Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has congratulated the National Leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), Chief Edwin Clark, on his 96th birthday anniversary, today, May 25, 2023.
Ohanaeze in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, prayed that the former Federal Commissioner for Information “will remain as fit as a fiddle for many more years to come” to harvest the fruit of his lofty dreams for a united, stable and prosperous Nigeria.
The statement described Chief Clark as “a moral edifice, fearless justice crusader, astute politician, philanthropist, pathfinder and one of the most upright icons of our time.”
According to Ohanaeze, the gift of longevity for the nonagenarian “is a reward for the invaluable services he has rendered to the good people of Nigeria at the various stages of his eventful life.”
The apex Igbo socio-cultural body also commended Clark for his continued support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; as well as his vocal stance against the fragrant manipulations of the February 25 presidential poll.
Ohanaeze said that Nigeria needed more courageous and bold leaders in the mold of Pa Clark.
Below is a full text of the statement made available to Ikengaonline:
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide joins the numerous admirers both at home and in the diaspora to felicitate a moral edifice, fearless justice crusader, astute politician, philanthropist, pathfinder and one of the most upright icons of our time, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, the National Leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) as he clocks 96 on Thursday, May 25, 2023.
Chief E K Clark, the author of the Boarding Pass Theory: At 70 and above, one is already at a departure hall with a boarding pass waiting to board an airplane. That the airplane designated for Clark has not arrived since 26 years ago is because it has pleased the Almighty to reward him for the invaluable services he has rendered to the good people of Nigeria at the various stages of his eventful life.
“Sir, in your track record of accomplishments, you have displayed empathy, selflessness, benevolence and milk of human kindness. You have cared for the poor, the widows, the dispossessed, oppressed and the downtrodden. The E K Clark Foundation has birthed the E K Clark University. You have demonstrated consistency, charismatic inter-ethnic relations, sacrifice, heroism and candour. Your character comeliness, intellectual prowess, visionary and prophetic uncompromising stand on national issues are exceptional; and of course, the above virtues have cast your name in gold for generations yet unborn.
“The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Dr. Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR (Ahaejiagamba) describes Chief Clark as one of the most detribalized Nigerian patriots with surpassing credentials. Iwuanyanwu pointed out that Chief Clark was one of the first persons that envisioned that for Nigeria to have peace and sustainable national development, the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be zoned to the South East.
“The Igbo leader commended the courage, unwavering supports and steadfastness demonstrated by Chief E K Clark in particular and the SMBLF in general for the achievements recorded by the Obi-Datti movement in the 2023 presidential election. Ahaejiagamba extols the intellectual wizardry, mental alertness, zeal and indomitable spirit in Chief Clark to have completed a voluminous Autobiography, the Brutal Truth, at 96.
“Iwuanyanwu remarked further that Chief E K Clark (96) and Chief Ayo Adebanjo (95), the Leader of Afenifere, inspired him to accept the challenge to lead the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; explaining that if Clark and Adebanjo at above Ninety can render selfless services in pursuit of equity and justice for the Igbo nation, it will be inexcusable for him, Iwuanyanwu, to abandon his people when they needed him most at 81.
“It is recalled that Chief Clark has in more than several ways demonstrated an intense passion for the Igbo. It was Chief Clark who facilitated the renovation and equipment of the Queens School, Enugu with state of the art facilities shortly after the Nigerian civil war. Eminent Igbo women that passed through the school, such as Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd), Justice Victoria Nebo, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Ifeoma Enemuo, Prof. Ifeoma Egbuonu, Mrs. Justina Offia (SAN), Prof. Gloria Chukwukere, etc, are some of the testaments of Edwin Clark’s magnanimity.
“On behalf of all the organs of Ohanaeze, I heartily congratulate and wish you more fruitful years!”