Top leaders of thought from the Ijaw ethnic nationality, on Tuesday, converged at Kiagbodo, the country home of Ijaw National leader, Chief Edwin Clark, to take a definite position on the raging call to restructure the country.
The meeting had in attendance the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, the Deputy Governor òf Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, former Minister of Aviation, Alabo Graham Douglas, former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo, National Assembly members, traditional rulers and others.
Briefing journalists shortly after the meeting which lasted four hours, Dickson said that the leaders took a critical look at the issue of restructuring and took further steps to reaffirm their position that restructuring was a matter of survival to the Ijaw people.
According to Dickson, 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.
Dickson said the next general election would be a referendum on restructuring across Ijaw land.
“The next election is going to be a referendum on restructuring because it affects the well being and survival of our people. We will be with candidates who are genuinely committed to this issue of restructuring.”
Dickson stated further that the leaders also commended the work of the All Progressives Congress Committee on Restructuring led by Governor Nasir El Rufai òf Kaduna State, which made far reaching recommendations on the burning issue of restructuring in the country.
The leaders called on the APC and indeed President Muhamnadu Buhari to show the requisite courage to ensure implementation of the committee’s report before 2019 as a test of their sincerity.
The governor said that the leaders urged Buhari to show statesmanship and the courage to commence a process of legislation to implement the party’s position on restructuring.
He said that the meeting also set up a high -powered committee on the issue of restructuring and the report of the APC Committee on Restructuring.
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.”
Clark stressed that restructuring was beyond politicking.
He insisted that any presidential candidate 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 PY 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, Pr. Steve azaiki, Chief Francis Doupkolagha, Chief TK Okorotie, Justice Francis Tabai , Prof. Dimie and others.
A statement was jointly signed after the meeting by Chief Broderick Bozimo, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas, Chairman, Bayelsa Elders Forum, Chief Francis Doukpola, former President òf the Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Dimie.