By Tolulope Ibukunoluwa
The Arogbo Ijaw Community Organization of Ese-Local Government Area of Ondo has passed a vote of confidence on the lawmaker representing the Ese-Odo State Constituency in the Ondo State House of Assembly.
The umbrella body of top Ijaw Organizations and the traditional institutions of the community took the decision to encourage the lawmaker with a resounding vote of confidence after widespread consultations in a statement on Friday.
The Chairman of AICO, Deacon James Ashidi, noted that the lawmaker did well in adhering to the cardinal principle of effective representation when he cried out against the repeated marginalization of the Ijaw people by the Akeredolu Government in a statement on Friday.
He stressed that the lawmaker spoke the mind of his people when he decried the unacceptable exclusion of the Ijaws from the State COVID 19 palliative committee constituted by the State Governor in a recent interview.
He said that the lawmaker was left with no better option than to speak out in defence of the deprived people of Arogbo in view of the pattern of the Akeredolu Administration to carry out governance in Ondo State without in inkling of minority recognition and protection.
The group noted that what the lawmaker did what was expected of him as the Assembly member fate had picked to speak for the ruthlessly oppressed Ijaw community in Ondo State.
The groups stressed that the lawmaker did not act on his own as he only carried out the bidding of those who sent him to the Assembly.
Ashidi claimed further that the State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress were engrossed in moves to suspend the lawmaker from the Assembly for crying out against years of deprivation, intimidation and oppression against the minority Ijaws in the state.
AIco called on all those involved in the devilish plot against the cry of the Ijaws for recognition as citizens of Ondo State under a seeming apartheid regime to desist from it as those who elected the lawmaker would stand by him for doing the right thing.
According to him, it remains a legislative anathema for the APC to expect the lawmaker to seek its permission and approval before speaking out in defence of his constituents.
The Ijaw groups accused the Governor of surreptitiously handing over the development of Arogbo Ijaws to his deputy, Mr Agboola, his maternal cousin, who has stifled the community in ways beyond explanation.
The groups added that a state government statement where it was admitted that 200 job slots were given to Ese-Odo out of which 188 were given to Apoi, Akeredolu’s maternal home and 12 to Arogbo Ijaws tell the story of Akeredolu’s deliberate policy of discrimination against the minority Ijaws.
He further expressed dismay that Akeredolu approved seven major Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission contracts òf not less than N100 million each for Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Area out of which Ilaje got four and Apoi, Akeredolu’s people three to the exclusion of the Ijaws.
The Ijaw groups insisted that the lopsided allocation of employment slots in Ese-Odo tells the story of Akeredolu’s regime of repression against the Ijaws of Ondo.