Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, friday again warned against internal wrangling among Ijaw people, noting that as a people who are few in population, any fighting within the ethnic group would spell doom.
While calling on the people to â€œstop destroyingâ€ themselves, the ex-President who spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, while paying his last respects to Chief Gordon Bozimo, noted that it was in the interest of the Ijaw to unite.
Bozimo, who died in June in the United States at the age of 67, was a foremost Ijaw leader, former member, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a one-time Chairman of the National Youth Service Corps Board, (NYSC) and Chairman, Bank of Agriculture (BoA).
â€˜’We must stop destroying ourselves as a people. We are not too many. Things are quite challenging.
”Sometimes, you need to wear the shoes to know where they pinch. I believe that working together, helping ourselves collectively, we will be able to solve some of our problems,” Jonathan said.
He added that the late Bozimo was a politician who did not believe in assassination of people’s character, noting that though he might disagree with people politically, he usually worked towards what he believed in.
He said with the passing of Bozimo, the Ijaw nation had lost somebody quite unique, quite patriotic, quite committed to the development of the people.
”At the political level, Bozimo was like a political giant among a few elders that were in the Peoples Democratic Party in terms of his national connections and he was committed to the party.
”In fact, he played a key role in ensuring that I became a running mate to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and also the victory of Alamieyeseigha in 1999 elections.
”Since then, I have been close to Bozimo, even through turbulent periods. The state has always passed through a fever. In fact, politics is about interest”, the former president said.
In his comments, Governor Seriake Dickson described Bozimo as a true Ijaw son who gave his best to the service of the nation.
Dickson called on the people of Bayelsa to uphold a new Bayelsa where honour and respect for one another would be the watchword.
”All I want to say is that everyone of us should key into this new Bayelsa where we honour and respect one another, work together and stop running down one another.
”Today is not a day of long political speeches; today is not a day for politics no matter the temptation. Today is a day to celebrate unity; it is a day to honour one of our departed leaders and fathers and to remind us how much we all stand to gain working together, respecting one another, honouring one another.
”In the past six years, unknown to a few people, you have a new Bayelsa founded on solidarity, not a Bayelsa where you stayed away and begin to promote needless discord and issues for no reason, or for some selfish reasons.
â€œYou have a new Bayelsa here where we do our bits and support and encourage ourselves the little way we can.
”I found Bozimo a most congenial gentleman, a very intelligent man but a man with keen sense of political strategies, the likes of him, will take time to getâ€, the governor said.