The Ijaw Youth Council has vowed not to step back on its quest to continue to pursue self-determination in spite of opposition from Ijaw leaders including the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, to continue to push for a united Nigeria.
The President of the group, Mr. Eric Omare, stated this on Friday during the official handing over ceremony by its immediate past president, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, to the 7th National Executive Council of IYC in Warri, Delta State.
Omare also said Ijaw ethnic nationality would never be part of the Biafra Republic, explaining that Ijaw had started demanding for self-determination before the current clamour by some groups in the South Eastern part of the country.
He noted that in line with his administration’s vision, the Ijaw people would vigorously pursue self-determination from where it’s former revolutionary leader, Late Major Isaac Adaka-Boro, stopped.
According to him, “The IYC was founded in 1998 to pursue two agenda – self-determination and resource control. The main focus of my administration is to actualize self-determination for the Ijaw nation. Self-determination may mean many things to different people. But to us the Ijaw people, self-actualization means having a political space where we will have total control of our resources and we will be able to govern ourselves.
“We do not want a situation, as it is now, where the Ijaw people are Balkanized in six different states. In Ondo State, the Ijaw people are the minority while in actual fact we are the mainstay of that state. In Edo state, the Ijaw people are not just minorities, but they are treated as third class citizens in that state.
“In Delta State, especially in Warri we are treated as local citizens, we can vote but we cannot be voted for, we can only fight for a House of Assembly member but we cannot produce the chairman or a councilor. In Bayelsa state, even with the resources they have, it is still the same thing. Similar problem exists in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.”
The IYC President posited, “We are not going to be looking for petty things and be crying to the federal and state governments to come and give us jobs because once we have a political structure that is under our control, we can build 50 Maritime Universities. We do not need to meet the Federal Government to build a maritime university for us. This is going to be the direction of my leadership.
Omare noted that his administration would also engage ethnic nationalities across the country on the way forward out of the current agitations in the country as well as engage the federal government on how to solve the nation’s problems.