A Niger Delta youth leader, Amb John Dekawei has declared that Ijaws in Delta may be forced to boycott the 2023 general elections in the state if not treated fairly by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration.
His assertion was in further reaction to the unbridled level of hatred meted out on the Ijaws by successive governments; the latest being the move to upgrade three schools to universities without consideration for the Ijaws in the state.
Dekawei who spoke to news men in Abuja on Thursday, vehemently kicked against the move by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to have three new universities in the state with no one proposed or sited in an Ijaw area.
Recall that Governor Okowa had sent three executive bills to the Delta State House of Assembly on January 27, 2021, seeking to establish the Delta State University of Education, Agbor, Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, and the Delta State University of Science and Agriculture, Anwai.
The award winning humanitarian described the move by the Governor as hatred against Ijaws taken too far. He stressed that for Governor Okowa to send three executive bills to the Delta State House of Assembly, seeking to convert and upgrade colleges to universities without considering the interest of Ijaws in such a sensitive move is a display of hatred.
Amb Dekawei tasked Governor Okowa to treat all ethnic groups in the state fairly and stop playing to the gallery of ethnic jingoism, saying Ijaws will resist the looming marginalization.
He continued that Ijaws cannot continue to be sacrificial lambs to service others, noting that the ethnic group must not be made to always agitate for what is due them rightfully.
The philanthropist charged Governor Okowa to remember the immense contribution of the Ijaws in bringing him to power.
“Ijaw may boycott 2023 elections. We have been treated as second class citizens. Our future has been attacked, we can no longer remain silent on the face of this injustice.
“The way the schools where formed, we were not considered. The Ijaws in Delta State also have a school that can be converted and upgraded. What is the gain of Delta State to Ijaws since our union so far?
“If you deprive the people from education, then what type of people are you breeding? Giving us education is key to our development. A man that cannot speak is indirectly a slave.
“Okowa should be fair to all ethnic nationalities in Delta State. we cannot be agitating always for things the Government should be doing for the people.
“Okowa should do the needful by converting DESOMATECH to a university to bring progress to the Ijaws. If not for anything, Governor Okowa should remember the votes from the riverine areas that contributed to his landslide victory. If you can collect oil from Ijaw, why can’t you give them development and education?” he questioned.
The young leader further called on all Ijaw lawmakers in Delta State House of Assembly to rise against the move by protecting the interest of the Ijaws in the state.