ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The apex Ijaw socio-cultural organisation, the Ijaw National Congress (INC), has urged the parties and political actors to shun political thuggery and ensure a peaceful environment as the build-up to the forthcoming general polls gathers momentum.
The President, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, gave the advice in an interview with journalists at the Bayelsa International Airport shortly on his arrival from an assignment in Abuja at the weekend.
Okaba, in strong terms cautioned politicians and their supporters against the use of Ijaw communities as battlefields in their quest to realise their political ambitions.
He noted that Ijaw communities and Ijaw people had been victims of political mayhem unleashed on them in the past by desperate politicians seeking elective office.
Okaba insisted that enough was enough of shedding of blood in Ijaw land by politicians who throw decency to the wind and swim in the blood of Ijaw people to electoral victory.
He added that the INC as the apex Ijaw socio-cultural organisation would continue to maintain its apolitical status and remain committed to its advocacy for self-determination, equity, justice and fairness for the Ijaw people in the hegemonic Nigerian state.
He also congratulated Ijaw governorship, House of Representatives and Senatorial aspirants who emerged as candidates in the primaries conducted by their political parties across the Niger Delta region for the 2023 general polls.
Okaba particularly expressed delight over the emergence of riverine governorship candidates for the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord Party, among others, in Rivers State.
He lauded the parties, political leaders and the good people and government of Rivers State for the significant choice of eminent Ijaw sons as the flagbearers of the political parties for next year’s general elections.
He also expressed confidence in the capacity and ability of the flagbearers to effectively govern the state if any of them is elected governor.
According to him, the process for their emergence was largely devoid of rancour and violence, which was hitherto the unfortunate scenario in previous years.
He thanked politicians who lost their election bids in the exercise for demonstrating the spirit of sportsmanship.