Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What Dickson, Ijaw leaders discussed in close-door meeting

Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has called on all Ijaws to support the ongoing reconciliation efforts to strengthen the Ijaw National Congress and the Ijaw Youth Council.

Dickson stressed that both organizations were critical to the effective coordination of the people’s struggle against emergent challenges in the national space.

He spoke at a consultative meeting with Ijaw leaders and elders in the Eastern Zone of the Ijaw Nation comprising Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

A former Minister, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, hosted the meeting.

He said, “Our leader (Douglas) raised the issue of the Ijaw National Congress which is also one of the main reasons I am here. We cannot afford a divided and fragmented INC; we cannot afford a fragmented IYC. “

“These are essential organs of the Ijaw struggle and movement. Just as I raised these issues while consulting with Pa Edwin Clark, I am here to consult with you on the way forward.”

On the issue of restructuring, Dickson said that the ijaws were united in the demand for a restructured Nigerian Federation that would guarantee economic justice and freedom.

He said that the Ijaw ethnic nationality was strongly desirous of a Nigerian system where they would be availed the right to organize themselves to benefit from the natural resources found in their soil.

“I want to talk on restructuring because we all know where the Ijaw Nation stand on that issue.

“Our position is to fight for a restructured, just, equitable, egalitarian democratic Nigeria, where all of us have the respect that we rightly deserve and our people have the necessary freedom to organize ourselves and to benefit from the endowments that nature has put in our soil.

“We are all united about this and there is no argument about it in the entire Ijaw Nation, and to advance these things, we need to be on one page.

“So again, I call for unity, forgiveness, and I call on all of us to support a reorganized, virile and cohesive Ijaw Nation.”

The Governor commended Ijaw people for peace in their communities and urged them to continue to give the necessary support to their governors and indeed all levels of leadership in their respective states.

The well-attended meeting, however, agreed to establish a think tank on modalities for mobilization and for restructuring.

The team is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating developmental efforts in business politics, economic and socio-cultural endeavours.

In his remarks, Graham-Douglas, lamented that the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, had failed in its statutory duty to uplift the development of the impoverished oil bearing communities of the region.

According to him, the NDDC contrary to the law and expectations had focused development activities on the state capitals to the exclusion of the oil producing areas.

At the meeting were ex-Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Sir Gabriel Toby, KHM Dr Kroma Eleki, former President of the INC, Barr. Boma Obuoforibo, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Konbowei Benson, retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Amb. Godknows Igali, AVM Larry Koinyan (Retd).

Others were the Dappa Amakiri of Opobo, HRM Prof. D.M.J Fubara, Chairman PDP Bayelsa State, Mr Moses Cleopas, Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, Barr Kemela Okpara, Prof. Mrs, Mildred Amakiri, Professor Steve Azaiki, the Pro Chancellor òf the Niger Delta University.

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