By Azu Akanwa
The refusal of the Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, to identify with the recent National Association of Ijaw Female Students (NAIFS) biannual convention in Abuja almost sparked off a violent protest by the students but forÂ the timely intervention of the founder and patron of NAIFS, Comrade Joseph Evah.
The students were about to stage a protest march to the minister’s office from their Bayelsa Government Guest House when Comrade Evah persuaded them to spare the minister the embarrassment.
The students were angered that despite several attempts to get the minister to support their biannual convention in Abuja, he could not help their situation. The theme of this yearâ€™s convention was Niger Delta Must Be Like Abuja.
Earlier, the students had wanted to accost wife of Chief Orubebe, who accompanied the vice-presidentâ€™s wife to the opening ceremony of NAIFS’ convention at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, but Evah, who got wind of the plan, also stopped them.
Speaking to Vanguard on why they planned to protest against the minister, the pioneer President of NAIFS, Mrs. Faith Mukoro, said: â€œWe were shocked.
If people like Mr. Ben Bruce, an international figure, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, a minister like him, Governor Emmanuel Udughan, and others appreciate NAIFS’ activities, why should the minister treat us like lepers?”
After all, we have carried out de-worming activities in the creeks of the Niger Delta without him in the past.â€
Also speaking to Vanguard at the convention, a student of University of Abuja (names withheld) said â€œyou can see the Ijaw struggle is useless because the likes of the minister are the ones representing us. Even the theme of this convention alone is enough for any reasonable Ijaw leader to support us.
The message we took around this FCT is enough reference point in history. Our boys (ex-militants) were here to present their case and now we the future mothers of the future generations are also here to present our case to the seat of power and to God.
We know some of these politicians wonâ€™t help the us, but we are waiting for them at the ballot boxes.”