PRESS RELEASE ISSUED AT THE END OF A CONSULTATIVE MEETING OF THE LEADERS OF THOUGHT OF THE IJAW NATIONALITY
Leaders of Thought of the Ijaw ethnic nation, held an Emergency Consultative Meeting at the country home of Elderstatesman, Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON, in Kiagbodo, Delta State. Amongst others, the Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Rt. Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson; the Deputy Governor of Delta State, His Excellency (Barr.) Deacon Kingsley Burutu Utuaro, former Governors, former Ministers, members of the National Assembly, President General, Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, Barr. Oweilaimi, Academics, Clergy and other Leaders were in attendance.
2. The Meeting discussed issues pertaining to current events in the country, the situation in the Niger Delta and matters pertaining to the wellbeing of the Ijaw people.
3. After exhaustive discussions, the Ijaw Leaders agreed as follows:
i. Reaffirmed the collective determination to preserve the unity and promote the interest of the Ijaw nation and the wellbeing of its people in the six States of the Federation within the context of a united Nigeria;
ii. Reviewed with satisfaction the on-going efforts to conduct elections to fill positions in the Ijaw National Congress;
iii. Re-echoed and commended various groups in the country, who have continued to bring up the question of Restructuring of the country to the centre place in national discourse;
iv. Reaffirmed the position that Restructuring of the country is about the survival of the Nigerian nation and that the Ijaw people will align themselves to candidates who canvass the position in the forth coming 2019 General Elections;
v. Salutes the work on by the Committee on Restructuring set up by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) led by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; hoping that this is being done with genuine commitment and sincerity;
vi. Constituted a high level Committee, led by Prof. Emeritus Dagogo Fubara, to further study the recommendations of the Governor El-Rufai Committee, realizing that the Ijaws have been the most affected and short changed by the prevailing situation in the country;
vii. Calls on the ruling APC to take the gauntlet, to open the report of the El-Rufai Committee alongside the earlier work done by the 2014 National Conference, for national debate within a set time frame;
viii. Calls on Mr. President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to show the courage in setting a legislative agenda in place to implement the outcome of the critical issues raised in these Reports, as a way of bringing about a Nigeria where equity, fair play and justice reigns;
ix. Reaffirmed its commitment towards the proposed South-South MEGA RALLY on restructuring to be held in Yenagoa on 24th March, 2018 under the auspices of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF);
x. Noted with concern and worry, reports regarding possible winding down of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP since this has been the instrument for sustaining peace and security in the Niger Delta Region;
xi. Commended Governor Henry Seriake Dickson for his untiring work in building bridges of peace and unity across the country, and his efforts to position Bayelsa State as the light house of socio-economic transformation in Nigeria;
xii. Express appreciation to the Elder Statesman, Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, for his continued leadership, doggedness and contributions to the stability and progress of Nigeria.