Notwithstanding the exclusion of the Ijaw from Ondo, Edo and Akwa Ibom States from the National Conference slated to be inaugurated tomorrow, a former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Pastor P.Z. Aginighan, has asked Ijaw people representing other states at the conference to protect the interest of all Ijaw at the exercise.
Aginighan, in a statement, yesterday, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for initiating the conference to address structural challenges in the polity.
“I wish to place on record my displeasure at the omission of the Ijaw in Ondo State, Edo State and Akwa-Ibom State from the list of delegates to the conference. The Ijaw in these three states have peculiar challenges arising from their minority status. It would have been desirable to give them the opportunity to state their case themselves,” he said.
“While I particularly congratulate Chief (Dr) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Professor Kimse Okoko, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Ambassador Lawrence Ekpebu, Mr Atedo Peterside and other Ijaw who made the list, I urge them to not only to see themselves as representatives of the various states or platforms on which they were selected but also as representatives of the entire Ijaw ethnic nationality comprising Arogbo and Apoi clans in Ondo, Egbema, Olodiama, Inikorogha, Okomu and Furupagha Clans in Edo State, the Ijaw in Delta, the Ijaw in Bayelsa, the Ijaw in Rivers and Eastern Obolo and Ibeno Clans of Akwa-Ibom States.
“There is no gainsaying that the Ijaw delegates to the Conference can only effectively deliver on their mandate if they consult very widely with all Ijaw, both at home and abroad, and work in synergy with the Ijaw National Congress, the Ijaw Nation’s umbrella body”.