Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON, a recipient of several awards and honours, was born in 1927, in Erhuwaren town in Jeremi Clan in Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta state . His early child hood and upbringing was with his father in Kiagbodo town of Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State. His great grandfather Chief Bekederemo was the head of the Ogei family in Kiagbodo. He was a warrant chief. When he died, his grandfather Chief FuluduBekederemo took over leadership of the family. When Chief FuluduBekederemo joined his ancestors his first son Chief Clark took over the headship of the Bekederemo family. Chief Edwin Clark grew up in privileged home with pedigree along with his several very successful brothers, Amb .B. Clark, CON; Prof. J. P. Clark and others.
His early exposure to school and learning enabled him to develop the passion for education. He did so well in school that he was employed as a teacher as soon as he completed his primary education. He taught in several towns in the present Niger Delta Area and endeared himself to the communities and pupils alike through his disciplined life and hard work. Edwin Clark was never self-serving the common good of the various communities. Both students and fellow teachers testify that Edwin Clark epitomizes poise, dignity, knowledge, integrity, serious-mindedness and was a role model.
Teaching and learning go together .By dint of hard work, Edwin Clark was able to scale through his General of Education (G.C.E) at the ordinary and advanced levels. He left for London to pursue a degree course in Law in 1961. He successfully completed his course in 1965 and after three months training at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, he was called to the Nigeria Bar in 1965.
E.K Clark had a very successful and Lucrative law practice in Warri, Delta state where he endeared himself to this people by being always there for them on the numerous and challenging cases in Warri to fight age-long oppression ,domination and inequitable sharing of the common patrimony in a heterogeneous society. He saw clearly from the situation in Warri how majority ethnic groups were under political, economic and social yoke of the majority. He felt the discrimination against the minorities in Nigeria. As a result of the experience in Warri , he began to understand the strong desire for emancipation incubating in the hearts of the minorities of Nigerians through his advocacy as a senator and at various Constitutional Conferences where he always sought equity, justice and level playing ground for all.
E.K Clark ‘Clarks pedigree, nurture training as a lawyer soon led to his popularity as a man of the people who stands for the rights of the people and opposes man ‘s inhumanity to man. He strongly feels that Nigeria should be a country where no man is oppressed and where equity, justice, and fair play, political and economic equity prevail. It is this straight forward and out spoken character that led to his recognition and appointments by the governments of the day. He was appointed commissioner for Education and later Commissioner for Finance (Mid-West/Bendel State); and later appointed Commissioner for information at the Federal level by General Yakubu Gowon,
E.K. Clark was the moving spirit and one Man-Council of Mid-West Institute of Technology (MIT) which the Gen. Ogbemudia administration established; first Pro- Chancellor and Chairman of Council when it was transformed to the University of Benin. Giving his love for technological education, he had intended that the University of Benin would be a core technology based university. This was not to be realized soon after his departure as the Pro-Chancellor as he would often say; while they (the founders) HAD THEIR SAY, THE University Senate had their way. During his tenure as the commissioner for Education, he ensured that educational facilities were extended to the nooks and crannies of the state. He ensured teachers got their salaries as at when due as the welfare of teachers was given prominent consideration. He also ensured that scholarship was provided for students and did everything possible to secure admission for students. As a nation builder, Edwin Clark used his office as a commissioner of Education to encourage cooperation and collaboration with other governments across the country. This resulted in teachers exchange programme with the Eastern States soon after the civil war as a core strategy of national reintegration and rehabilitation.
Edwin k. Clark has special passion for education. He sees good education as that which can really emancipate the mind of man. He believes that peace, truth and happiness can come without prejudices only to a properly educated person through nature and nurture. He sees clearly the powerful role education can play in national development and cohesion. He articulates the view that education is about empowerment and creativity; it is not limited to class , age, gender or certificate but encompasses character building, good sense of judgment, healthy living that helps people to choose to live right and shun vices. He has the vision of giving education that is not limited to certificate.
E.K Clark has the vision of providing leaning space for the teeming youth population in overcrowded state and Federal Universities. Every year over one million five hundred youths seek entry into Nigeria Universities that have over space for only three hundred and fifty thousand students. The establishment of the proposed Edwin Clark University will provide further, the opportunity for a number of those students who could not secure admission to fulfil their ambitions of earning a tertiary education.
At the Edwin Clark University, students will be monitored to ensure discipline, students will be provided access to vocational skills, and enable to become entrepreneurs. Nigeria is endowed with abundant natural resources and brilliant human capital yet the paradox is that there is widespread poverty due to misused resources and untapped potentials. Information Communication Technology (ICT) will be deployed in the University to optimize quality. The Edwin Clark University would facilitate educational evolution that would produce graduates that would epitomize poise, dignity, knowledge and integrity; graduates that would be role models, have edifying conducts in the community and shape public policy.