WHOEVER came up with the recent idea of naming of rail stations after prominent Nigerians is not a great thinker.
President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead to approve the naming of some railway stations along the Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe/Ajaokuta/ Aladja/Warri corridors after some Nigerian leaders based on the ill-thought out suggestion.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this through a statement by his ministry’s Director of Press, Eric Ojiekwe.
The statement noted that those honoured with the gesture have contributed to the progress and development of their respective communities and the nation at large.
According to the statement, for the Lagos-Ibadan with extension to the Lagos Port Complex at Apapa railway station, the beneficiaries are: Bola Tinubu (Apapa station), Mobolaji Johnson (Ebute Metta Station), Babatunde Fashola (Agege station), Lateef Jakande (Agbado station) and Yemi Osinbajo (Kajola station).
Others are Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Papalanto station), Wole Soyinka (Abeokuta station), Segun Osoba (Olodo station), Ladoke Akintola (Omio-Adio station), Obafemi Awolowo (Ibadan station) and Alex Ekwueme (Operation Control Centre).
One of the criticisms I have seen of the gesture is from Pa E.K Clark who argued it was beneath some of the personalities.
While I will not argue with Papa [Clark] on that, I come from another angle from which I expected an intellectual giant like Professor Wole Soyinka to have rejected the gesture and give some lecture to these people on how to run public affairs with some depth.
The interest of commuters would have in the names of rail stations is where they are going and not the personalities who have contributed to the communities where the stations are located. Knowing the station is in Agbado helps me as a commuter to know where I am going than knowing the contribution of Jakande to Lagos. It makes more sense for a traveller to know he he has arrived at Apapa than knowing that the station is named after the man the city called Jagaban.
Those who can’t think through small issues like this can’t bring big ideas. Little wonder they are only misnaming rail stations they mostly didn’t build.
Such an exercise should be in aid of geography and not history and cheap honors.
We do wrong things with seeming good intentions often in this country often. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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