…Tells Ijaw affairs commissioner in Bayelsa not to dare manipulate the process
By Binebai Princewill
The Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) on Saturday called for the immediate completion of the inclusive elections of the Ijaw National Congress (INC).
This was contained in a statement issued to newsmen in Warri yesterday, signed by Comrade Ozobo Austin, National president, Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers.
The IPDI president, Ozobo had particularly warned the Ijaw affairs commissioner in Bayelsa State to keep clear from any move geard towards manipulating the process, stressing that the already existing Electoral Committee should be empowered and allowed to do their work as an unbiased umpire to conduct elections to fill the remaining positions of the INC.
The statement reads in full below below:
JANUARY 9, 2021
IPDI CALLS FOR COMPLETION OF INC INCONCLUSIVE ELECTIONS- WARNS IJAW AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER AGAINST MANIPULATION
Our attention has been drawn to the pointless delay in completing the inconclusive INC elections held in 2018. It is our call that His Excellency Sen. Douye Diri should respond timely and positively to this call and ensure that the INC election is concluded without further delay. Every day the election is not conducted the destiny of Ijaw Nation is stagnated. It is worrisome that Ijaw nation is in disarray. The leaders are confused, elders are wondering and youth are locking horns in division, because the head is sick.
The delay in completing the INC disrupted election shows that truth has been murdered and buried in Ijaw nation. Ijaw nation cannot be seen as a banana republic. It is shameful! Ijaw leadership must do the needful. INC must be resuscitated to provide leadership for Ijaw nation.
Again, information reaching us reveals that some persons from the previous administration of Bayelsa State have started plotting to manipulate the electoral process, directing the new Commissioner of Ijaw affairs, Bayelsa State to unilaterally dissolve the existing ELECO and other organs in INC without the mandate of CITRE and reappoint preferred elements as members of ELECO and other organs that matter. This position, if true, is capable of fanning discord in the electoral process of the unconcluded INC election. All to ensure an easy ride for their preferred candidate again.
Meanwhile, Ijaw nation had not said new Steering Committee and ELECO should be appointed. We still have confidence in those committees and until Ijaw nation decide in one voice to replace those bodies it will be a sick joke to unilaterally dissolve the existing ELECO and other adhoc organs in the Ijaw Apex body.
It will be recalled that there was a strong attempt to impose leadership on INC by the Seriake Dickson led government of restoration. We stood on our feets to dislodge Seriake Dickson’s conspiracy theory. We will not accept any attempt to manipulate the electoral process by anybody. Both members of the Steering Committee and ELECO were nominated to represent the various zones recognised by the constitution of Ijaw National Congress. So far the zones in question have not found their members wanting. The Commissioner of Ijaw affairs should ask about IPDI and learn from the errors of the previous administration on INC issues.
However, we admonish every litigant in INC to sheath sword. Let us bury some personal interests to rejuvenate INC for the general good of Ijaw nation as the need to conclude the INC inconclusive election cannot be overemphasized. We also advice that the existing ELECO be funded and let it do its job uninterrupted.
A nation without a head has lost its bearing. At this critical hour of our existence in Nigeria, we cannot move forward when we lack leadership. Our neighbours are taking advantage of our weak system and many things have gone bad because of our pursuit of politics of self-centeredness.
IPDI as a group will not be a party to any attempt to manipulate the electoral process. The INC matters are not only Bayelsa state issues. They spread across the six states in Nigeria Ijaws are located geographically and politically. The Commissioner Ijaw affairs should not create problem when and where there is none. He should know that the entire Ijaws from, Delta, Ondo, Edo, Rivers, Lagos, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Cross river etc are interested in it. We will not hesitate to call for his sack and rubbish him in court if he does not stop the ongoing conspiracy theory to manipulate the electoral process.
We urge the governor of Bayelsa state, Chief host to the INC, to preside over the electoral process by himself as we have started losing confidence in his Ijaw affairs Commissioner.
It is our candid advice that he (Douye) should call for INC stakeholders meeting and seek the opinion of the concerned stakeholders to determine the way forward as to conduct free, fair and credible supplementary (unconcluded) INC election in no distance time.
Comrade Ozobo Austin
National president, Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI.