Chief Edwin Clark, OFR, CON – Ijaw Leader, Federal Commissioner, Elder Statesman

Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark was born on May 25, 1927 in Kiagbodo, in the Ijaw speaking area of Delta State. He attended primary and secondary schools at Effurun, Okrika and Afugbene before completing further studies at the Government Teacher Training College, Abraka. Thereafter, Clark worked briefly as a school teacher before travelling abroad to earn a law degree.

Chief Clark was the headmaster of the Native Authority Schools in Okrika, Ofoni, and Bomadi in 1951, 1954 and between 1956 and 1957 respectively. He was Assistant Community Officer between 1957 and 1961; was Secretary of the Zikist Movement in London (1963); elected to the Mid-West Consultative Assembly in 1966; was Director Asaba textile Mills; and Commissioner for Education of the Mid-West Region between 1968 and 1971.

He was the first Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Benin (1970 – 1975); Commissioner for Finance and Establishment of Mid-West (1972 – 1974); Federal Minister of Information (1975 – 1976); and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Federal University of Technology, Minna (1982 – 1983).

During the ill-fated Second Republic, Chief Clark was Senator, Delta Senatorial Zone (1983); Treasurer National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Bendel State (1979 – 1983); Member, National Executive (NPN) 1979 – 1983); and during the Ibrahim Babangida political era was Member of the National republican Convention (NRC) 1991 – 1993); led the South South delegation to the National Political Reform Conference in 2005 and member, Peoples Democratic Party since 1998. He was a delegate also to the 2014 National Conference.

Clark was touted as the unofficial advisor to President Goodluck Jonathan. He established the Edwin Clark Foundation and founded the Edwin Clark University situated in his hometown, Kiagbodo.

He holds a number of chieftaincy titles including:

  • Izon-Ebe Kekereowei of Izonland (1975); Aminugo of Iyede Kingdom (1981); Izon-Ebowei of Kabowei Kingdom (1991); Bebearariowei of Ngbilebiri Kingdom (1992); Ogbarisi of Agbarha – Warri Kingdom (1999) and Tonepa of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri Kingdom (2009).

He reported to be among a group of delegates from the Mid-West who, after the military coup of January 1966, opposed any ideas of confederation that were raised at an ad-hoc constitutional conference constituted by Gowon in 1966. The delegation’s mandate was said to be Nigerian unity. So when proposals of a loose federation were tabled the regions delegates asked for adjournment. Later, he was appointed Midwestern Commissioner of Education and later Finance. It was his time as Commissioner for Education, that the Mid-west College of Technology was established. It became the foundation of University of Benin.

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