A renowned Niger Delta human rights activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has called on the Ijaws in Delta state to support the re-election of Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, with the condition that he will channel developmental attention to Ijaw communities, especially the long neglected oil producing host communities in the state.
In a statement made available to news men in Warri, Mulade, former chairman of oil rich Kokodiagene community in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West local government area, urged Governor Okowa to pay more attention to oil bearing host communities in the state particularly, Ijaw communities.
He said: “Neglect of Ijaw and Itsekiri oil producing riverine communities in the scheme of things especially infrastructural development will no longer be accepted. It is obvious this administration is only interested in the money from the crude oil to empower their political sycophants and develop other areas without putting the mass of the people from riverine communities into consideration.
“However, whenever it comes to developing the communities, the coastal nature of the terrain will be used as an excuse for neglecting the communities that feed the state is unacceptable. Ijaw, as the second largest and populated ethnic group in Delta state, can equally produce the next governor come 2019 for the interest of the development and growth of the suffering riverine people”, he added.
According to him: “I want to strongly call on Governor Okowa to kindly have an understanding with the riverine people if he sincerely needs the 2019 governorship because we deserve quality development that is commensurate with our over 90% huge contribution to the state and to protect our future.
“We have paid the price for the development of the state with our environment and communities yet nothing to show-for it. The goose that lays the golden egg is, indeed, suffering to give Delta state government the economic power it requires to remain relevant in the scheme of revenue allocation and the 13 percent derivation from federal government”.
The environmental activist implored Governor Okowa to sincerely appreciate the oil producing Delta communities that had sacrificed so much for the state, saying: “This could be done through development programmes like road construction, provision of health care facilities, potable drinking water and other necessities”.
He reiterated that Deltans have pressing needs that must be addressed, pointing out that the harsh economic climate being faced by the people in the midst of plenty is breeding insecurity, ritual killing in the name of ‘yahoo’ and other terrible social vices.
“Governor Okowa should show capacity by creating a business and industrial climate for practical job creation”, Mulade said.