Being a rare gem is often a divine design. The stars on the forehead of such a person shine unquenchably, despite attempts by any forces to quench them.
Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, or Pa E. K Clark as we fondly call him, fits into this metaphoric analogy.
From youthful days to career eras, he exhibited magnetic intelligence and leadership charisma. His marks are in vibrant legal practice; information management when he was Federal Commissioner of Information; politics, particularly in his days as a senator in Nigeria’s Legislature and later in the early years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he was a BoT member. His legacies are also in education, exemplified by his prolific teaching career, education commissionership in the Mid-Western region, the role played in setting up the University of Benin in Benin City; and much later his own university at Kiagbodo Town; as well as environmental and human rights activism. The list is endless.
In fact, for a long time, Pa Clark has not only stood out as the vocal and respected voice of the Ijaws, the Niger Delta region and the South-South zone, and even other zones, but has also made huge sacrifices to lead and guide different classes of youths, elites and elders in the agitation for a fairer deal and right to belongingness in the Nigerian Enterprise that has been ‘oiled’ with the crude oil/gas from the Niger Delta, more than five decades, without commensurate benefits to the people.
It baffles many, including me, that Pa Clark who is close to being a centurion is not tired of speaking out for the people or daunted even in the face of intimidation by any forces in power, instead, he fearlessly agitates for the people with intellect and zest similar to that of a young man.
My dear Pa Clark, I salute you on your 93rd Birthday. I on behalf of myself, my family, and Yenagoa-Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency, which I represent in the House of Representatives, salute you immensely for the contributions you have made to Ijaw and Niger Delta struggles for self-determination, and to the growth of the country.
We pray that God who has given you the grace, makes you live more years ahead so that you would continue to serve as a reservoir of knowledge and wisdom to be tapped by the present crop of youths, elites, and elders.
May God hearken to our prayers for you.
Prof. Steve Sinikiem Azaiki, OON