Published On: Thu, May 25th, 2017

Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark at 90 -Goodwill message by Gen. Boroh

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Goodwill message by Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd) Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme on Thursday 25th May, 2017. 

Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark

It is with a deep sense of honour that I present this message to mark the 90th birthday of a leading light in our country, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON.  Certainly, anywhere in the world, it takes the grace of God and favour to attain the ripe age of 90, more so in a country like ours with a life expectancy that is less than 50 years.  Apart from this is the fact that even at such a ripe age, he remains quite active, vibrant and highly cerebral.

Chief Clark has made an indelible mark in the history of our country, and history will be kind to him. Soon after independence, he   found himself in the vortex of Nigerian politics. Later, he emerged as Commissioner for Education in the old Mid-West Region where he did so much to develop and expand education, especially in post- primary education in the war affected areas of the region. The Ministry under him witnessed the establishment of several secondary schools including Oproza Grammar School, Gbesa Memorial Grammar School, Akugbene Grammar School and Burutu Grammar School amongst others. This was most felt in the Western Ijaw areas where before then; there was only one secondary school and a Teachers Training College.

He went ahead to work for the expansion of tertiary institutions in the old Bendel State (Now, Edo and Delta States) which led to the eventual establishment of the University of Benin. Later, he was appointed the State Commissioner for Finance and Establishment where he equally excelled.  He moved up to be the Federal Minister of Information, a Senator in the Second Republic and a consistent Pan-Nigerian and Pan-African Statesman.

Chief Clark stood as a voice for the disadvantaged in the entire South South. Equally in the early post-independence politics when the creation of new regions and provinces were being considered, he took a Pan-Nigerian position and has resolutely remained a nationalist working for the betterment and sustainability of Nigeria as a country.

He has not spared any effort in working for sustainable peace since the noticeable emergence of insurgency in the Niger Delta. I know he has made strenuous efforts to restrain the agitating groups and urging them to be more understanding and view issues more from a national perspective than a regional one. Given his wide experience and back ground in public service, Chief Clark is ever conscious that a full blown crisis will not be beneficial to either the Niger Delta people or the Federal Government. He is an epitome of peace and an astute Peace Practioner.

Even at 90, he is not tired of speaking out and working assiduously for national integration.  This could be observed in his convening of an association of South South Elders, leaders and youths to deliberate on Niger Delta issues and negotiate for peaceful resolution and development of the region. This body that came to be known as Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) today has become the major mouth piece of all the Niger Delta people and their principal negotiating body with the Federal Government. It has also united all the nationalities in the South Region.

We at the Presidential Amnesty Office rejoice with Chief, Dr. Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, his family and well-wishers. The people of Niger Delta and indeed, Nigerians in general have been beneficiaries of this sage’s activism and all I can say to him, is, we are grateful and pray for God’s blessings to abide in him now and forever more. Amen.

Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh,(Rtd.)

 

 

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