By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Elders of the Ijaw ethnic nationality under the auspices of Ijaw National Congress, INC, weekend in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said that the Ijaw would not tow the path of violence against perceived opposition in their push for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Though the elders described as provocative, the spate of abusive and derogatory words against the President by the opposition, they nonetheless resolved that reaching out to the other ethnic nationalities in the country would give the South South a second chance.
The Ijaw elders made their position known during an interactive session convened by the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo in Yenagoa.
They resolved to lead a delegation to meet with the Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, to ensure a safer and more acceptable decision for the re-election of Jonathan.
The meeting which had in attendance prominent Ijaw elders, including Chief Francis Doukpola, Mr. Joseph Asseh, Chief Thompson Okorotie, Professor K. Alagoa, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, Prof. Francis Sikoki, Sir Patrick Erasmus, Chief Tam Mitin, Mr. Denzel Kentebe, Chief Augustine Lugbenwei and the Vice President of Ijaw National Congress, INC, Mr. Austin Ambaowei among others, said: “The INC leadership will network with other regions to ensure a safe course for our son in 2015.”
Doukpola and Okorotie insisted that though the good performance of Jonathan was noticeable in spite of tirades of attacks on his person and administration, the struggle for his re-election should start with the Ijaw leaders reaching out to friends in the North and the South West.
Doukpola said: “The Ijaw nation is not going to war with any region over 2015. We will get the second term for the President not by fighting but with dialogue and diplomacy.”
The meeting also stressed the need for the leadership of INC to join the security agencies and governors of the South South zone in the campaign against the rising cases of sea piracy and crude oil theft.
”As we have agreed that INC should join in the fight against illicit crude oil theft and sea piracy on the waterways and creeks of the Niger Delta, we also asked the governors and president to prevail on the National Assembly to review and repeal obsolete laws militating against the demands contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights and the Kaiama Declaration.”
Declaring the meeting open, Dr. Tuodolo urged the Ijaw elders to consider the recent cases of attacks on the person and administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and rise up to protect him.