The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has implored Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to allow peace reign in the state by allowing the Ijaw people to choose their own traditional rulers just like other indigenes.
The IYC frowned on attempt by Obaseki to subject the Ijaw people to the suzerainty of the Bini monarchical system.
The group also described as awful, the statement by the governor calling on the Ijaws not to abuse his government’s tolerance towards them.
Spokesman for the IYC, Mr. Daniel Dasimaka, described the governor’s statement as “unfortunate, sad and awful”, saying Obaseki was voted to serve all citizens of Edo State.
The statement by IYC read in part, “According to Oweilaemi Peretubo, the President of IYC, we are quite appalled by the statements credited to the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, during the commemoration of the International Day for Tolerance where he called on Ijaws in his state not to abuse the state government’s tolerance towards them.
“His statement presupposes that Obaseki and his government that was elected and administered the oath to be fair to all Edo indigenes, was in actuality only tolerating the Ijaw people of Olodiama, Furupa, Egbema, Okomu and Gbarain Kingdoms in the state who are aborigines of the territories (land, water and air) they occupy long before the Binis, whose bidding the Governor is obviously pandering to come into the picture.
“We are glad that the Governor even in that address described us as ‘the peace-loving Ijaw people of Edo State.’
“Our peaceful nature should not be mistaken for cowardice as Ijaws everywhere will mobilise to resist any group that tries to exploit our balkanised state that has made some of our people minorities in states dominated by smaller ethnic groups that are not as big as some Ijaw clans.”
The IYC called on Obaseki to rise to the duty of his office and desist from carrying out the orders of the Oba of the Binis against the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom in Ovia North East Local Government Area and other ancient Ijaw kingdoms in the state.
The group added, ‘’We also find the statement issued by the Edo State government signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodin Ogie, which denied the existence of Ijaw communities and kingdoms in Edo most shameful.
‘’It is an abdication of the government’s constitutional right to preside over the governmental activities of Ijaw territories in Edo State.
“Finally, for the sake of peaceful co-existence, we implore the government of Edo State to respect the right of Ijaw people in Edo State to choose their own traditional institutions and rulers just like other Edo indigenes rather than attempt to subject them to the suzerainty of the Oba of Benin.
‘’To this end, we call on the government to withdraw the ill-advised statement signed by Ogie and leave the Pere of Olodiama to continue his reign in peace as Ijaws will not tolerate any form of ethnic-based political domination perpetrated against us using the instrumentality of the Edo State Government.”
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