Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has challenged the leadership of the pan-Ijaw youth group, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to achieve meaningful dialogue with the Federal Government in its efforts to redress years of neglect and underdevelopment of the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta.
Diri, who gave the charge on Friday in Yenagoa during a meeting with members of the Central Zone of the IYC, stressed that they should jettison militancy to pursue the legitimate demands of the people.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, noted that the governors and people of the Niger Delta were at the stage of asking the Federal Government to implement true federalism, where states would control their resources and pay taxes to the centre.
He said, “We are in a federation where resources from one region are taken to Abuja on a monthly basis to be shared with places that have created more local governments for themselves. And these resources are shared according to local governments. The Federal Government also controls 87 per cent of the resources.”
Diri also made reference to the lopsidedness at the Niger Delta Development Commission with membership of the body cutting across board in the country and charged the IYC to focus their attention on such issues that have bedevilled the region.
He, however, expressed delight that the present crop of IYC leadership was evolving from the era of deploying militancy and violent means to adopting meaningful engagement to make its voice heard.
He decried the situation whereby Bayelsans, particularly the youths were not in control of the local economy as the state is not engaged in any productive activity, and urged the IYC to change the narrative.
In his speech, Chairman of the IYC Central Zone, Comrade Clever Inodu, said the youth body was working hard to bring about unity, towards achieving peace and development for the people.