Elder statesman and former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, has advised the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, to stop humiliating former President Goodluck Jonathan issues of the past go. Clark, who gave the advice yesterday, also urged the minister to put an end to animosities between him and some political leaders of the South South geopolitical zone but rather make peace with his political brethren in the region. In an open letter personally signed by him, Clark asked Amaechi to “go back home” and consider reconciling with his kith and kin as well as friends both in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The nonagenarian expressed displeasure at the recent action by the Federal Government and the Ministry of Transportation in the naming of the Agbor Railway Station after Jonathan, the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, describing it as belittling.
“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, for us in the Niger Delta and indeed to wellmeaning 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. For instance, 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? “Therefore, naming the railway station in Agbor, Delta State, ‘Goodluck Jonathan Railway Station and Complex’, is a misnomer.
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.” I am in total support of the position of PANDEF, as the Convener PANDEF, and leader of the Niger Delta region,” he said.