By Ebi Perekeme
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has described the naming of what is in effect, a railway sub-station, after the Country’s immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as ridiculous, and demeaning to the personality and status of the former president.
PANDEF reaction was contained in a statement signed by Hon. Ken Robinson, National Publicity Secretary, PANDEF.
According to the forum, “PANDEF is further perplexed by the sequel naming of other stations, even more strategically located, after several other Nigerians, who no doubt, are eminent and deserving. If the gesture was truly an honour done to Goodluck Jonathan, then there would have been no reason, naming several other stations after more individuals.
“It is simply incongruous, improper, and completely unacceptable that one of several railway stations in the country would be named after former President Jonathan. More so, no other former Head of State or President has been named after a railway station. We take serious exception to this ridiculous action; it is a slight against the Niger Delta region, Ethnic Minorities, and all well-meaning Nigerians.”
The forum also asked President, Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the process and assign a befitting national infrastructure to the former President.
The group stated, “PANDEF, therefore, demands the immediate reversal of the naming of the Agbor railway (sub) station after former President Goodluck Jonathan. Instead, a befitting national infrastructure should be named after him. Goodluck Jonathan deserves to be much better appreciated and celebrated, by this country, and nothing should be deemed too much, in so doing. PANDEF further calls on the former President to summarily reject the dishonourable misstep by the Buhari administration.
“The horrid reality is that many of our young people are only known what a railway station looks like from what they see in books, magazines and on television because such infrastructures are completely absent in their areas.
“The Lagos to Calabar Coastal Rail Line that was earlier touted by this Administration, instead of the Coastal Road that was conceptualized by the Jonathan Administration, is seemingly aborted, like several other critical projects for the Niger Delta Region.
“It is in the face of such circumstances that President Buhari, and his Team, choose to name a puny rustic location railway sub-station after the former President from the region.
“If Buhari genuinely wanted to honour Goodluck Jonathan, in terms of naming an infrastructure after him, there is a plethora of certainly befitting National Infrastructures and Institutions, all over the country. What is wrong, if, as the first democratically elected President of Nigeria from the South-South Geopolitical Zone, the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers State, is named after him.
“It is a well-established protocol in Nigeria to so identify such high profile infrastructures after former leaders. The Port Harcourt International Airport is one of the nation’s five functional International Airports, including those in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, and Enugu. The Abuja International Airport is named after Nigeria’s first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azkiwe; that of Lagos is named after late Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed. And Enugu international Airport is named after Akanu Ibiam, who was Governor of the former Eastern Region from 1960 to 1966.
“Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is even more deserving of such recognition, considering that the milestone upgrade of facilities at the airport, which was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, in October 2018, was initiated by the Jonathan administration,” the statement added.