The Ijaw Youth Council, Western has congratulated Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and all Deltans in commemoration of the State’s 30th anniversary.
In a statement signed by Comrade Doubra Okotete and Comrade Lugard Izoukumor, Chairman and Information Officer respectively, the IYC said “Gov. Okowa and public servants in Delta State must harness and strategically market Delta’s brand of multiculturalism.”
The pressure group further charged the governor to give priority to the development of Ijaw areas in the state.
Taken aback by the nonchalant treatment meted on Ijaws despite their contribution to the State’s economic status, the IYC also called for the restoration of lasting peace in Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities, as well as resettling the people of Diebiri kingdom to their ancestral home.
In itemizing the challenges the Ijaws are faced within the State, the statement also listed out possible solutions for the government to work with.
The statement sent to Daily Report Nigeriareads in full;
“The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western Zone congratulates the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi A. Okowa and all Deltans on the occasion of Delta’s 30th anniversary.
“The Ijaw Youth Council Western Zone felicitates with government and people of Delta State while praying for harmony, peace, and unity amongst Deltans to continue this strategic partnership that will consolidate and manage a diverse: multi-cultural Delta, for tenable opportunities.
“The IYC sees the occasion as indeed a very great milestone. Hence, it urges Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other public servants in Delta State to harness and strategically market Delta’s brand of multiculturalism, which the IYC believes, is a key panacea to the States’s myriads of challenges such as unemployment, infrastructure deficit, predominant in Ijaw Communities, conflicts, kidnapping, amongst many other unethical obstacles in Delta State.
“Council believes that nation-building is a joint task and, therefore, is ready to proffer ideas that will help to arrest these challenges and obstacles above, which has bedeviled Delta State, and has become a stumbling block towards achieving its ultimate objective as a State.
“IYC implores Gov. Okowa for robust collaboration with the IYC, for effective and efficient service delivery for all Deltans, particularly in Ijaw Communities. The IYC is not oblivious of Gov. Okowa’s developmental legacies that are evident in Delta State, but sadly note that Ijaw people are dissatisfied with the slow pace of progress to projects in Ijaw Communities.
PROJECTS IN IJAW COMMUNITIES
“The IYC believes the Kwale-Beneku bridge is strategic and significant, likewise, the Ayakoromo bridge, but wonders why the Ayakoromo bridge that is a critical project for Ijaw people and indeed Deltans at large is not given maximum attention towards speedy completion.
“The IYC recalls that Gov. Okowa in a project inspection tour in the month of July had stated that he remembers that the people of this community (referring to where the Kwale-Beneku bridge is sited) used pontoon a creative creation of the community inhabitants to ferry people and materials to access the community even as some had the bitter experience of falling during such efforts.
“The governor then submitted that as a government they cannot continue to allow such to happen because the people of this community are an integral and important part of Delta State.
“He further assured them that the bridge will be given expedited attention and be completed in eight months, while also making similar promises to Ayakoromo bridge in several occasions with no financial commitment.
“In spite of these promises and the high expectations of the people of this affected areas in Ijaw Communities, Council notes that the Okowa led government has not shown that political will as it keeps starving these projects of the necessary funds in Ijaw Communities to enable contractors to finish this critical project.
“We submit that perhaps in the next elections when Okowa and its party comes to campaign again in these affected communities, particularly in Burutu Local Government where the Ayakoromo bridge is sited, he will experience the tragedy of people falling as noted in Kwale-Beneku bridge into the river and this will MAYBE ignite him the passion to speedily complete the project.
GOVERNMENT’S LACK OF COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION IN IJAW COMMUNITIES
“The IYC wonders why the Delta State Government upgraded institutions in other parts of Delta State, yet the only institution in Ijaw Community which is the School of Marine Technology Burutu was not given its due place and attention.
“More worrisome is the Technical College Okoloba, wherein the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh earlier last month July, was quoted by several national dailies that they wrote to Delta State Government to come and take the school over, because it is not in NIMASA’s area of specialty having seen spectacular and large structures of the school, yet Gov. Okowa was mute because the school is in Ijaw Community.
“Although, the IYC knows that the Technical College Okoloba is a federal government institution, yet it is also a known fact that in other to deepen the needed development, some State Governments take the initiative to fund such schools as it is critical to its people. We wonder at the attitude of the governor given the very importance of this school and the unanswered call of the Director-General of NIMASA.
“We find his non-action worrisome and unethical given the huge contributions of Ijaw people to Delta State development in terms of resources and our avowed loyalty to the People’s Democratic Party which is always demonstrated in our block and huge votes in all elections.
POLITICAL REWARD FOR IJAWS
“In political fortunes, the IYC is pleased with the political opportunities accorded Ijaw people in the government.
However, the IYC reminds the governor of his campaign promise that he will appoint two commissioners for the people of Burutu Local Government.
“Six years into his cumulative tenure as governor the people of Burutu and the entire Ijaw Nation is still waiting to see the realization of this promise.
THE NEED FOR PEACE IN DIEBIRI AND OGBE-IJOH COMMUNITIES
“In furtherance to lasting peace, the IYC is skeptical to the efforts of the governor in ensuring lasting peace amongst our communities. We feel strongly and believe that it is necessary and urgent to resettle the people of Diebiri in Warri South West Local Government Area to her ancestral home.
“We further submit that we are worried given the spate of land ownership related communal crisis between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities in Warri South West Local Government and Udu Local Government all in Delta State respectively. We find the governor’s commitment questionable and calls on him to take immediate steps in implementing the reports and make peace a reality and not an illusion.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
“In conclusion, the IYC charges all Deltans to imbibe tolerance and participate in building a DELTA where everyone; regardless of political affinity, ethnic and religious differences can aspire to be great or successful and to promote Delta’s brand of multiculturalism.
“The IYC respectfully recommends that Gov. Okowa should without further delay consider the following recommendations;
“(i) Massively fund Marine School in Burutu to enhance academic morale of students with state-of-the-art facilities and resources.
“(ii) Start the process of resettling Diebiri people back to their ancestral home with full compensation of infrastructure projects that will revamp the community, as well as monetary compensation to Diebiri people for the emotional ordeals they have had over the years.
“(iii) Objectively implement the report of the committee in Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja in the age-long land dispute without impartiality for justice, equity, and to restore peace and oneness that will build bridges of peaceful-coexistence.
“(iv) Mobilize contractors for Ayakoromo bridge and ensure that work is done accordingly within specified timeline.
“(v) appoint an additional commissioner for Burutu Local Government in honour of your word as expected of a man of integrity as promised during your gubernatorial campaign in 2015.
“As illustrated above, the IYC will continue to collaborate with government in proffering solutions to Delta’s challenges.”
Recall that Delta State was created on August 27, 1991, by former military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida. The citing of the State’s capital in Asaba, a border town raised eyebrows at the time.
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