Ijaw traditional rulers and leaders from the six states of Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ondo on Friday converged in Yenagoa, to discuss issues of collective interest and the well-being of people of the region.
The meeting, which was declared open by Governor Seriake Dickson, also focused on reconciliation, unity, peace, stability and economic progress of the Ijaw nation
Governor Dickson called on them to put aside their differences and forge a united front. According to him, it is the only way to make the Ijaw nation relevant among other ethnic nationalities in the country.
He said the time had come for the Ijaw traditional rulers, elders and leaders of the people to constitute a strong, credible, dependable and fearless leadership for the Ijaw National Congress.
A Government House statement, signed by Fidelis Soriwei, quoted Dickson as having made the call while speaking at the Conference of Ijaw Traditional Rulers and Elders in Yenagoa on Friday.
The governor stressed that the call was inspired by the reality that certain key roles in the interest of the Ijaw Nation could be undertaken by a strong President of the INC and his executive committee.
He said that the absence of a strong INC meant the existence of a vacuum, which was inimical to the development of the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta.
The governor said, “I am delighted that all of you, who are the critical pillars of the Ijaw movement, which is founded on our Ijaw traditional institutions are present here; that is why you have clan representation.
“There are certain things only the INC President and his team can say and all of us will give support. Right now there is a vacancy, a vacuum and that is not good at all for us. The Ijaw people have a duty to galvanise unity of this region and close leakages for a more stable and prosperous Niger Delta and Nigeria.”
Dickson lamented that Ijaw communities were losing businesses and developmental opportunities as the “enemies of the people” were taking advantage of the situation to blackmail the Ijaw nation and deepen underdevelopment in the area.”