By Samuel Oyadongha
KAIAMA—IJAW Youth Council, IYC, worldwide, has called for political space for the Ijaw people of Nigeria for them to express their political aspirations freely without inhibition.
President of IYC, Eric Omare, made the call, yesterday, at Kaiama, home town of late Major Jasper Adaka Boro in Kolokuma/Opukuma Local Government Area of Baylesa State, during the opening ceremony of the golden anniversary celebration of the late Niger Delta hero.
According to Omare, “About 50 years after Adaka Boro died while fighting for the freedom of his people, the political fortune of the Ijaw people has not changed significantly as they are still balkanized into six different states mainly as minorities and subjected to all sorts of political suppression and oppression.”
He bemoaned the situation where Nigeria now has 36 states whereas the Ijaw people who are the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria and even the first to ask for state creation through their late leader, Harold Dappa-Biriye, at the London constitutional conference, still have only one homogenous state, that is Bayelsa State.
“This is oppressive and totally unacceptable to the Ijaw people especially considering the fact that majority of the resources being used to fund the 36 states of the federation and the federal and local governments of the country are from the Ijaw territory,” he said.
On the way forward and as a key demand of the Ijaw people on the quest for the restructuring of the country, the IYC leader called for the creation of two homogenous Ijaw states.
He said: “Toru-Ibe State should be created for the Ijaw people of Ondo, Edo and Delta States on the western flank, and Oil Rivers State for the Ijaw people of Akwa Ibom and Rivers State in order for them to freely express their political aspirations.
“The Ijaw areas covered by the proposed Toru-Ibe and Oil Rivers State are geographically contiguous and linguistically homogenous. The only way restructuring can make sense to the Ijaw people is for these two states to be created and this was a key part of the struggle of the Late Isaac Adaka Boro.”