An Ijaw Elders Group from the central zone in Bayelsa says it is working to end factions in two umbrella groups the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Ijaw National Congress (INC).
The Elders under the auspices of Ijaw Elders Consultative Forum pledged to unify Ijaws to collaborate to overcome the unique development challenges faced by the predominantly coastal dwellers.
Chairman of the group Chef T. K. Ogoriba who spoke to newsmen at the weekend in Yenagoa noted that disunity among the Ijaw youths and elders had often retarded the progress in the quest for improved life for the Ijaws.
He said that the elders were already working on mobilizing stakeholders to have an acceptable and rancor free elections into the IYC and will afterwards do the same for the INC and revive the body from its comatose state,
Ogoriba who traced the history of the struggle for identity and recognition for the Ijaw ethnic nationality to the formative years of INC and IYC noted that the pioneering efforts of the founding fathers were finally yielding fruits.
He explained that the emergence of Senator Douye Diri, a pioneer National Organizing Secretary of INC on Jan. 12, 1995 as Bayelsa governor was a well deserved reward for the Ijaw struggle.
“We have come a long way from advocacy for a place for the Ijaws with the Bayelsa Forum, INC, MOSIEND and other youth organizations, culminating in the creation of Bayelsa State.
“And today we have one of us who was in the struggle for creation of Bayelsa state as governor with executive powers and we have no doubt about his ability to turn things around.
““He knows what the problems are and has the capacity to solve them so he needs no further propping to be on the positive side of history.
“This is the time we want all and sundry to come together in solidarity and support this new administration and give it the benefit of the doubt and already the first steps are encouraging.
“At the 2020 Isaac Boro day memorial, the governor announced that the welfare of surviving contemporaries of Isaac Boro has been resuscitated and that raised their morale and hope of the people on the new government,” Ogoriba said.
Ogoriba said that the Governor further stated that this is the time for all Ijaws to come together to resuscitate the INC to work in synergy with the IYC to bring about stability in Ijaw land.
The Ijaw leader however observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had dealt a blow on the administration’s plan to hit the ground running and made it extremely difficult to embark on development projects.
He noted that the global lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the oil prices leading to a nosedive of oil revenue accruable to the Bayelsa government.
Ogoriba noted that in view of increased wage bill and dwindling revenue accruable to the state, the state government was experiencing hard times and appealed to the people to be patient with the Diri administration.
He noted that the elders were encouraged by the call by Gov Diri on Ijaws to shun divisive tendencies and show love towards each other to achieve Ijaw cohesion.
He said that the interest shown by governor of Bayelsa on the Ijaw affairs will reshape and reposition the Ijaws in their quest for the development of the Niger Delta region.
It would be recalled that Gov Diri who took the oath of office on Feb. 14, 2020 has spent his first 100 days in office.