Keynote Address for the


(Introduction: Chief Edwin Clark is one of Nigeria’s foremost educational and political leaders. With decades of service under his belt, Chief Clark is launching a new technology focused university in his home state in Nigeria. In doing so he will build an enduring and sustained legacy – following the motto, “strong minds, break strong chains.”

At this dedication ceremony held in Abuja, Nigeria, to launch the university, Rev. Jackson was invited to keynote the event, owing to his decades of work (dating back to 1971 and continuing on through the years with Nigerian heads of state and political leaders) - building African American-Africa solidarity, and contributing to the anti-apartheid and anti-colonial movements on the continent. Rev. Jackson has forged a relationship with Chief Clark upon his recent visits to Nigeria this past year for the Isaac Boro Commemoration in Bayelsa State and participation in the national Democracy Day celebrations.

Chief Clark led a 30 person strong Nigerian delegation to the Rainbow PUSH Annual Convention in Chicago in July of this year.

Below are Rev. Jackson’s remarks.)

I am honored and privileged to be invited to this auspicious event inaugurating the Edwin Clark University.

I want to thank President Jonathan for your presence here this evening. Former General Gowon for chairing this prestigious event. The Honorable Senator Henshaw. Dr. Mrs. Clark, distinguished wife of Chief Clark and the members of the Clark family. All Governors, members of the Cabinet, Diplomats and other distinguished guests. All protocols observed.

We are gathered here today in the great nation of Nigeria, driven by one man’s dream.One man’s life work, accepting the burden of trying to lift a nation by its ultimate wealth and strength, the minds of its people.

Strong minds break strong chains.


Home of the most Africans in the world. It is the home to the most talented people - 36,000 Nigerian doctors in America alone, countless engineers, lawyers and entrepreneurs.Nigeria is the source of so much of the world’s energy – from oil and water, to solar and wind – a vastly untapped agriculture.

These under utilized and untapped resources when used wisely can lift up the nation and its people to higher heights.

A nation of an awesomely endowed people.

1/8 of the human race is African; ¼ of them are Nigerian, with a wingspan that touches ½ of the African population. Nigeria in many ways is the center of the African universe, with so much meaning to the continent and the rest of the world.

I’ve been blessed to be a witness to Nigeria’s evolution as a strategic partner to Africa’s liberation over the past 50 years. Nigeria has always been central to the struggle of the frontline states for liberation.

Visiting here first in 1971 for the Africa-African American Dialogue, with my wife and family, Congressman Stokes, Percy Sutton, Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Bayard Rustin and Whitney Young, who died suddenly on this trip.

In apartheid South Africa in 1979, declaring human rights for all human beings.

In 1986, upon meeting Ambassador Joseph Garba in New York, we conceived an initiative to strengthen Nigeria’s relationship with the frontline states. Nigeria provided the plane for our delegation – under the guidance of Professor Akinyeme, we visited the 12 frontline states, and the ANC leadership in Zambia - Julius Nyerere at his home in Tanzania. KK in Zambia and Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Tambo in Zambia – all the while building solidarity and links between the African continent and African Americans – solidifying Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against apartheid and colonialism

The links between Nigeria and the frontline states are inseparable, forged through decades of fighting for freedom and independence. It’s part of Nigeria’s destiny – it’s higher contribution to the global struggle.

The links between Nigeria and the frontline states are inseparable, forged through decades of fighting for freedom and independence. It’s part of Nigeria’s destiny – it’s higher contribution to the global struggle.

Today one of Nigeria’s native sons sprinkles sun rays of new possibilities for the future, with the establishment of this institution.

In the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan, a young man of unusual strength of character, guiding and challenging this complicated democracy to higher heights.

Across the continent and around the world these are turbulent times. Evil, greed and violence and abundant poverty. Yet some how, against tremendous odds, Nigeria continues to grow with stability at home, and serving as peacekeepers abroad.

The unfinished business of completing this great task – of making this great nation greater – is on the shoulders of and lies in the grasp of President Jonathan. He is due much thanks.

In the U.S. we have just witnessed great political turbulence, as a section of Congress shut down the government and led the country on the brink of another economic collapse. We fought and won that battle, in due measure through the leadership of President of the U.S., himself a son of Africa, his father hailing from Kenya. Barack Obama, blessed with a vision of the world – seeing through a door and not through a key hole.

But through it all America is blessed to be a beacon of hope - with a young, vibrant president who has withstood storms and travails, guiding a great nation to fulfill its promise, is determined to make America and the world better.

What a great time to be alive. Let us pray for our President and his continued leadership.

