Ijaw leaders rose from a meeting at Kiagbodo in Delta State yesterday, threatening to reject any presidential candidate opposed to restructuring of the country.
The meeting had in attendance Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State; Deputy Governor of Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro; Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark; former Minister of Aviation, Alabo Graham Douglas; former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo; National Assembly members and traditional rulers, among others.
Dickson told journalists after the meeting which lasted four hours, that the leaders took a critical look at the issue of restructuring and resolved that it was a matter of survival to the Ijaw people.
He said the meeting resolved that Ijaw people “who are the most affected” by the current situation in the country would only vote candidates with genuine and demonstrable support for restructuring, irrespective of political party.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, the governor said it was the position of the meeting that the next general election would be a referendum on restructuring across Ijaw land.
“The next election is going to be a referendum on restructuring because it affects the well being and survival of our people. We will support the candidates who are genuinely committed to restructuring.”
According to him, the leaders commended the work of the All Progressives Congress (APC) committee on restructuring led by Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State, which made far-reaching recommendations on the issue.
The Ijaw leaders urged the APC and President Muhamnadu Buhari to commence a process of legislation to implement the committee’s report before 2019 as a test of their sincerity.
They set up a committee on restructuring and the report of the APC panel. It comprises five representatives each from the three zones into which the Ijaw nation is divided, and has three weeks to submit its reports.
“We commend all Nigerians who are in support of his issue of restructuring. Concerning the recommendations of the APC committee, we call on the President to lead the charge to restructure the country which will lead to an equitable, just and fair Nigeria.”