Days after President Muhammadu Buhari renamed several railway stations after some prominent Nigerians, workers at the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have asked the government to look elsewhere for a station to name in honour of the All Progressive Congress (APC) National Leader, Mr Bola Tinubu. The Nigeria Union of Railwaymen (NUR), in a statement by
Days after President Muhammadu Buhari renamed several railway stations after some prominent Nigerians, workers at the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have asked the government to look elsewhere for a station to name in honour of the All Progressive Congress (APC) National Leader, Mr Bola Tinubu.
The Nigeria Union of Railwaymen (NUR), in a statement by its General Secretary, Mr. Segun Esan, demanded that the Apapa Railway Station, which was renamed after Tinubu be reversed to its original name Waziri Mohammed Railway Station.
The union also berated the Transport Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for not consulting with either the workers or the union before submitting the names of the beneficiaries to President Buhari.
While not nursing ill-feelings against any of the beneficiaries whose names were approved by the President, Esan explained that the Apapa train station was already named by the government after Waziri, who was among 117 passengers that perished in the Bellview Airline crash of October 22, 2005, at Lisa in Ogun State, and wondered why the name should be replaced.
Until his demise, Waziri was the Chairman of Nigeria Railway Board. He died in the Bellview’s plane crash just 24 hours after visiting the railway office at Ebute Metta in Lagos on official assignment.
The statement said: “To this effect and without prejudice to any of the distinguished personalities whose names have been given to railway stations by the Hon. Minister of Transportation, we strongly demand that the name of Apapa Railway Station be reverted to its old name, Waziri Mohammed Railway Station.
“Apapa railway station, after the painful death of our beloved Late Alhaji Waziri Kyari Mohammed in a Bellview plane crash, which occurred on 22nd October 2005 at Lisa in Ogun State, was most officially named after him who until his untimely death was the Chairman of Nigerian Railway Board.
“Late Alhaji Waziri Mohammed toiled and laboured passionately and relentlessly for the emancipation of the Nigerian Railway system with verifiable intentions to impact positively on the welfare and the wellbeing of the railway workers before the cold hands of death took him away. He died while on active service to Nigeria through the Nigerian railway. The only thing that reminds the Nigerian Railway community nationwide of the sterling contribution of late Alhaji Waziri Mohammed to the development of Nigeria in the Nigerian Railway is the Apapa Railway station named after him.
“Convincingly so, we exist in the reality of the undeniable fact that late Alhaji Waziri Mohammed, more than any Nigerian and as a concept that he truly was, deserves his rightful place in the history and geography of Nigerian Railway and also in the indomitable heart of Nigerians and the railway workers who remain thankful and appreciative of him for his unquenchable passion and enthusiasm for a better railway and happier workers.
“We earnestly demand justice for our glorious dead, Alhaji Waziri Kyari Mohammed, by returning his name to Apapa railway station. Let us not rob the dead to pay the living because, someday, we will all be dead!”
Esan further said that the renaming of the railway stations by the government was commendable and in line with global best practice as concerned the use of monuments and national facilities as reminders of heroes and great citizens who had contributed to the development of their nations and communities.
Although it declares support for Amaechi’s vision to revive the rail transport system, but said the right thing must be done at all times.
The Transport Minister had announced the renaming of some of the railway stations a few days ago after some “prominent” Nigerians, saying the decision had received the approval of President Buhari.
According to him, the deserving citizens had contributed to the progress and development of their respective communities and the nation at large.
Some of the names were Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Apapa station), Mobolaji Johnson (Ebute Metta Station), Babatunde Raji Fashola (Agege station), Lateef Jakande (Agbado station), Prof.Yemi Osinbajo (Kajola station), Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Papalanto station), Prof. Wole Soyinka (Abeokuta station), Segun Osoba (Olodo station), Chief Ladoka Akintola (Omio-Adio station) and Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Ibadan station).
Others are Dr Alex Ekwueme (Operation Control Centre), Adamu Attah (Itakpe station), Dr. Olushola Saraki (Ajaokuta station), Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (Itogbo station), Brigadier General George Innih (Agenebode station), Anthony Eromosele Enahoro (Uromi station), Chief Tom Ikimi (Ekehen station), Brig. Gen. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia (rtd) (Igbanke station), Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (Agbor Station Complex), Brigadier General David Ejoor (Abraka station), Micheal Ibru (Opara station), Alfred Rewane (Ujevwu station) and Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe (Railway Village, Agbor).