Dr. Clark: a visionary. He sees around the corner, with the eyes of faith and the gift of vision. An unusually sharp mind and a heart of whose love is boundless. Who finds joy in watching others grow. Who finds it gratifying to sow seeds that will bring forth crops and fruits in the unknown future.

The fruits of education. The fruits of technology.


Few live long enough, well enough, and reflect upon their life’s scorecard, and be found worthy of an excellent grade and project into the future their will and testament to the people.

This school epitomizes Edwin Clark’s life’s testimony, his dream, his values, his patriotism, his gratitude to God.

He knows the power of a developed mind and the waste of a un-nurtured one.

He sees the power of science and technology – the world has been made smaller and richer as science, with its speed, dwarfs distance with its technological advances.

With modern technology, we have the power to end poverty as we know it; to provide drinkable water and nutritious food, access to medicine and health care for all – and wipe out the misery of poverty, ignorance and disease.

It makes all of us neighbors. There are no more foreigners. We are all neighbors inextricably bound and with a shared destiny and shared security.

Non-stop flights to Nigeria leave to the U.S., to the UK to Moscow.

We now have computers on our wrists that connect the world in real time. This will be the university of the future.

This university will create a legacy of service and sharing, and future thinking. How much more powerful it is to leave a legacy of education for generations unborn, than simply accumulating wealth and things, for wealth’s sake.

Literacy is the key to liberation. Keeping people illiterate is the oppressor ‘s weapon of control.

We often say the key to progress is unity. The Bible suggests the key is vision.

In a city where there is abounding blindness, the one-eyed person is king. Visionaries have a seeing power to lift nations. This institution – and the presence of its living founder – establishes the power of vision.

How does one want to be remembered when you reflect in the afternoon of life?

For some it is to be like Alexander the conqueror. For others it is to be among the elite and richest. For others it is to be a master of servants, who are made to be servile. For others it is to be a general of great armies.

But with this man it is simply to be an educator, humble in spirit, feeding nutrition for the mind.

Jesus taught in one of his parables – the grace of being a seed sower. The seed sower cannot control the outcome of the seed. He just knows the value of sowing and sharing, rather than accumulating and hoarding.

Some seeds hit the rock. They will not germinate. Some blow away in the wind.

But others germinate. They give birth to fruit and possibility.

Dr. Clark is a seed sower.

He is planting a future for this nation and this continent. He feeds and seeds the minds of the coming generations.

There is a Biblical story, the children of Israel got across the River Jordan. They had survived the miracle of the Red Sea crossing and now they met the turbulent River Jordan. They couldn't swim across. They had no engineering capacity to hold back the waters. Nor build a tunnel.

But God intervened and held back the waters.

They got across without mud on their shoes, and they celebrated.

But then they were told, go and bring from each tribe a big rock. Put it in the bed of the river.

One might ask what value will the rocks represent in the triumph of Israel?

It is because you who saw the miracle, who saw the intervention of God, are celebrating what you witnessed. But these rocks are a memorial because in time there will come those who are not here, who are beneficiaries of the miracle and they will ask, what of these stones?

Tell them that they might know, the mighty works of god. If you do not tell them, they will not know and will ascribe their blessings to the false gods and reasons other than the truth, and make the real God angry. Tell them Chief Clark loved them before they knew to love themselves.

Tell them this institution was not made by the hands of man, but by the grace of God.

Tell them when it’s dark, hold on until the morning comes.

Tell them to keep dreaming beyond their circumstances. Tell them to dream beyond their predicament.

Tell them that when we are on the brink of war, we must choose peace. Tell them that we must choose negotiations with our minds, over confrontation with our weapons.

Tell them there is more power in humility, than arrogance and pride.

Tell them to embrace Love, over indifference and hate. Tell them there is too much hate and fear, and war in the world, that we must overcome.

Tell them that we must overcome the extremes of the surplus for too few, and suffering for too many.

To remain morally centered.

So in order that we please God, let this University be a monument, let it be a miracle. Let us remember its origin, its purpose, and its mission. Let them know its founder.

He chose those for the future he did not know what they would inherit such a righteous vision.

The songwriter says, if you give the best of your service, doing your best he will say, well done. So today we dedicate school, we thank a visionary.

In our anthems we say rather routinely God Bless Nigeria – by our good works, we can do more than ask more than our God to bless us yet again. We can bless God, by how we treat the least of these, how we lift up the downtrodden, by how we free those whose backs are against the wall. We can make Heaven happy by how we treat children in the dawn of life, by how we treat the poor in the pit of life. By how we treat seniors in the sunset of life.

The honor belongs to Edwin Clark, the glory belongs to God.