belt Is In Your Unity’ said that every Nigerian is a bonafide citizen of this country. No Nigerian is, therefore, more Nigerian than another Nigerian and that we all have equal levels of rights and obligations under the laws of our dear country.
He went on to lament that a situation where a particular cabal belonging to one group of people will see their group as the rulers and treat others as second class citizens is unacceptable and should and will be resisted.
Read full speech below
GOODWILL MESSAGE FROM CHIEF (DR.) E. K. CLARK, OFR, CON, FORMER MINISTER OF INFORMATION, SENATOR OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC, NATIONAL LEADER AND CONVENER OF THE PAN-NIGER DELTA FORUM, PANDEF, ON THE OCASSION OF THE MIDDLE BELT MEGA-RALLY HELD IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE ON MONDAY, 16TH JULY, 2018.
TITLE OF MESSAGE: THE LIBERTY OF MIDDLE BELT IS IN YOUR HANDS, THE FREEDOM OF MIDDLE BELT IS IN YOUR HANDS AND THE STRENGTH OF MIDDLE BELT IS IN YOUR UNITY
My Dear Compatriots of the Middle Belt,
It gives me great pleasure to note that eminent men, women and youths of the Middle Belt are here gathered today. You have gathered in this historic town of Makurdi to make a statement over your destiny that the incessant killings must stop, and to fight for your freedom and emancipation from modern day slavery that is being foisted on you, in your own country, will be resisted, using all legal means; you have gathered to affirm that the people of Middle Belt will stand up to protect their lives and properties, using all available legal and lawful means.
Let me restate from the outset, that every Nigerian is a bonafide citizen of this country. No Nigerian is, therefore, more Nigerian than another Nigerian. We all have equal levels of rights and obligations under the laws of our dear country. A situation where a particular cabal belonging to one group of people will see their group as the rulers and treat others as second class citizens is unacceptable to us and should and will be resisted. Modern day slavery does not have a place in this country. Even in the dark ages of slavery, people stood up to fight for their rights, they stood up to fight for the rights of their children yet unborn, their aged, their women and their vulnerable people. This right is today recognized as inalienable under the International law and no one can take it away from you. All that is required is for you to use legal and legitimate means.
I am sure everyone here will readily recall the quintessential Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr and his ever green words, where he prophesied that the blacks in America and indeed all other people of colour will be free one day. This was 100 years after the Proclamation of Emancipation of 1863, fought by Abraham Lincoln. Yet people of African descent in the United States of America, were still in bondage. Martin Luther King Jnr. started his freedom fight in the 1960s, the same decade when Barack Hussein Obama Jnr was born, to an American Mother and an African father, from Kenya, as the second generation of his father’s root. Seven years after Barack Hueesin Obama Jr was born, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, precisely in 1968.
But 41 years after, in the year 2009, the prophesies and the wishes of Martin Luther King Jr were fulfilled. Like the words of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia His people were no longer “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America and served two complete tenures of eight years. Even if, as speculated in some myopic quarters, his first tenure was a fluke, was the second tenure where he was consciously elected by a vast majority of all races in the USA a fluke as well? Definitely not! He was whole heartedly accepted. I should add that Barack Obama Snr. and my wife Dr. Mrs. Marinatu Clark were colleagues, together with one Nwabuyi a Kenyan woman, who got married to a Nigerian Prof. Diejomaho.
It is this attitude of wanting to lord it over others that made us to form the Congress for Equality and Change, CEC, comprising the South-South and the Middle Belt in early 2010. The General Assembly of the CEC was formally launched on Thursday, 5th August, 2010, at the Merit House, Abuja.
In my Address on that occasion, I said amongst other things that “My association with the Congress and acceptance to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees is informed by my firm rooted belief that God created everyman equal; God did not say some people are superior to others or some people must be subservient to others for eternity. There is no disparity in the world of God and that is why those fundamental attributes that sustain living, like air, water, sun, rain, are given freely and equally to every creature.
At 83 years, I can never support or identify with divisive tendencies that harbor the intention of creating gulf and disunity in the country…. Any society where opportunities and privileges are lopsidedly distributed offers opportunities for mutual distrust, suspicion, civil unrest and instability. I therefore urge the people of this greatly endowed country, in any position of responsibility God considers fit as a nation, to bequeath legacies that bear equity, fairness and social justice.
Let us treat one another as Nigerians first, not because we are from Hausa/Fulani, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, Tiv, Zuru. I will like to end my address with words of our iconoclastic symbol for social justice and equality, Dr. Nelson Mandela: “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”
During that period, we held series of meetings, some of which were at my former residence along T. Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, Abuja. Because of the caliber of persons in the organization, we were granted permission to meet with the then President of the country, at a time when groups were almost barred from seeing him.
I am 91 years old now. Unfortunately, 8 years after the situation has not changed, rather has gotten worse. From the over 300 persons killed in Benue State, to the massacre in Taraba State, in Kaduna State, in Zamfara, in Kogi, in Plateau State and in Sokoto State, the blood of innocent Nigerians are spilled every day, in cold blood, in the most unprovoked and senseless manner. Enough is enough! The people of the Middle Belt must take their destiny in their hands through every available lawful means. When the killings happened initially in Benue State, the Governor of Plateau State did not imagine it will get to his State, with his I handled my State well attitude. When, at that time he stated with mockery that the killings in Benue State took place because the Governor of the State passed a law.
The question is did the Governor of Plateau State pass a law before the massacre of over 200 innocent persons, with about 38,000 persons displaced? These people were killed in the most inhuman and gory manner, after which they were roasted like goats, beyond recognition; they were buried in mass graves. This reminds one of the story of the cat, the partridge and the hare.
I wish to state here unequivocally that, the liberty of Middle Belt is in your hands. The freedom of the Middle Belt is in your hands. And the strength of the Middle belt is in your unity. Where are the line-ups of great statesmen, politicians, senior and intellectuals from the Middle Belt? The Barnabas Gemades, Paul Unongos? Indeed, where are the retired Army Generals from the Middle Belt, the Brig. Gen. David Marks (a one-time number three citizen of this country), the Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Usenis, the Lt. Gen. Joshua Dogonyaros, the Gen. Martin Luther Agwais, the Maj. Gen. Lawrence Onojas, the Maj. Gen. Zamani Lekwots, the Maj. Gen. Muyiwa Abisoyes, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewons, Maj.-Gen. IBM Harunas, Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfas, Lt. Gen. Gibson Jalos, Lt. Col. Dauda Musa Komos, Brig. Gen. David Bamigboyes, Air Cdr. Dan Suleimans, Gen. Tunde Idiagbons, Gen. Mamman Kontagoras, Gen. Wushihis, Gen, Ganas, Col. John David Dungs, Col. Ibrahim Kefas’ Col. Ahmadu Alis, etc, who fought the Civil War and liberated this country? Where are they? Can they not speak out? Even for some of them who have died, where are the children of these brave men? A lion must begat a lion. Their people are dying, their people are being exterminated? It is time to save their people; it is time to liberate their people.
To the patriots from other regions who have come to join the people of the Middle Belt on a solidarity rally, I salute you all; I salute your courage and steadfastness. It was the same Martin Luther King Jr who said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Today it is Benue, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara, Plateau, Sokoto; tomorrow, it could be anywhere else. But God forbid! Do not relent. We shall all stand together to fight this injustice, even as you have demonstrated today by your courage in coming here. A famous writer stated that the love that is concerned with going the extra mile is to ensure the well-being of others.
I will like to end by stating that what is being done by all these mega rallies held in Ibadan the South-West in September 2017, in Yenagoa South-South in March, 2018, Awka in the South-East in May 2018, and now here in Makurdi the Middle Belt, are giant steps towards building a just, egalitarian and harmonious Nigerian nation; a nation where all see every other person as sharing a common destiny, a common future and a common hope; a Nigeria where equality, and fairness is in words and in deeds; a Nigeria where none feels inferior and all share a sense of brotherhood. We must end the killings in all ramifications; the Federal Government must stop all forms of indiscriminate killings in the country, and Nigeria must be RESTRUCTURED.
For all Nigerians to be free citizens of this country Nigeria must be restructured; the recommendation are in the 2014 Conference Report.
I wish you peace as you hold this mega rally and safety as you return to your various destinations.
Thank you for listening and God bless you all.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON.