Pan-Ijaw group, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has complained, saying the Ijaw ethnic group is unfairly treated in the polity.
It thus urged the Ijaw people to unite and rally round their leaders, elders and the congress in order to realise their agenda in the Nigerian project.
President, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, made the call in his address at the 6th memorial anniversary of former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
He stated, “We (Ijaws) must all unite and rally round to support the Governor of Bayelsa, the INC and everything about the Ijaw struggle.
“This is not the time to be divided. We must speak in one voice because there is power in unity. If we are united, we can move mountains.”
He particularly complained that “the Ijaw ethnic nationality was unfairly treated in the scheme of things in Nigeria”.
Okaba, said it was high time the Ijaw stopped brooding and lamenting their situation and do the needful to take their pride of place in the affairs of the country.
Okaba said the Ijaw people must move from their hitherto docile position, rise up and begin to engage, not only the Nigerian nation, but other stakeholders in the Nigerian project in order to enhance their position.
He said their degraded and heavily polluted environment was a huge challenge because oil exploration and exploitation activities were depriving the Ijaw people of their means of livelihood.
He stated, “We are no longer comfortable as the fourth largest ethnic nationality with the way we are being treated in the Nigerian nation. It is high time we stopped brooding and lamenting our situation. We must move from our hitherto docile position, rise up and begin to engage, not only the Nigerian nation but other stakeholders in the Nigerian project in order to enhance our position.”
He urged the Ijaw to take exercises such as the national census and voters registration very seriously because politics is a matter of numbers.
He added: “As former President of France, the late Charles de Gaulle said, ‘Politics is too serious a business to be left in the hands of politicians alone’.
All hands must be on deck. I hereby call on Ijaw sons and daughters, home and abroad, above 45 years to register and join the INC.
“The current National Executive Council of the INC that I am priviledged to lead, is on course to deliver on our mandate to achieve justice, freedom and prosperity for our people.”
Speaking about the ideals of Alamieyeseigha, the INC boss said the late governor at his peak became so prominent in state, regional and national politics because of his unwavering stance on equity, fairness, resource control and other Niger Delta issues and concerns.
He said: “Alamieyeseigha became the irrepressible voice and converging point of the Ijaw nation, home and abroad with his lion heart to confront the Niger Delta issues.
“By so doing, he earned himself the title of Governor-General of the Ijaw nation.”