By Adesina Wahab
The Ijaw Elders Forum, IEF, Lagos State chapter has felicitated with the new leadership of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, led by Prof Benjamin O Okaba and the entire Ijaw Nation for the peaceful and credible election that produced a generally accepted leadership for the foremost socio-cultural organization of the Ijaw Nation.
In a statement yesterday signed by the Chairman, Chief Bukazi Etete, the group also congratulated its Vice Chairman, Chief Atamuno Atamuno on his election as Vice President 1 of INC Worldwide.
“We acknowledge the Electoral Committee led by HRH Prof Dagogo Fubara for navigating through the initial difficulties to produce a credible and fair election widely accepted by all parties. The Ijaw Nation owes you and your team a load of gratitude for a job well done.
“We also acknowledge the great Ijaw men and women that volunteered to serve the Ijaw Nation through INC but lost in the elections. You are indeed patriots for conceding and acknowledging that the election process was fair and credible. Your sense of sportsmanship serves as a beacon of hope for better leadership in Ijaw Nation.
“We also acknowledge the Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency Senator Douye Diri for the support given to INC and for allowing the ELECO a free hand in the elections. Well done Your Excellency.
“We would finally like to acknowledge the patriotic Ijaw men and women that challenged the status quo to produce this electoral feat for the Ijaw Nation.
“With the emergence of the Prof Benjamin Okaba led EXCO there is a visage of hope that the Ijaw Agenda will take centre stage in articulating our interests when relating with other ethnic nationalities and groups. We expect the new EXCO to lead the Ijaw Nation to take her rightful place as the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria. Expectations are high.
We expect a very robust engagement with all parties concerning the existential threats facing the Ijaw people, the continuous despoliation and destruction of our environment, the continuous exploitation of our mineral resources without adequate compensation to our people, the general neglect and issues bordering on self-determination,” the group said It wished the new leadership the best of time in office and prayed for a very successful tenure.