Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has warned politicians involved in the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, to shun every act that will lead to bloodshed before, during and after the poll in the state.
The IYC also appealed to the federal and state governments to prioritise lasting solutions to flood disasters in the Niger Delta region.
This call was made during the group Executive Council Meeting at the weekend.
The council, in a communique it issued after the meeting said political actors and gladiators must shun any act that could escalate tension in Bayelsa during the forthcoming poll.
The IYC in the communique signed by its President, Dr. Alayi Theophilus, advised politicians to focus on selling their manifestos to the people and shun hate speeches that could lead to crisis in the state.
The council said: “It is our firm belief that the lives and safety of Ijaw citizens should always supersede political considerations and electoral processes. We shall hold politicians responsible if any Ijaw life is lost during and after the election.
“The IYC shall not fold her arms to see that the existing peace we enjoy in the state is damaged. We advise all politicians to shun hate speeches and focus on telling us their manifestos. Our lives are worth more than any political ambition.”
While commending the federal government and other organisations for their support for flood victims in the region, Theophilus call for construction of critical drainage systems and dredging of flood-prone communities of the region, as a way of addressing flood challenge in the area.
He said: “Recognising the recurring nature of these disasters, we urgently call on federal and state governments to prioritise and implement enduring solutions. This includes the construction of various drainage systems to the tributaries that will offload the water to the sea and initiating comprehensive coastline dredging.
“The Bola Tinubu-led government must make our abandoned dam in Adamawa functional and create additional three dams within the flood channels to cushion the effect of flood in subsequent years. These dams when completed and made functional, will not just serve as water reservoir but also as a source of hydropower that will add to the national grid.
“Ijaw people are yet to recover from the trauma caused by the last year flooding. Goods worth billions of naira were destroyed and strange diseases are being experienced till date. The palliative can never be compared to the disaster we are experiencing.”
The IYC accused the Delta State Governor of marginalising Ijaw communities in the state in his recent award of N78bn contracts.
The council said: “While we acknowledge and commend the Delta State Governor for his efforts in awarding a significant N78billion contract, we find it disheartening to observe the marginalisation of the Ijaw territories. Projects like the Ayakoromo bridge which is barely N6 billion to completion is begging for attention.
“The Ojobo road is abandoned. It is therefore unjust to exclude Ijaw territories in the N78billion contract awarded by the Delta State Government. The IYC calls on the Delt Government to review his move to include Ijaw communities. We assert that the interests of all communities must be earnestly considered in development initiatives.”