–it is a sacrilegious act – Igali, Interim Steering Committee Ag Chairman
By Brakere Birinimighan
A former Police Affairs Minister, Chief Broderick Bozimo has called for reconciliation among different Ijaw stakeholders following the Saturday’s disruption of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) convention by thugs.
He made the call on Monday July 1, 2019, as hundreds of thugs invaded the Ijaw House in Yenagoa and disrupted the convention at the point of collation of votes.
Bozimo, a frontline Presidential aspirant at the election, was said to be in clear lead when the youths carted away ballot boxes and other electoral materials.
But the elder statesman, who spoke in Yenagoa, appealed to other aspirants and Ijaw stakeholders to rally round his team to ensure effective protection of Ijaw interests amidst a troubled country.
Bozimo said he earlier had no intention to run for any position in INC but changed his mind out of his love for Ijaw nation following some uncomfortable developments in the country.
The octogenarian said: “The insecurity in the country and the attack on our people are some of the reasons we ended up coming into this race. So, as a father, the point I am trying to make is that some of us are truly worried that this great nation is being tried from right, left and center.
“We feel compelled and obliged to work for peace in the Ijaw nation. So, this is an appeal by a father to all the contestants especially from Delta State where I come from. All the presidential candidates are from Delta. Some have earlier dropped out to support this team.
“Therefore, we are in a reconciliation mood as elders and fathers and we are seizing this opportunity to appeal to our children, contestants, delegates to join hands and put our house in order, stay united and strong as a vibrant Ijaw nation that we are.
“It will not be my portion to try to be divisive in this awesome Ijaw nation. So, am making an appeal to the contestants to embrace peace. We must find a way forward as brothers, sisters, fathers and children”. Bozimo explained that following the zoning of the INC presidency to Delta, most of the aspirants stepped down for him and members of his team adding that he would not be drawn into conflict with Ijaw leaders.
He added: “You can understand in my present frame of mind. I will not be drawn into these things because as a father we are trying to resolve the differences. This nation, great Ijaw nation, will remain united and move forward and not be ridicule by other nationalities.
“All of us must make sacrifice. Inam prepared to make sacrifice for the good of the Ijaw nation. We don’t want to score point. We are not in politics. We are Ijaw people who want development, security and peace for our beloved Ijaw nation. Ijaw nation must move forward”.
Also, the Interim Steering Committee (ISC) of INC expressed regret at the invasion of the Ijaw House by hoodlums, they led to the disruption of vote counting and collation processes of the Elective Convention.
The ISC in a statement signed by its acting Chairman, Dr. Godknows Igali and its Secretary, DIG Michael Zuokomor (rtd) described the invasion as sacrilegious and called on security agencies to arrest the perpetrators.
The ISC said: “That such a sacrilegious act could be carried out in the sanctity of our Ijaw House, Yenagoa and in the presence of some of the members of the highly respected Conference of Ijaw Traditional Rulers and Elders (CITRE) as well as members of INC Interim Steering Committee and the Electoral Committee (ELECO) of this our flagship organization is totally condemnable.
“Indeed, this is unacceptable. For the avoidance of doubt, the Interim Steering Committee wishes to recall that counting of votes after very peaceful and orderly elections held in the open, was almost concluded.
“As a matter of fact, the outcome of majority of the positions had already been declared awaiting counting of the ballots for the offices of National Secretary, Vice President (East), Vice President (Central) and President of Congress, when this act of cowardice occurred.
“Arising from this development, the Interim Steering Committee has since brought the matter to the attention of the respective Security and Law Enforcement authorities for urgent but thorough investigations. This is, with a view to bringing the masterminds and immediate perpetrators to book.
“The Interim Steering Committee, therefore, wishes to enjoin all Ijaw sons and daughters, in our various communities, in the rest of Nigeria and around the world, to remain calm as the matter is being fully dealt with. An emergency meeting of CITRE is also expected to hold soon to discuss the matter, including reviews of results of investigation so far and charting a way forward”.