ISAAC BORO DAY: IYC Kalabari calls for unity among Niger Deltans
By Adamu Usman
Members of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Kalabari Se-Ikpangi, have called on the Niger Delta people, generally, and the Ijaws, particularly, to unite so they can speak with one voice and achieve the goal for which their hero, Major Isaac Adaka Boro, fought and died.
In a press release made available to GbaramatuVoice and signed by Comrade Edward Asikitamunoprim, the IYC Chairman, Kalabari Se-ikpangi, the group while recalling the words of the late Boro condemning oppression and explaining he was a hero and not a criminal as he was branded, said: ” Indeed, today is a great day to behold as those inspiring words fill our hearts with nostalgia while we reflect on the legacies bequeathed to us by our predecessors. We should also contemplate the struggle that lies ahead as we commemorate the death of a nationalist and an iconic leader whose selflessness and empathy for his people birthed the secessionist struggle for a liberated Niger Delta with the fundamental right to self-determination and resource control.
“Perhaps what should readily come to mind at this moment are the pertinent issues that lies in the consciousness of every Niger Deltan 54 years after the death of Maj. Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro: Will we ( Niger Delta ) ever be free? How long will we continue to live in economic apartheid? How long can we survive the continuous exploitation of our resources and degradation of our environment?
“The answer to these questions underlies the urgency and perhaps better captures the mindset of the young freedom fighters of Ijaw extraction when they made the declaration for The Niger Delta Republic on the 23rd of February 1966, bearing in mind the marginalisation, oppression and total neglect for the people and region which has become the ‘cash cow’ of the federation.
“And there is no better time to relive these moments than by bringing to the fore, the core issues which have given rise to the violent and non-violent struggle for resource control across the Niger Delta.
“An in-depth analysis of the Niger Delta reveals that the region remains further marginalised, impoverished and polluted 63 years after the discovery of crude oil in oloibiri, Bayelsa State, and 54 years after the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta first began. It has remained the economic lifeline of the Nigerian state with an abundant reserve of oil and gas but with little or nothing to show for the immense contribution to the sustenance of the socio-economic growth of the nation.
“And as we speak, the exploitation and repatriation of funds accruing from the exploration of oil and gas in the Niger Delta continue without recourse to the irremediable damage to the environment and the ecosystem.
“We can no longer irk out a living from our lands and rivers. The level of poverty in the region and the worsening health condition present serious consequences which further add to the escalation of criminal activities such as pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering activities.
“If we must consolidate on the gains of Isaac Adaka Boro, then we must realise that the way forward is through dialogue, lobbying and collaboration.
“If we must achieve the goal for which our hero fought and died, then all stakeholders in the Niger Delta must come together, especially those of the Ijaw extraction. We must learn to speak with one voice on issues bothering our collective existence.
“We must explore all available non-violent avenues to actualise our dreams and to this end, the IYC kalabari Se ikpangi is invoking the spirit of our hero’s past with a more determined and focused approach to re-awakening the passion and camaraderie of the youth in the Niger Delta.
“Today presents us with another opportunity to call for greater participation and synergy amongst the youths so that the labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain.
“As we approach a new election season, we call for peace and unity amongst our brothers. If our collective aspirations are to be achieved come 2023, then we must strive to imbibe the spirit of brotherhood; we must be prepared to sacrifice our interests for the greater good just as Isaac Adaka Boro did.
“The emancipation of our people from the economic shackles imposed on us through an uneven federal structure that continues to capitalize on our resources to the detriment of our region must be a conscious battle to liberate our people from total annihilation. Therefore all hands must be on deck to bring about a prosperous and a united Niger Delta.
“The call for a riverine governor come 2023 has become a front burner and ever so important. It is only equitable to give a chance to the Ijaws especially the Kalabaris in Rivers State to produce the next governor considering our contribution to the unity and economic fortunes of the state.
“While we continue to lobby our kinsmen from other tribes to support our aspirations, IYC kalabari Se Ikpangi will leave no stone unturned in the actualisation of our lofty dreams.
“The IYC Kalabari Se-ikpangi wish to specially draw the attention of the federal and state governments to the plight of the Kalabari people and declare state of emergency on the moribond state of the Emohua-Kalabari road which has become a dead-trap to kidnappers and armed-robbers.
“This road is now a threat to our (Kalabari and Emohua) peaceful coexistence, a ploy to reduce our voting strength due to fear mongering. We are ,therefore, calling on the appropriate quarters to immediately swing into action by reconstructing the road and providing maximum security outfit along the road otherwise if this incessant kidnapping continues, we’ll be left with no other option than to resort to self help.
“Furthermore, the Kalabaris from abnitio have practically demonstrated the meaning of brotherliness in order to consolidate on the selfless sacrifices and achievements of our forebearers by supporting persons from other ethnic nationalities in fulfilling their academic, political and other life aspirations using the 1999 and 2019 political dispensations as a case study etc.
“Sequel of the aforesaid, we are calling on our brothers from other tribes in the state especially critical stakeholders of political parties to support a detribalized, credible, sellable, visionary, tested and trusted, well refined and experienced servant leader from Kalabari Kingdom to govern our dear state; one who would raise the bar of governance from what and where it is, to a point of envy.
“As various political party primaries approaches, we are appealing to the consciences of all delegates and prospective delegates in all political parties to rally round, vote and declare an illustrious Kalabari sons and daughters as winners of their party guber primaries for the purpose of justice, equity and fairness.
“In the spirit of ‘Ojumo Jumo Belema’, we are calling on our Kalabari leaders at all levels to retrace their steps. If politics is vested on interest, then such person(s) should rather make Kalabari his/her first proponent by showing solidarity with the Kalabaris; an injury to one, is an injury to all.
“Those disgruntled elements faning the embers of discord and ethno egoism between the Kalabaris and its neighbouring communities should desist from doing so. The Kalabaris are not at war with itself nor with any other tribe rather we believe ‘we are better, stronger and greater together.’
“We are therefore soliciting for your support in building a state where every tribe will live harmoniously together and enjoy equitable distribution of democratic dividends.
“To fellow youths, this is a very challenging moment in our history that requires us to be more united, reflect on the selfless sacrifices of heroes and heroins that’s worth emulating and eshew every form of criminal tendencies that will discredit our collective efforts and disparage our reputation.
“Our coming together as an indivisible entity under the auspices of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Kalabari Se-ikpangi in marking the 54th anniversary of our heroic remembrance day with the theme ‘Walk To Freedom,’ will be an indelible mark for a genuine love, forgiveness, selflessness and togetherness. The presence of other clans in this auspicious epoch-making event is evidential of the above
“Together, we can only chant the song of hosanna in the spirit of genuine love and if we can persevere, forgive and tolerate one another, such that will birth the needed victory for all and sundry. Haaa Izon!” they concluded.