By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
PAN-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, mouthpiece of the people of South-South zone, last night, described the naming of a Railway Station after former President Goodluck Jonathan by President Muhammadu Buhari administration as”meaningless and belittling to the person and status of the former president.”
National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, in a statement, said: ” It is even worse that after the supposed honour, the government went ahead to name several other stations after other Nigerians.”
“Though understandable that all those the various railway stations are named after, are prominent and deserving Nigerians. However, if the gesture was truly a honour done to Goodluck Jonathan, then there would have been no reason, naming several other stations after numerous other persons.
“It is simply improper, incongruous and completely unacceptable that one of several railway stations in the country would be named after former President Jonathan. More so, there is no other former Head of State or President that a railway station has been named after.
“Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, therefore, demands the immediate reversal of the naming of the Agbor railway station after former President Goodluck Jonathan. Instead, a befitting national infrastructure should be named after him.
“Former President Goodluck deserves to be celebrated by this country, and nothing should be deemed too much, in doing so. PANDEF further calls on the former President to reject the dishonorable gesture.
“The horrid realty is that many of our young people 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 – Calabar Coastal rail line that was earlier touted by the administration, instead of the Coastal Road that was conceptualized by the Jonathan administration, seems to have been aborted like several other critical projects for the Niger Delta region. It is in the face of such circumstances that they are naming a mere railway station after the former president from the region. Of what significance is it?
“If President Muhammadu Buhari sincerely wants to honour former President Jonathan in terms of naming an infrastructure after him, it should be something befitting. 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 the former president?
“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.
“He is even more deserving knowing that the milestone upgrade of facilities at the airport, which was commissioned by Mr. President in October 2018, was initiated by the Goodluck administration,” PANDEF stated .