The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described the reaction of Ijaw leader Pa Edwin Clark to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to name 23 railway stations after some prominent Nigerians as illogical and untenable.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that it was shocking that an elder statesman would descend to the level of triggering unnecessary sentiments in the public space.
“We find it strange that Pa Clark used unflattering words to describe the decision to name 23 rail stations after other prominent Nigerians aside from former President Goodluck Jonathan and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“We are still wondering what is demeaning about having stations named after distinguished people like Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s first Nobel Prize winner and Mrs Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, the first Nigerian woman to drive a car to push the cause of gender equality in the country.
“What is demeaning is the attempt by an elder statesman who was a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to denigrate the contributions of people like former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and the late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu to nation-building.
“How is it also a problem that the Buhari administration named a station after Chief Awolowo and two others after the closest aides of the late political sage, Lateef Jakande and the late Alfred Rewane?
“Only someone who sees nothing good in anything done by President Buhari would say ‘how can Awolowo be honoured in the same way as persons who were pupils who benefited from his free education scheme in western Nigeria’
‘”It is however clear who Chief Clark is targeting in the South West with that comment and we make bold to say that there is no altruism behind it other than to push the views of his partners in the South and Middle Belt Leaders Forum,” it added.
BMO also wondered how Chief Clark arrived at the conclusion that it was a misnomer to have a Goodluck Jonathan Railway Station and Complex in Agbor, Delta State.
“We concede that the former President played a major role in the resuscitation of the railway in the country and that is clearly why he had been so honoured, but we are at a loss as to what the Ijaw leader really wants.
“Does he want all 23 stations named after former President Jonathan? If not, what is so belittling about naming a railway station after him?
“The fact that he was President does not mean other prominent Nigerians should not be honoured alongside him, with the only exception being the exclusive national honour reserved for only former Presidents and Heads of State, which Jonathan already has.
“Besides, the former President himself was at the Presidential Villa recently where he expressed his appreciation to President Buhari for naming the operational hub and the largest station of the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge line after him.
“No doubt Pa Clark is a respected leader in the Niger Delta, but it is high time he began to use the grace God has endowed him with to espouse amity across ethnic and political divides and, not always try to put down whatever the Buhari administration does”.
BMO added that it expects Clark, who was a federal commissioner of information in the First Republic, to be more broad-minded even though he is only a regional leader of note