=The Lagos State Chapter of the Ijaw Elders Forum on Sunday joined all well-wishers across Nigeria and the globe to celebrate elder statesman and Nationalist, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, ahead of his 93rd birthday.
In a statement jointly signed by Chief Bukazi Etete and Efiye Bribena, the Chairman and Secretary of the Lagos State chapter of the IEF, they lauded the elder statesman for his steadfastness.
The statement said: “On a day like this, we recall with nostalgia and pride the quality of leaders the Ijaw Nation has provided in ensuring peace, love and unity in our country.
“Ijaw leaders have always contributed sacrificially to the unity, peace and well-being of the Nigerian Nation.
“Right from the first republic, Chief Clark stood for and fought for the rights of minorities and the down trodden.
“A great lover of education, He was pivotal to the establishment of the University of Benin.”
The statement highlighted the pivotal role played by Clark to restore normalcy in the Niger Delta region at the height of restiveness in the oil rich area.
It said: “At the height of militancy in the Niger Clark and other well-meaning Ijaw patriots at great personal risk and sacrifice worked for the promotion of Unity, Peace, Love and Progress in Nigeria by working tirelessly to restore peace and normalcy in the Niger Delta.
“At the risk of losing his reputation with his people, Clark also led other compatriots under PANDEF to pressurise the Niger Delta militants to maintain the peace in 2016.
“It is worthy of note that in spite of the concerted efforts of Chief Clark and other compatriots to maintain the peace in the region, the expectations of the people from the government have not been met.
“We would like to appeal to other sectional leaders to emulate the good works of Chief Clark by putting aside selfish and section interests to work for the peace, security, progress and unity of Nigeria.
“Leaders should shun all forms of nepotism, tribalism and corruption and promote the virtues of integrity, peace, love, probity, sound reasoning and selflessness.
“As we celebrate this great leader, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to draw the attention of our leaders today to halt the drift to abyss by emulating the values of our revered founding fathers.”