As the agitation for restructuring resonates and 2019 general elections near, top Ijaw politicians, traditional rulers and leaders of thought have called on the Ijaw nation not to vote for any candidate who opposes the restructuring of the country.
The Ijaws who converged at the Kiagbodo country home of the Ijaw National leader, Chief Edwin Clark to take a definite position on the raging call to restructure the country had in attendance the governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson; deputy governor of Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro; former minister of aviation, Alabo Graham Douglas; former minister of police affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo; national assembly members and traditional rulers, among others.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Dickson said the leaders took a critical look at the issue of restructuring and resolved that it was a matter of survival to the Ijaw people.
He said the meeting resolved that Ijaw people “who are the most affected” by the current situation in the country would only vote candidates with genuine and demonstrable support for restructuring, irrespective of political party.
“The next election is going to be a referendum on restructuring because it affects the well being and survival of our people. We will support the candidates who are genuinely committed to restructuring,” he said.
The governor also said the meeting had set up a high -powered committee on the issue of restructuring and the report of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring and urged the Buhari-led government to commence a process of legislation to implement the committee’s report before 2019 as a test of sincerity.
The committee which has five representatives each from the three zones to which the Ijaw nation is divided – the West, the Central and the East -has three weeks to submit its reports.
“Leaders of Thought òf the Ijaw Nation held an emergency meeting at the country home of Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Kiagbodo. We have discussed a lot of issues ranging from the need for peace and stability in the Ijaw communities, the Niger Delta and the Nigerian Federation.
“We have also examined the subject matter of restructuring. People shouldn’t play politics with the issue of restructuring. It is about the survival and well being of our people, it is about the stability of Nigeria. It is far more beyond politics; the Ijaws are passionate about it.
“We commend all Nigerians from wherever they come from who are in support of his issue of restructuring.”
“Concerning the recommendations of the APC committee, we call for sincere commitment; we call on the President to lead the charge to restructure the country which will lead to an equitable just and fair Nigeria.
“A high powered committee had been set up on this issue of restructuring, the APC report and other matters,” said Ijaw leaders in a press statement jointly signed by Chief Broderick Bozimo, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas, and Chairman Bayelsa Elders Forum, Chief Francis Doukpola.
Clark who also spoke shortly after the well attended meeting stressed that restructuring was beyond politicking.
He insisted that any Presidential candidate who was opposed to restructuring would face rejection in Ijaw land during the election.
Others at the meeting were Ogunkoru, Chief Pius Sinebe, Chief Wellington Okrika, Dan Ekpebide, Chief P. Y. Baipara, Joel Bisina, Chief David Pere, Chief Robinson Ogunkoru, Pastor Imeleye Emmanuel, the IYC President, Rowland Pereotubo, Bishop Godwin Soroaye, Graham Douglas, Prof Dagogo Fubara, Nimi Briggs, Steve Azaiki, Chief Francis Doupkolagha, Chief T. K. Okorotie, Justice Francis Tabai, among others.