…Accuses Okowa of playing sentimental politics, presents other issues, draws next line of action
By Binebai Princewill
Ijaws from different parts of Delta State, Civil society organisations, other women and youth groups have on Friday joined in what they described as a solidarity protest stormed ancient Burutu community, headquarters of the Local Government Area to demand for the immediate upgrade of the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu to a full-fledged university as proposed by Governor Okowa in the case of Ozoro Polytechnic, Anwai campus and College of Education, Agbor. The Liberator Newspapers can report.
The massive protest which was led by Chairman of Burutu community, civil society organisations with other youth and women groups converged around the Ikoyi axis of Burutu where the peaceful protest commenced with a peace walk and solidarity songs.
The angry Ijaw protesters walked from the Ikoyi axis to the permanent site of the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu where the Chairman of Burutu community and the different leaders of other groups briefed the media on the essence of the protest.
While presenting the communique on behalf of Burutu community and other well meaning Ijaws that had joined the protest, Comr. Ebipadeowei Stainless Pondy had accused the Delta State Governor, His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of playing sentimental politics in the state.
Comr. Pondy had called on the Governor to immediately reconsider the request of Ijaws to include the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu in his planned upgrade of colleges to universities, adding that DESOMATECH is the interest of the Ijaws, describing the development as appalling and unacceptable, stressing that they cannot continue to feed the state without having any commensurate development.
Some of the placards brandished by the angry Ijaw protesters who had won black and black as the dress code include “Enough is enough Governor Okowa, Upgrade the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu to a full-fledged university, Enough of the injustice meted out on the Ijaws, Governor Okowa has failed the Ijaw people woefully, we need light in Burutu, we need structures in the Marine School Permanent site, we don’t believe in mere approvals without execution, we call for the urgent completion of the Ayakoromo bridge, we want the urgent commencement of the Ogulagha/Odimodi road project, among other varying demands.”
However, Pondy while describing the situation of the Delta Ijaws, particularly the Burutu story asserted that “living is worse than death and death is better than living”, maintaining that there is nothing appealing and meaningful in the community despite hosting the local government and the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu.
Meanwhile, others who also addressed the media include Comr. Ebolo Samuel, Special Assistant to the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) President, Worldwide, Comr. Napoleon Kenerekedi, President general of Oborotu federated youth council, Comr. Keneware Emmanuel, representative of Delta Ijaw Comrade Community, Mrs Ojobosou Ebifemere, National council of women societies, Burutu Local Government Council, Comr. Thomson Phuludu Mienkebena, IYC Western Zone chairman of all Chairmen had all faulted Governor Okowa’s decision of upgrading schools in Delta without considering DESOMATECH which they described as Ijaw interest.
They described the Governor Okowa’s administration as inimical to the growth of Delta Ijaws, adding that if he fails to listen to the plea of the Ijaws with respect of the schools upgrade matter and other presenting demands of the Ijaws, the Governor should be ready for a showdown with them in Asaba, particularly Government house, emphasising that they can longer keep quiet in the face of glaring political subjugation tactically and meticulously plotted against the Ijaws of Delta State.
The communique reads in full below:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE JOINT DELIBERATIONS OF BURUTU COMMUNITY AND THE DELTA IJAW YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM ON THE STATE OF THE DELTA IJAWS IN THE DEVELOPMENTS IN DELTA STATE UNDER THE OKOWA-LED GOVERNMENT,HELD TODAY THE 12TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2021 AT BURUTU COMMUNITY, DELTA STATE
This communiqué is issued jointly by the Burutu Community in collaboration with the Delta Ijaw Youth Consultative forum after critical discussion and analysis of the developments in Delta State, as it affects Burutu Community and the Delta Ijaws at large under this political dispensation. We use this opportunity to commiserate with His Excellency, Sen Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on the loss of his father and pray God to console the family for the loss.
