The umbrella body of the Ijaw nation, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has described the recent outburst and erroneous assertion against the Ijaw nation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a flight of fantasy and a joke taken too far.
At a press conference addressed yesterday by the President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the body demanded that the former President retract his misplaced anger and apologise to the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta people, who undeniably, had been feeding him, his state and the Nigerian state over the years.
A trending video has shown the former president tackling the National Secretary of the INC, Engr. Ebipamowei, over his views bordering on the age-long neglect, suffering and general underdevelopment of the Ijaws and the Niger Delta.
But Okaba, after watching the trending short video by GE TV Africa, said the “Ijaw National Congress frowns at the blatant emotional outburst, crude and rude disruption and attack of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the National Secretary of the INC while presenting Ijaw position at the forum.”
While condemning the outburst, Okaba said the attack on their scribe was an attack on the Ijaw and Niger Delta people and should serve as an eye opener to other oppressed minorities on the grand resource conspiracy against them and their environment.
The statement read in part, “We are not surprised at the hatred of the former President for the Ijaw and the Niger Delta people as he demonstrated a huge dose of this towards the Ijaw people when he, in a supposed democracy in 1999, ordered armed soldiers to invade an Ijaw community, Odi, in Bayelsa State.
“Obasanjo and his likes, who has over the years denied the Ijaw nation every opportunity to annex, own and control her God-given resources must be told in clear and unmistakable terms that we cannot be intimidated, hushed and harassed into a moronic silence.
“The former President’s brazen attempt to bully the INC National Secretary with his unguarded vituperation while he (Wodu) was succinctly advancing the views and stance of the entire Ijaw people on their unfair treatment perpetually visited on us by successive Nigeria hegemonic and repressive government, clearly exposed another chapter of the underbelly of Obasanjo and his likes, which is replete with bile and rebounding negatives that have continually promoted Ijaw Balkanization, servitude and subjugation unashamedly.
“We consider his claim on resource ownership pernicious, provocative, oppressive and wicked just as it negates the decade-long derivation principle which was pegged at 100 percent in 1946, and remained so until Nigeria’s independence when it was whimsically reduced to 50 percent, and callously and drastically reduced to a paltry 1.3 percent and later a meager 13 percent when oil and gas replaced cocoa, groundnut and palm oil as the dominant economic mainstay of the country.”
INC added that by his outburst, the former President has unconsciously but loudly, emptied the mindset of the Nigerian oligarchy who cares more about how to ravage the resources in the Niger Delta to develop themselves and feel less concerned about the pains and agony the people face.