By Ndu Samuel, Asaba
Youths of Ijaw extraction under the auspices of All Progressives Congress Youths in Politics have called on Ijaw leaders to align themselves with APC led federal government to be able to attract development to the area.
The youths stated this while reacting to the criticisms in some quarters trailing the appointment of Col. Milland Dikio (rtd) as the new coordinator of the Presidential amnesty programme by president Muhammadu Buhari recently.
The youths are Napoleon Kenerekedi, Godstime Izoukumor, Prince Benafa, Arede Wurus, John Keme, Ebi Kasikoro, Henry Gobagha, Emuejevoke Godstime Esesiobe.
In a release titled “ A statement by Delta Ijaw APC chieftains on recent political development and the way way forward as obtained by the Liberator Newspapers on Saturday, the youth said appointments and other developmental will continue to elude the Ijaw’s of Delta State if they refuse to align with the APC like other regions have done.
They explained that their reaction was sequel to statements credited to popular Ijaw leader Chief Moses Bebenimibo wherein he opined that the appointment of Col. Dikio from Rivers State instead of an Ijaw man from Delta shows the President has dislike for the people.
They noted that Bebenimibo, in the statement expressed disappointment with minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylver over his inability to remind the president that the Ijaw’s in Delta State are yet to have a shut at the office .
The youths applauded the timely wisdom of the President in appointing Col. Dikio but urged him to be mindful of the pitfalls of his predecessors
“We furthermore, beseech Col. Dikio to run an open-door policy and entrench accountability and transparency in this very turbulent time of the programme and urge him to make reforms from how the Amnesty Programme has drifted away from its core aims and mission.”
They noted that as unexpected as the appointment of Col. Dikio may be, they are against anyone or group that would want to sow seed of discord among the Ijaws through comments and actions that are unbecoming.
The group asserted that the marginalization being suffered by the Ijaws in Delta State are “as a result of the negligence by Ijaw political leaders to pitch their tents with one political ideology (in this scenario with the PDP)- as well as the unguided and inflammatory remarks by some people such as the campaign of calumny to President Buhari and the APC as if they were enemies to the progress, stability, and development of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality. “
They added that “It was because of the uncultured statements by some people who claim to be a demagogue and the negligence of Ijaw political leaders to join the APC that is causing grave danger to the political affairs of Delta Ijaws.”
They however said ”If Delta Ijaw political leaders want juicy positions in the President Buhari Presidency they should be ready to play mainstream politics, which will leverage Delta Ijaws political woes.
“It is very unfortunate and worrisome for our political elites to have held us in political entanglement by drawing us backward because of their refusal to see the APC as a political party, which memberships are made up of all Nigerians and not foreigners.”
“This is even more worrisome considering the fact that their perpetual refusal to join APC mostly, when it is the ruling party has become a grave danger to themselves with regards to appointments and development of our areas and of course our people.”
“Sometime this year, a press briefing was made by the people of Gbaramatu Kingsom which was very powerful, timely, and enjoys the support of Ijaw people. But in some of the placards, shown in their press briefing in their demands they wrote “it’s the turn of Gbaramatu kingdom to produce the coordinator of PAP.” Actually, that made some persons to become very agitated and angry because it was expected that we collectively make a case for the coordinator to first come to Delta State before talking of where it should go to in Delta.
“In the said publication by Chief Bebenimobo, he stated that Delta Ijaws are very angry with Sylva in failing to tell President Buhari the right thing to do as regards the appointment of the PAP coordinator and where it should come from this time.”
“Yes, Sylva is an Ijaw man working with the federal government as a minister who is close to Mr. President and as well in the right position to intimate him of what to do. But have we asked ourselves if the man has influenced appointments to all his supporters from his primary state Bayelsa? Why do we think he will channel that energy to fight for a Delta man without satisfying his followers and supporters from Bayelsa State?
“Since the Delta Ijaw political elites have all decided to see APC as a political party owned by foreigners, whereby, they see no reason to join it, this is how we will keep on putting our hopes and trust in people from other States to take our issues to Mr. President.”
“If the Sylva we’re blaming today also see APC the way our political leaders in Delta State are seeing it, could we have seen him as somebody that can assist us in discussing our issues with Mr.President?
“As a group we will not blame Sylva for failing to intimate Mr. President of what to do, rather our leaders and elites like him in Delta State are to be blamed for refusing to join APC so that our issues can get to Mr. President directly. You can’t claim to be APC in Abuja and PDP in Delta. Who does that?
“Delta Ijaws should see the APC the way we see PDP, Obasanjo and Atiku were the first to benefit from the PDP nationally but had once left it, what about Bukola Saraki, Dogara, etc.”
“The likes of Elder Orubebe, Braduce, and other prominent Ijaw leaders should swiftly make a good decision to join the APC so that our reliance to discuss our issues with Mr. President should not be in the hands of people from outside our State. Nobody is speaking for the Delta Ijaw people in Abuja, Delta Ijaw people should not own PDP more than the founders.”
“The Urhobos, Delta Ibos, Isokos and Itsekiris are making their ways in APC except the Ijaws. Delta Northerners that are supposed to distance themselves from APC in the state because they have the governor, still are the ones massively supporting the party and having appointments everyday. They have CBN governor, Cairo in NDDC, Ochei in NIMSSa, and others.
“We beg our Ijaw brothers and ex-agitators in Delta to sheath their sword and abort any plan to protest, let’s look inward on how to strengthen the Delta Ijaw participation in APC in other for we not to experience this political rejection in the future. We need a massive leadership defection to APC, which will help us as people to directly channel our issues to the presidency. Only Sylva alone cannot do it, he has his own challenges in his state to attend to. This thing that happened should be a wake-up call to all our political elites in Delta State. They added.