The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Worldwide, has issued a stern warning to politicians involved in the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, cautioning them against any form of violence before, during, and after the poll.
Following their executive council meeting, the IYC appealed to both the federal and state governments to prioritize lasting solutions to the flood disasters afflicting the Niger Delta region.
In a communique released after the meeting and signed by factional president Dr Alayi Theophilus, the IYC emphasized that political actors must avoid actions that could heighten tension in Bayelsa during the upcoming election. They urged politicians to refrain from hate speeches and focus on presenting their manifestos to the people.
The IYC stated, “It is our firm belief that the lives and safety of Ijaw citizens should always supersede political considerations and electoral processes. We shall hold politicians responsible if any Ijaw life is lost during and after the election. The IYC shall not stand idly by if the existing peace we enjoy in the state is compromised. We advise all politicians to shun hate speeches and concentrate on conveying their manifestos. Our lives are worth more than any political ambition.”
While commending the federal government and other organizations for their support for flood victims in the region, the IYC stressed that to address the problem permanently, critical drainage systems must be constructed and flood-prone communities dredged.
The IYC outlined, “Recognizing the recurring nature of these disasters, we urgently call upon both federal and state governments to prioritize and implement enduring solutions. This includes the construction of various drainage systems leading to the tributaries that will offload the water into the sea and the initiation of comprehensive coastline dredging. The Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government must make our abandoned dam in Adamawa functional and create additional three dams within the flood channels to mitigate the effects of future floods. When completed and operational, these dams will not only serve as water reservoirs but also as sources of hydropower to augment the national grid. Ijaw people are still reeling from the trauma caused by last year’s flooding, which destroyed goods worth billions of naira and led to the ongoing experience of strange diseases. The palliative measures cannot compare to the disaster we are facing.”
The IYC accused the Delta State Governor of marginalizing Ijaw communities in the recent award of N78 billion contracts.
The council stated, “While we acknowledge and commend the Delta State Governor for his efforts in awarding a significant N78 billion contract, we find it disheartening to observe the marginalization of the Ijaw territories. Projects like the Ayakoromo bridge, which requires only about N6 billion to completion, are desperately in need of attention. The Ojobo road has been abandoned. Therefore, it is unjust to exclude Ijaw territories from the N78 billion contract awarded by the Delta State Government. The IYC calls on the Delta Government to reconsider its decision to include Ijaw communities. We assert that the interests of all communities must be earnestly considered in development initiatives.”
Furthermore, the council condemned all forms of police brutality within the Niger Delta region, particularly recent incidents in Delta State and Rivers State, and called for justice for the victims.