The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has made a case for the riverine parts of Rivers state especially the Ijaws to produce the governor of Rivers state in 2019.
The President of the IYC, Eric Omare, made the call during the inauguration of the Eastern Zonal Executive Council of the IYC under the chairmanship of Ibim Ibiwari from Nkoro clan of Rivers state.
The Eastern Zone of IYC comprises Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. The IYC leader charged the newly elected IYC of the Eastern zonal executive council to set up structures to go round all Ijaw communities in Rivers state to sensitize them on the need to support Ijaw as Rivers State governor in 2019.
Omare further said that the Rivers Ijaw governor agenda cannot be achieved without the support of other ethnic nationalities hence, he called on the Ibiwari led eastern zonal executive council to reach out to other ethnic nationalities youth leaders such as the Ogoni, Ikwerre, Etche and others to seek their support in the interest of equity and fairness.
On the menace of Fulani herdsmen, the IYC President stated that the IYC would soon set up a rapid response team to respond to event of attack on any Ijaw community by Fulani herdsmen.
Omare stated that the Ijaw people and other Niger Delta communities needed to take proactive steps to avoid a repeat of Fulani herdsmen attacks in Benue, Plateau, Enugu and some other parts of the country.
“The Ijaw people would not attack visitors in their communities including Fulani herdsmen but if Ijaw people and communities are attacked, we would have no option than to retaliate,” Omare said.
The IYC leader also called on the Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to as a matter of urgency start the process of rebuilding Amazama federated communities that were razed down by their Ibibio neighbours.
The IYC noted with sadness that more than five months after it drew the attention of the Akwa Ibom state government to the likely inter-ethnic crisis between the Ijaw people and the Ibibios in Akwa Ibom state as a result of the attacks and burning down of Ijaw communities in Akwa Ibom state, the state government has not done anything about the situation and thereby subjecting the Amazama people to untold hardship.
The IYC President said that the people are running out of patience and may be forced to take their destiny into their hands if the Akwa Ibom state government fails to address the issue.
Omare also charged the newly inaugurated IYC executive council to take up the issue of resettlement of Amazam federated communities as part of its priority.
On youths and companies relationship, the IYC President urged Ijaw youths to adopt dialogue rather than violence as a means of expressing their grievances.
He said that the constant threats and ultimatum to close than company operations in the Niger Delta region is making investors to move to other parts of the country at the detriment of the region’s economy.
However, the IYC leader blamed the insensitive treatment of Niger Delta communities and people by companies over the years as being responsible for the violent approach of some youths, but advised against it.
Omare called on companies operating in the Niger Delta region to make the communities key stakeholders in their operations to achieve sustainable peace.