Sunday, October 17, 2021

INC decries alleged marginalisation of Ijaw

Apan-Ijaw socio-cultural and political group, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has said the Ijaw ethnic nationality is unfairly treated in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

INC President Prof. Benjamin Okaba said it was high time the Ijaw stopped brooding and lamenting their situation.

He added that they should do the needful to take their pride of place in the country.

These positions were contained in an address he presented in Yenagoa during the sixth memorial anniversary of former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

Okaba said the Ijaw must move from their hitherto docile position, rise up and begin to engage, not only the Nigerian nation but other stakeholders in the Nigerian project, to enhance their position.

He said their degraded and heavily polluted environment was a huge challenge because oil exploration and exploitation activities were depriving the Ijaw of their means of livelihood.

Okaba urged the Ijaw to leverage the power of unity and called on the people not to allow forces in the country to divide them.

He said:  “We (the Ijaw) must unite and rally round to support the governor of Bayelsa, INC and everything about the Ijaw struggle.

This is not the time to be divided. We must speak in one voice because there is power in unity. If we are united, we can move mountains.

“We are no longer comfortable as the fourth largest ethnic nationality with the way we are being treated in Nigeria. It is high time we stopped brooding and lamenting our situation. We must move from our hitherto docile position, rise up and begin to engage, not only the Nigerian nation, but other stakeholders in the Nigerian project in order to enhance our position.”

He urged the Ijaw to take exercises such as the national census and voter registration very seriously because politics is a matter of numbers.

Said he: “As former president of France, the late Charles de Gaulle, said, ‘politics is too serious a business to be left in the hands of politicians alone’.

“All hands must be on deck. I hereby call on Ijaw sons and daughters, home and abroad, above 45 years to register and join the INC.

“The current National Executive Council of the INC that I am privileged to lead is on course to deliver on our mandate to achieve justice, freedom and prosperity for our people.”

Speaking about the ideals of Alamieyeseigha, the INC boss said the late governor at his peak became so prominent in state, regional and national politics because of his unwavering stance on equity, fairness, resource control and other Niger Delta issues and concerns.

He said: “Alamieyeseigha became the irrepressible voice and converging point of the Ijaw nation, home and abroad with his lion heart to confront the Niger Delta issues.

“By so doing, he earned himself the title of Governor General of the Ijaw Nation.”

 

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