Ijaw lead­ers to re­ject pres­i­den­tial can­di­date op­posed to re­struc­tur­ing

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Julius Osa­hon, Ye­nagoa

IJAW lead­ers rose from a meet­ing at Ki­ag­bodo in Delta State yes­ter­day, threatening to re­ject any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date op­posed to re­struc­tur­ing of the coun­try.

The meet­ing had in at­ten­dance Gov­er­nor Se­ri­ake Dickson of Bayelsa State; Deputy Gov­er­nor of Delta State, Mr. Kings­ley Otu­aro; Ijaw na­tional leader, Chief Ed­win Clark; for­mer Min­is­ter of Avi­a­tion, Alabo Gra­ham Dou­glas; for­mer Min­is­ter of Po­lice Af­fairs, Chief Brod­er­ick Boz­imo; Na­tional Assem­bly mem­bers and tra­di­tional rulers, among others.

Dickson told jour­nal­ists after the meet­ing which lasted four hours, that the lead­ers took a crit­i­cal look at the is­sue of re­struc­tur­ing and re­solved that it was a mat­ter of sur­vival to the Ijaw peo­ple.

He said the meet­ing re­solved that Ijaw peo­ple “who are the most af­fected” by the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try would only vote can­di­dates with gen­uine and demon­stra­ble sup­port for re­struc­tur­ing, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal party.

In a state­ment by his Spe­cial Ad­viser on Me­dia Re­la­tions, Mr. Fidelis Sori­wei, the gov­er­nor said it was the po­si­tion of the meet­ing that the next gen­eral elec­tion would be a referendum on re­struc­tur­ing across Ijaw land.

“The next elec­tion is go­ing to be a referendum on re­struc­tur­ing be­cause it af­fects the well be­ing and sur­vival of our peo­ple. We will sup­port the can­di­dates who are gen­uinely com­mit­ted to re­struc­tur­ing.” Ac­cord­ing to him, the lead­ers com­mended the work of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) com­mit­tee on re­struc­tur­ing led by Gov­er­nor Nasir El Ru­fai of Kaduna State, which made far-reach­ing rec­om­men­da­tions on the is­sue.

The Ijaw lead­ers urged the APC and Pres­i­dent Muham­nadu Buhari to com­mence a process of leg­is­la­tion to im­ple­ment the com­mit­tee’s re­port be­fore 2019 as a test of their sin­cer­ity.

They set up a com­mit­tee on re­struc­tur­ing and the re­port of the APC panel. It com­prises five rep­re­sen­ta­tives each from the three zones into which the Ijaw na­tion is di­vided, and has three weeks to sub­mit its re­ports.

“We com­mend all Nige­ri­ans who are in sup­port of his is­sue of re­struc­tur­ing. Con­cern­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the APC com­mit­tee, we call on the Pres­i­dent to lead the charge to re­struc­ture the coun­try which will lead to an eq­ui­table, just and fair Nige­ria.”

Clark who also spoke shortly after the wellat­tended meet­ing said re­struc­tur­ing was be­yond pol­i­tick­ing. He in­sisted that any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who is op­posed to re­struc­tur­ing would face re­jec­tion.

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