The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has tackled Governor Sheriff Oborevwori over an alleged strangulation and marginalization of Ijaws in Delta State.
In a press conference on Monday, IYC National Spokesman, Amb. Princewill Binebai lamented the poor treatment Ijaws have been dealt with by the current and previous administrations of the state.
The statement also addressed the lopsided appointments under Oborevwori were Ijaws remain suffocated till date.
The statement read in full;
1. In the spirit of the New Year, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide extend greetings to His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Governor of Delta State.
2. While the Ijaw Youth Council congratulates the Governor of Delta State on his victory at the Delta State Governorship election in 2023, as a council representing the interests of Ijaw people in Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Lagos, Abuja, and in the diaspora, we draw the Governor’s attention to the fact that the Ijaws in Delta State haven’t felt the impact of his Government during this few months into his tenure.
3. It is important to note that the Ijaw people in Delta State will rise against actions from the Delta State Government headed by Governor Oborevwori if the Government continue to undermine the collective growth of the Ijaw people. As the economic and political base of Delta State, the Ijaws deserve fair treatment in terms of development and reasonable political appointments.
4. The Ijaws in Delta State cannot solely be valued during elections and then neglected along with their communities afterward.This inimical and tyrannical political thinking must stop as the Ijaw people can no longer put up with this kind of predatory political manipulation. We are beginning to see that the Oborevwori’s Government is technically strangulating and suffocating the Ijaws politically in Delta State.
5. Delta is a multi-ethnic state, and any actions by the Governor, as the father of the state, must consider these ethnic indices. Failure to do so won’t be acceptable to the affected ethnic groups, as they are equally stakeholders in the state, especially the Ijaw people.
6. Despite lauding Governor Oborevwori for approving #78 Billion for road construction and three flyovers in Warri and its surroundings, the Ijaw Youth Council expresses disappointment that the Ijaw riverine communities and Kingdoms haven’t received substantial projects despite being the producers of the oil sustaining Delta State’s economy. The delay in projects like the Ayakoromo bridge is disheartening; practical actions and completion is urgently demanded. Enough is enough.
7. The Ijaws observe with concern the appointment of two commissioners in Warri North, both from the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, despite Warri North being dominated by the Ijaws of Egbema Kingdom and Itsekiris. This lopsided appointment, despite the Governor winning in all Ijaw Local Government Areas, is seen as an insult to the Ijaw people’s sensibilities.
8. Equality in commissioner appointments is demanded; therefore, Burutu, Patani, Bomadi, and Warri South West Local Government Councils should each have two commissioners, mirroring the allocation in Warri North. No ethnic group should be treated as inferior in Delta State. Burutu especially, already has one Federal Constituency and two State House of Assembly seats, this should be looked into as soon as possible.
9. Again, we bring to the attention of the Governor that if we have Warri Uvwie and Environs Special Area Development Agency and Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, The Ijaw people call for the establishment of the Coastal Area Development Agency (CADA) as an executive Bill to benefit from resources generated from their areas. They refuse to continue being marginalized.
10. Before our very eyes, three universities were established in Delta State for which no one was sited in Ijaw areas, while Polytechnics were upgraded to universities under former Governor Okowa, Efforts to establish universities in Delta State without any in Ijaw areas have been noted. Temporary placement of faculties from these new universities in oil rich Ogulagha Kingdom is urged as a form of temporal pacification until the future establishment of a university in Ogulagha Kingdom. The Delta State School of Marine Technology in Burutu requires urgent attention and declaration of a state of emergency for infrastructural development because of the deficit of neglect over the years till date.
11. The Ogulagha/Odimodi road project should commence now with immediate mobilization of the contractor to site as this project is so significant and is a major road linking Ogulagha and Odimodi Communities. The bad condition of the road has made it a death trap for our people that ply the road daily.
12. It is our humble suggestion that while Polytechnics in Delta State have been upgraded to Universities in Delta state, the ancient Bomadi Isena-ibe Teacher training college that has produced a lot of academic juganauts in our society today has further been reduced to a glorified secondary school. We are calling on the Governor to upgrade it to at least a Polytechnic for our people.
13. We are also informing the Governor of Delta State that we are aware that the Governor is making plans to buy vehicles to ease transportation in the urban areas of Delta State. While the IYC is lauding the idea, we are also informing our Governor that he should make arrangements to aquire ferry boats to ease transportation for our people living in the riverine communities who majorly bear the brunt of this fuel hike. We will not accept anything other than this.
14. The IYC has also keenly followed and monitored political appointments so far across the state, we want to State that while appointments has gone to some appreciable number of youths from other ethnic groups in the state, Ijaw youths who worked like others have not been recognized with such deserving appointments. This Government must not appear to be working against the progress of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the state. Massive appointments of Ijaw Youths into the Delta State Government must not be an excuse going forward.
15.The Ijaw Youth Council has monitored the activities of our Governor from May 29th 2023 till this very moment, we want to reiterate that we are yet to see any concrete achievement of the Governor since he took over the helms of affairs as Governor of Delta State apart from his mere pronouncements. We want to see physical manifestation of projects in all parts of the state.
16. The IYC remains apolitical but will consistently advocate for truth and mobilize for the defense of their people when necessary. We hope that the Governor will address these issues before they escalate to massive street protests against perceived ethnic biases in the state.
Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill
Spokesman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide