The unity of Ijaw nation, development and other burning issues bedeviling the ethnic nationality where among the basic matters that tops the agenda as the Ijaw Youth Political Alliance presents its one day sensitization conference.
The Ijaw youth sensitization conference which took place at the Okuemi hotel yesterday on May 18th 2019 was tagged “Defining and promoting the Ijaw Agenda and development for the common good of Delta Ijaw and a greater Delta State”.
Faces at the programme
Priest Ellington Bakumor, convener of Ijaw Unity Sensitization Conference had described the Ijaws in the Nigerian state as endangered people, owing to its alleged oppressive tendencies.
However, Bakumor had in his welcome address lampooned leaders of Ijaw nation by under developing itself.
The welcome address read in part: “Welcome Address Presented by Comr. Bakumor Ellington the National Coordinator of Ijaw Youth Political Alliance (IYPA) on the Occasion of the Ijaw Youth Sensitization Conference 2019
“Last two Years,we started the Ijaw unity Sensitization mostly online on social media and it has since gained momentum. It is in the spirit to unite, Last year before the general Elections , the Ijaw Unity Sensitization Team and the Ijaw Youth political alliance took the initiative down to our towns and villages.
Barr. Frank Ekpemupolo
“Our follow up on the Sensitization work both online and on ground, yielded positive outcomes of generally peaceful elections in our areas.
“As we may all know, the Ijaw Unity Sensitization was born out of the dire need to awaken our people , the Ijaw people to a more socially, culturally and politically united front and to find a more United approach to answering the ijaw question and by extension the Niger delta question.
“The Ijaw issues of Political, social, economic, infrastructural marginalization by the Nigerian State cannot be overemphasized. As evident in the manner the country feeds on the bleeding Oil producing Niger delta and mostly aboriginal Ijaw territories, the Ijaws of the Niger delta has become one of the most oppressed and endangered people in the world.
“As if this is not enough, the Zamfara Gold example as added salt to injury. A case where the Gold in the Zamfara North belongs to the Zamfara people and the Oil in my backyard belongs to the whole Nigeria, should spark a worry to what extent we should suffer deprivation and second class citizenship in the Nigerian State.
“Furthermore, the Ijaws being the fourth largest ethnic Group in Nigeria, have continued to struggle relentless with very little beneficial outcomes in the political sphere. In saner clines, economic relevance meant political opportunity, but this is not the case of the Ijaws, despite all we contribute to the wealth of Nigeria.
“In addition, the Ijaw nation has also underdeveloped itself by restricting leadership and support to only a microscopic few and have left the vast majority of striving geniuses in all works and strata of our society. We need to begin to do more in this direction through mentorship.
“The Ijaw Unity Sensitization Conference has come to awaken Ijaws to the potentiality of being more than we are today socially, economically and politically, only if we are awake to our rights, duties and obligation in the Ijaw nation.
“It is against this back drop, that we gather here today to chart a way forward as a people united by a common agenda, for political emancipation that will ignite a focus for true development of our people.
“Therefore, we hope to achieve political consciousness that transcends party loyalty to the most important; Loyalty to the people and the Ijaw agenda.
“In essence, this is a clarion call to support candidates that are Ijaw’s by nationality or that are Pro- Ijaws in our respective political parties and divide.
“The premise for this call is not far fetched, not too long ago when the mental, political and economic slavery of the Niger delta was at the climax, it was the Ijaws that took the front seat as the first and front-liners to rise to the occasion of fighting for the collective good of the entire region.
“It was the Ijaw villages that were burnt, Ijaw Women , aged and children that were brutally murdered in the federal government genocidal attacks.
“From the sacrifices of our hero’s past and present Came the NDDC , Niger Delta ministry and the Amnesty office, which has in its own small measure benefitted the region.
“From time immemorial, the struggle for the emancipation of our region has been spearheaded by the Ijaws , from the Days of Chief Harold-Dappa Biriye to the Isaac Boro and now by the Tompolos, the Asaris, Atekes , and many more Ijaw more has painstakingly put all on the line, yet our dear Ijaw nation still roam in the darkness of political backwardness, that has in turn kept our towns and communities in perpetual underdevelopment.
“Our first Job here today is to awaken ourselves to the need for our collective Survival as a people , regardless of which political party we are affiliated to, our consciousness should be about , to put Ijaw First.
“Hence, we should often ask and evaluate ourselves , if our decision is right and if it will promote the general and collective good of our people.
“Secondly, I wish to state that the rate of disrespect for leaders and amongst us in Ijaw nation has grown to an all time high.
“We must as a matter of duty, acknowledge the effort and sacrifices of all those not within the bracket of our Contemporaries. Some of these leaders and persons slept in bushes and forests for years , most went to jail , they sacrificed a better part of their Youth awakening our collective consciousness to the oppression that we face as a people by the Nigerian Government and the international oil companies.
“But as protege and beneficiaries of their contribution to the struggle for emancipation, we embrace every opportunity to disrespect and insult them at the slightest provocation.
We now wash our dirty linens outside, this is not the way to Go, we may not agree with each other on pertinent issues and the how we can build a better Ijaw nation ,but we can register our displeasure without insults, we should and must honor our own.
“Hence the task of the Ijaw Unity Sensitization Campaign is to continue to awaken our people to what the Ijaw Agenda is and what it should be, which we will decide here today.
“Personally, Resource control , the eradication of poverty in Ijaw Nation , the beautification of our land (Towns and Villages ) and the restoration our traditional and cultural heritage as Ijaw people should be prioritize.
“I think the Ijaw agenda also goes further to mean there has to be more political inclusion for and by Ijaws as we deserve it.
“With Delta state in focus, the Ijaws have supported all the Governors from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP); two Urhobos, one itsekiri and one Anioma currently serving, and the candidacy of others in the other political Parties.
“On the basis of the above, it’s only natural that Ijaws are the next in Ethnic line , the zoning has robbed Ijaw’s of the opportunity to lead the state because of our nature of honoring gentleman agreement.
“We have in the past and even very recently given our massive votes and support to ensure victory countless times , We are ready and we know that it is turn of the Ijaws to produce the next Governor of delta state.
“By the zoning formula, we believe that the Governorship has rotated all the senatorial districts and can now officially start again. It should definitely start from the Ijaw extraction of the state. We are asking that we be given the chance and support, as we have given others to Govern delta state for the first time.
It is long overdue , Ijaws have paid their Dues .
“I want to also use this medium to thank everyone for honoring the invitation to join us brainstorm for a more united, prosperous and developed Ijaw nation.” The statement asserted.
The panelists for the programme include Rt. Hon. Joseph Asiaye Alubeze, leader Burutu legislative arm; Sir Alex Akemetubo, CEO Waffi Tv; Comr. Doubra Collins Okotete, IYC secretary Western Zone; Amb. Salaco Yerinmene Jnr, national coordinator Izanzan Intellectual Camp, IIA; Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill, Publisher/Editor-In-Chief, The Liberator Newspaper.
It was a conference that was well attended by people from Gbaramatu Kingdom, Egbema, Iduwini, Ogbe-Ijoh, Isaba, Diebiri, Ogulagha, Ngbilebiri, Ogbe-Ijoh, Apoi, Obotebe and other kingdoms too numerous to mention.