By Yusuf Adua
Elder statesman, Edwin Clark, has picked faults in the naming of Agbor railway station by the federal government after former President Goodluck Jonathan with the view that the action tapered the personality of the former president.
In an open letter to the Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday in Abuja, the former federal commissioner for Information also reemphasized the need for Amaechi to start fashioning out ways to make peace with his kith and kin across board in his home state, Rivers.
Naming the railway station after GEJ is demeaning and humiliating according to Chief Clarke who said: “My main reason for writing this letter is on the recent action by the Federal Government and the Ministry of Transportation which is currently under your watch, that is, the naming of the Agbor Railway Station after His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The evergreen politician pointed out that “While it is said to be an honour on the former President by the Federal Government and your Ministry, the Ministry of Transportation, because it is a known fact that the resuscitation of rail transport is one of the legacy projects of the former President, but for us in the Niger Delta and indeed to well-meaning Nigerians this ‘honour’, diminishes the prestige of a former President when the honour is also bestowed on others. One is not in any way adducing that the others are not deserving of the honour bestowed on them, but the same way official responsibilities differ in importance and risks, same consideration should be borne in mind when honouring people”.
He further highlighted that the umbrella body of the Niger Delta, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), had issued a statement to condemn this action, which it described as “meaningless and belittling to the person and status of the former President”, and “demands the immediate reversal…. Instead, a befitting National Infrastructure should be named after him.”
The elder statesman also declared his stout support of the position of PANDEF, he said, ” “I am in total support of the position of PANDEF, as the Convener of PANDEF, and leader of the Niger Delta region”.
According to him “How can Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Premier of Western Nigeria, be honoured with the naming of a Railway Station after him in addition with persons who were pupils who benefited from his Free Education Scheme in Western Nigeria? Even in giving National Honours, there are different awards for different cadre of persons”.
“It will interest you to know, Hon. Minister of Transportation that Chief Lateef Jakande was one of the closest aides to Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Mr. Alfred Rewane was one of his (Chief Obafemi Awolowo) assistants, who held the post of a Political Adviser. So how will such persons feel to be honoured equally with their principal?”.
Chief Clark also seized the opportunity to advise Amaechi to go back to his root in Rivers and settle the differences between him and his political enemies. He said “I wish to also use this medium, as I see it as my responsibility as your ‘father’ and leader of our people, to advise you, dear Hon. Minister, to go back home and consider reconciling with your kith and kin and friends both in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Let bygones be bygones”.
Chief Clark didn’t forget to put the icing on the cake “You will recall that the leaders of the South-South People Assembly, under my leadership, made every attempt to reconcile you with former President Goodluck Jonathan, but our attempts proved abortive. Even when the revered Rev. Jesse Jackson of the United States of America intervened in the matter in 2014, you remained adamant; you rather kept away from me and some of the leaders of the South-South”.
However, It remains to be seen what the response of the honourable minister or the presidency would be but it was a widely held view that the government of Nigeria did well with the naming. Was Chief Edwin Clark right? Get back to us in the comment section.
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