April 20, 2010

Ekiyor alleges threat to life

By Emma Amaize
WARRI—NATIONAL president of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, yesterday disclosed how he was intimidated, enticed and almost killed by some highly-placed persons in government, saying he refused to succumb to their threats and overtures.

Speaking to Vanguard in Warri against the backdrop of allegations that he had refused to render account of his stewardship as IYC president, Ekiyor said:  “Those who think the way to pull me down is to cook up allegations of corruption against me because I am gunning for the House of Representatives seat in my Patani Constituency in 2011, are making a gross mistake because their plot will collapse.

“I said during my campaign for IYC president that I will serve only one tenure and that is what I am going to do. I am not a sit-tight leader. Others should serve as IYC president also. If I am the type of person they want to paint me, I would have accepted the mouth-watering offers.

“I and members of my executive are focused young men; there were times that people tried to weigh us down, subdue us, take our lives and corrupt us but we refused. We have had cases where people called us and said, ‘this thing you are doing, you can’t help the people, you are not the only one, why not come and settle for this appointment or that appointment and let us do what we want to do,’ particularly when it came to the issue of using force to quench militancy?

“I resisted all the overtures of people in high places in government even when they were threats to my life.”

According to him, there was a time soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta brutalized and almost killed him, all because of his focus and belief in the IYC struggle.

Ekiyor added:   “I ran an open government, nobody should hide under accounting system to smear my name and it is not true that I refused to give my stewardship.

“Sometime, last year, parliament sat at Patani, my own home town and mandated the executive, myself, secretary and treasurer to present before it our financial  records, our programme outline and activities in the last one and half years and what we intend to do with the next one and half years.

“I led the team of my executive to that session, did a clear presentation and the parliament applauded that we were transparent and encouraged us to keep it that way.

“Periodically, the parliament writes to the executive to give stewardship report. We have rendered our mid-term report but when the parliament does not call us again,  my handover, I will handover the accounting records and render my stewardship in public convention, which is the highest organ of the council; it is even superior to the constitution.”

He denied imposing an electoral committee on the council, explaining that there was no electoral committee in IYC but a convention planning committee.

According to him, no one man can manipulate and nominate people into the committee and have his way the way IYC is structured.

“What we did was that the constitution said 60 days to handing over, the national executive committee must submit names of convention planning committee members to the parliament for ratification.

The NEC and principal officers of parliament met in Port-Harcourt to look at the names recommended by the NEC and them to parliament for ratification,” he said.

He said he was aware that some elements collected about N300,000 from his political opponents to smear his name, pointing out that the parliament should investigate the allegations against him and met out appropriate punishment if found guilty.

He, however, appealed that those being used by his opponents in the council should not be spared if found to have lied against him.