By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
The Ijaw ethnic nationality Friday rejected the recommendation of the National Confab on the creation of eighteen additional states saying it was skewed in favour of some ethnic nationalities.
Spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Comrade Eric Omare, in a statement issued in Yenagoa said the Ijaw being the fourth largest ethnic nationality was deliberately left out in the proposed state creation exercise in furtherance of its marginalization by the Nigerian state.
The IYC said though the Ijaw ethnic nationality made a request for the creation of two additional states to wit: Toru-Ebe State from the present Delta, Edo and Ondo States and Oil Rivers State from the present Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, the conference committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government recommended creation of additional 18 states across the country without considering the Ijaw requests.
Omare said, “It is totally unacceptable for the Conference to recommend the creation of additional 18 states without considering the requests of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality which is Nigeria’s 4th largest tribe.
“The conference recommendations are geared towards empowering some ethnic nationalities to have more political control to the detriment of other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and in total disregard to the political marginalisation and oppression of the Ijaws of Delta, Edo and Ondo states who requested for the creation of Toru-Ebe State and the Ijaw of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states who requested for the creation of Oil Rivers State.
“It is on record that the Ijaw were the first to demand for a region of their own even before the Nigerian independence in 1960.
“At that time there were only three regions in Nigeria which today has increased to 36 states and if Confab recommendations are implemented, they would now be 54 to 55 states out of which the North would have 28 states; Yoruba: 9 states; Ibos: 9 states, with additional two to three in south-south, but Ijaw that is the fourth largest tribe that requested for a region of their own even before independence and their leader Major Isaac Boro declared a 12 Day Republic partly because of state creation would have only one state: Bayelsa State.
The IYC would not and will never allow Ijaw resources to be exploited to fund and develop other states to the detriment of the Ijaws. And without creation of Toru-Ebe and Oil Rivers States to liberate the politically oppressed Ijaw, the Ijaw people would have no other option than to reconsider their position in Nigeria.
“In the coming days, Ijaw Youth leaders would meet to take a position especially to consider the role of Ijaw delegates at the ongoing National Confab, who have been docile without an agenda.”