Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The factional President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Barrister Eric Omare weekend maintained that the Ijaw nation would pursue self actualisation and resource control through dialogue and not violence.
He therefore dissociated the Ijaw nation from Biafra agitation and declared that Ijaw nation can’t be part of Biafra because the struggle for self-determination championed by Ijaw people predates the quest for Biafra Republic.
Omare, who vowed that under his leadership the IYC would pursue self-determination started by their revolutionary leader, late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, said one of the aims of his administration was to bring all the Ijaw people in the country under one political structure.
He spoke during the official handover ceremony to 7th National Executive Council (NEC) by the immediate past President of IYC, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, held in Warri, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Omare, who dissociates the Ijaw nation from the Biafra agitation, said the Ijaw nation cannot be part and parcel of Biafra, maintaining that Ijaw nation has always been in the forefront of self-actualisation even before the Ibos started fighting for Biafra.
According to him, like Major Boro who declared the Niger Delta Republic on February 23, 1966 and gallantly battled the Federal forces for 12 days, the IYC under his leadership would vigorously pursue self-determination and resource control through dialogue.
He said, “The IYC was founded in 1998 to pursue two agenda – self-determination and resource control. The main focus of my administration is to actualise self-determination for the Ijaw nation.
“Self-determination may mean many things to different people. But to us the Ijaw people, self-actualisation means having a political space where we will have total control of our resources and we will be able to govern ourselves.
“We do not want a situation, as it is now, where the Ijaw people are balkanised in six different states. In Ondo State, the Ijaw people are the minority while in actual fact we are the main stay of that state. In Edo state, the Ijaw people are not just minorities, but they are treated as third class citizens in that state.
“In Delta State, especially in Warri we are treated as local citizens, we can vote but we cannot be voted for, we can only fight for a House of Assembly member but we cannot produce the chairman or a councilor. In Bayelsa state, even with the resources they have, it is still the same thing. Similar problem exists in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states,” Omare said.
Speaking further, he said the main crux of Ijaw nation’s struggle is to get political emancipation because, according to him, his people are tired of begging the federal government for crumbs.
“We are not going to be looking for petty things and be crying to the federal and state governments to come and give us jobs because once we have a political structure that is under our control, we can build 50 Maritime Universities. We do not need to meet the federal government to build a maritime university for us. This is going to be the direction of my leadership,” Omare said.
Marshaling out his plan, Omare said in the next few days, his administration was going to take key steps to engage with other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“We will engage the Ibos, the middle belt, the Hausa people, the Yoruba people and we will discuss whether we are going to live together as country or not.
“Let me also make this clear that the IYC is a grassroots pressure group. It is not a government organisation. It is not an association of any government. We will collaborate with government where necessary, but we will not be subjected to any government both at the state and the federal level”, he added.