Standing as the third largest ethnic group in the state, Delta Ijaws and Burutu Local Government in particular, has contributed her fair share to the development of the State, but has not been given commensurate share in infrastructural distribution in the state.
Burutu town, the headquarters of Burutu Local Government Area, created since 1976, still stands as the only local government headquarters in Delta State not connected by road. This has been used severally as a ground for deprivation of the Delta Ijaw people, such that infrastructure, facilities and institutions effortlessly distributed to all other local government headquarters, often require wailing and weeping to be done in Burutu town.
A typical example is the construction of three stadia in the three senatorial districts sited in Burutu, Ughelli and Oghara. The two stadia in Oghara and Ughelli have since been completed and hosted various sporting activities, but the one in Burutu is and uncompleted and abandoned project inhabited by reptiles and wild animals.
The Bomadi bridge was constructed under His Excellency, Chief James Ibori, but several year on since then, Delta State Government refused tot link the many highly populated communities in that area of Burutu and Bpmadi Local governments by road, until it came under pressure while preparing for the last governorship election. In a similar disappointing manner, the Okowa administration has continued to make a mockery of Delta Ijaws with the Ayakoromor bridge. That project has become a campaign gimmick. It has become the practice for the government to release a few kobos now and then, when the calls are so persistent, to hoodwink the people. As we speak, no work is going on there.
Most devastating is the deliberate efforts by successive governments of Delta State to underdeveloped the Delta Ijaws educationally. A cursory assessment of distribution of educational institutions (state owned) in Delta State shows obvious lopsidedness against the Delta Ijaws. As at today, the only state owned tertiary institution in Delta Ijaw area is the Delta State School of Marine Technology which is not even looking like a standard secondary school, in terms of infrastructure, in addition to the destructive balkanization of the school to three campuses. Curiously, the Delta Ijaw area was not considered for any campus of the various tertiary institutions spread across the state. Since the establishment of the DESOMATECH, not a single structure has been built on the permanent site, which land was donated by Burutu Community.
In the face of this bare-ground state of DESOMATECH, the Delta State Government is upgrading three institutions in the State to full-fledged universities without adding DESOMATECH, the only State owned institution in the Delta Ijaw area. This is most unfair!
Delta State government is currently building technical/vocational colleges in all the local government areas in the state. The one for Burutu local government headquarters is ‘missing in transit’. Also, almost every other local government headquarters in Delta State has high court. Contract for the construction of High Court complex and Magistrate Court was awarded and build in Burutu. Till date, all efforts to get the high court and the magistrate court established and operational in Burutu have met brick wall.
Having considered the above and many more issues bedeviling Burutu Community and the Delta Ijaws, we hereby demand as follows:
That the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu be upgraded to University of Marine Technology.
That a campus of the proposed Delta State University of Technology, Ozoro be sited in Patani.
That work at the Ayakoromo bridge resume immediately and ensure its completion before the end of this tenure.
That the High Court and the magistrate Court in Burutu town be made to take off operations immediately by posting necessary staff to the courts.
That the Ogulagha-Odimodi road project be commenced immediately and completed with this tenure.
That the Technical/vocational college for Burutu be constructed and operated alongside with others in the state.
That the construction of the road from Tuomo to Ojobo to Ndoro be completed within this tenure.
That we refuse the second-class citizen treatment given to Delta Ijaws by the Delta State government and will henceforth resist it.
1.Comr. Stainless Ebipadeowei Pondy, Chairman of Burutu community
2 Comr. Ebolo Samuel, Special Assistant to the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide
3 Comr. Napoleon Kenerekedi, President general of Oborotu federated youth council
4 Comr. Keneware Emmanuel, representative of Delta Ijaw Comrade Community
5 Mrs Ojobosou Ebifemere, National council of women societies, Burutu Local Government Area
6 Comr. Thomson Phuludu Mienkebena, IYC Western Zone chairman of all Chairman
7 Comr. Clement Iyebo, secretary of Burutu Local Government youths for Good Governance