Clark: Naming Rail Stations After Awolowo, Jonathan Demeaning | TimeTestedNews


An elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has described the naming of some of the rail stations after former President Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as a dishonour to their legacies.

Clark in an open letter, yesterday in Abuja, addressed to the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, said Jonathan as a former president and Awolowo, a towering political leader until his death, deserved more than that.

He added that lumping together of people who have not made any meaningful marks in the country’s development alongside great men like Awolowo and Jonathan is not acceptable.

The Ijaw leader, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the honour.

Clark, however, said his people saw the federal government’s gestures to the two leaders as degrading, especially when it has to be shared with such a calibre of people listed alongside them.

Clark, a Federal Commissioner for Information in the First Republic, also stressed the need for Amaechi to commence moves to reconcile with his kith and kin across political divides in his home state, Rivers.

He stated that the main purpose of writing the letter was not unconnected with the naming of Agbor train station after Jonathan, which he described as demeaning and humiliating.

“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, the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“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, the same consideration should be borne in mind when honouring people.”

According to him, naming the railway station in Agbor, Delta State, ‘Goodluck Jonathan Railway Station and Complex’, is a misnomer.

He said the umbrella body of the Niger Delta, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), had issued a statement to condemn the 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.”