Obaseki' s cabinet
Gov Obaseki

By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin

THE Ijaw in Edo state have alleged marginalisation in the state as they lamented that they have been excluded from the cabinet recently formed by Governor Godwin Obaseki with the swearing in of 11 commissioners and two Special Advisers.

The Ijaw in Edo state are homed majorly in two local government areas of the state namely Ovia South-West and  Ovia North East and two out of the 11 commissioners already sworn in are from the two local government areas.

The Ijaw said that despite their huge contributions economically and politically to the development of the state, they have been neglected in terms of infrastructure and anything that has to do with government providing for the people.

Speaking to journalists in Benin City on Sunday, on behalf of the five Ijaw clans in the state and the entire Ijaw nation, Secretary, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Western Zone, comprising Ondo, Edo and Delta states, Comrade Olu-Derimon Omaghomi expressed the displeasure of the Ijaw their about happenings in the state politically.

He said 109 roads across the state were recently publicized by the state government for reconstruction and rehabilitation, not one was taken from Ijaw areas.

He lamented: “We are not happy as Ijaw people. We are Ijaw people and we have five clans in Edo State namely, Egbema, Olodiama, Gbaraun, Furupagha and Okomu. And all these clans are economically viable. We have contributed economically to the growth of Edo State and not just economically, but politically.

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Our votes from these five clans in the three local government areas of Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East and Ikpob-Okha were massive in the 2020 governorship election, but as I speak, there is political marginalisation of the Ijaw ethnic group in Edo State.

“Mr. Governor Sir, prior to your re-election in 2020, you made a wide consultations with our leaders like Tompolo, Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa State, our father, Edwin Clark and many other Ijaw leaders to help talk us to support you, and they did and our people yielded by voting for you massively.

Of course, as we always have in politics, some people may have not voted for you but majorly, the Ijaw people’s votes counted for the candidacy of Godwin Obaseki of the PDP and he was declared winner.”

He continued: “During the election, we lost a prominent woman who happened to be a major victim of the election, and till today as I speak, not a word of sympathy has come from the governor let alone visiting the family particularly the children she left behind. This is an Ijaw woman who was in support of the PDP and Obaseki till her death.”

Speaking further on alleged political marginalisation, Omaghomi noted, “As we speak, Ijaw man is not in the state House of Assembly; Ijaw man is not in the House of Representatives; Ijaw is not even considered for the chairmanship position in Edo State.

I want to state that we are part of the system; we are not strangers, we are aborigines. In the three local government areas I mentioned earlier, at least if the Ijaw man is not the chairman, he should be the vice-chairman, that is what can be regarded as equity, justice.

“Appointing an Ijaw as a commissioner in the state, heaven will not fall. During the military era, an Ijaw man was appointed Commissioner for Finance and he performed excellently. Ijaw man was once a governor of this state, the then Bendel State , he did well,” he added.

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