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Posts tagged ‘Ijaw Youth Council’

Niger Delta Groups Rejects Confab Committee Report.


Niger-Delta-group

Numerous ethnic groups in the Niger Delta have rejected the core ideas recommended by President Goodluck Jonathan’s advisory committee

for the convocation of the forthcoming national conference being planned by the Federal Government. The disaffected groups insist that Mr. Jonathan should, instead, rely on the submissions of various ethnic nationalities in convening the national conference. In addition, the groups described the advisory committee’s recommendation that the National Assembly approve the conference’s outcome and that representation at the conference be based on the 360 federal constituencies as ploys to marginalize the Niger Delta people.

The groups’ positions emerged on Tuesday at the Pan-Niger Delta Conference held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The Conference was a civil society forum organized by Social Action in conjunction with other civil society groups to consolidate the positions of the Niger Delta ahead of the national conference.

The Niger Delta groups proposed that the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria should be the basis of representation at the national conference, adding that the outcome of the conference should be approved by a referendum. They argued that the use of the geopolitical units as the basis for representation would minimize the voice of the Niger Delta, which consists of several distinct ethnic nationalities.

The groups also want the conference to culminate in the emergence of a brand new constitution for Nigeria rather than the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Participants at the PNDC included academics, representatives of community organizations, social movements, non-governmental organizations, and ethnic groups. Keynote addresses were delivered by Kimse Okoko, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress and chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigeria, Ben Naanen, the founding secretary of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People and a professor of History and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Port Harcourt, Nnimmo Bassey, a former chair of Friends of the Earth International and director of the Home of Mother Earth Foundation, Ledum Mitee, a former MOSOP president, Ankio Briggs, a Niger Delta activist, Andrew Efemini, who is a professor, and Mofia Akobo.

The Port Harcourt conference was chaired by Ebiegberi Alagoa, an eminent historian. Mr. Naanen served as co-chair.

On October 1, 2013, President Jonathan had announced the establishment of a 13-member Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue during his Independence Day speech. The advisory body was headed by Femi Okurounmu, with Akilu Indabawa as its secretary. The committee submitted its report on December 18 last year.

Source: Radio State.

Ijaw Youths Reacts to Obasanjo’s Letter To Jonathan.


Ijaw youths

Ijaw youths on Friday frowned at the controversial letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it was capable of heating up the already heated polity.The youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) also accused Mr. Obasanjo of writing his letter – Before It Is Too Late – in bad faith.The Ijaw youths said that the barrage of attacks directed at President Jonathan could destroy the country.

President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri, who addressed journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, asked the former president to carry out a self-appraisal before making provocative and spurious comments.He said Mr. Obasanjo was wrong to have associated Jonathan with violence, adding that it was not in the character of Ijaw people to take delight in killing people.Mr. Obasanjo in his letter had alleged that snipers were being trained to eliminate perceived political opponents among other weighty allegations.

But Eradiri said Mr. Obasanjo wrote out of deep-seated animosity, claiming that the ex-President was determined to pull Jonathan down.He said: “In this country, leaders who see that others will surpass them; they will decide to drag him down and that is what is playing out in the case of Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan.“The achievements that Jonathan has put on the table will be difficult for any other president to surpass in the country. But he is a man who does not know how to blow his trumpet”.Eradiri maintained that no amount of campaign of calumny against Mr. Jonathan will stop his second term ambition come 2015.He said the President should be allowed to enjoy second term in office like his predecessors, including Mr. Obasanjo who ruled from 1999-2007.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ijaw youths threaten Benin govt over Asari-Dokubo.


Asari-dokubo-004

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has demanded an unreserved apology from the government of Benin Republic over the arrest of the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force ( NDPLF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo.
The council has also warned that it would no longer condone the arrest and harassment of Ijaw leaders.
The Ijaw nation was jolted when the news of the arrest of Asari-Dokubo filtered into Nigeria with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta( MEND) threatening to attack Beninose interests if he was not released.
The IYC noted that though Asari-Dokubo has been released, his arrest and detention was politically motivated by enemies of the Ijaw nation who are uncomfortable with his position as it relates to President Goodluck Jonathan running for the presidency in 2015.

Mr Udengs Eradiri who was declared President by the electoral committee in an interview after conducting his first congress at the IJaw House, Yenagoa said the Ijaw nation is suspecting foul play in the arrest of Asari-Dokubo.
According to him, the arrest was an affront on the Ijaw nation and the government of Nigeria since Asari-Dokubo was doing legitimate business in Benin Republic.
He warned politicians against heating up the polity by setting up perceived opponents instead of sticking to the rules of the game.
His words: “On the issue of arrest of the former President of IYC, Asari Dokubo. First of all, we want to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for the timely intervention on the arrest of Asari-Dokubo. We acknowledge the fact that Dokubo is doing business in Republic of Benin peacefully and freely and did not breach any law. We are saying again that we will not tolerate the arrest of any of our leaders.We are suspecting foul play from the political dimension on the arrest of Dokubo. We are warning that those trying to play politics to stick to the rules of politics and not use or ridicule Ijaw nation and leaders”

Source: Radio Biafra.

IYC leader accuses APC of destabilsation plot in Ijaw.


Ijaw-group

The Ijaw youth leaders have raised the alarm that members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have infiltrated the Ijaw nation, with a view to distabilise the home base of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Udengs Eradiri, who was declared President by the electoral committee of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), said they would resist all attempts to divide the Ijaw nation, as they would continue to back President Jonathan.

Eradiri, who accused some members of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) of playing politics, declared that the IYC would not allow the opposition to use the organ to play politics.

“When you use the Ijaw Youth Council to begin to play politics, it will not be accepted; we know INC members were sighted in Government House, Rivers State with some of the failed IYC aspirants trying to solicit for support from the oppositions. There is no doubt that politics has infiltrated the IYC to destabilise the President’s home area, which is the Ijaw nation,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Lokpobiri, who was arrested and detained by the Police, has been charged to court and granted bail.

The Police had arrested Lokpobiri over alleged impersonation and incitement of his supporters against the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson.

In a two-count charge read before Chief Magistrate I. O. Oweibo, the Police said Lokpobiri was parading himself, between November 11 and November 19 around the Bayelsa State capital, in a manner capable of instigating public disturbance in the state.

He was also accused of parading himself in a vehicle with number plate 001 IYC, which is the number plate of a sitting Ijaw Youth Council president.

Lokpobiri pleaded not guilty to both charges and counsel to the accused, A.U.O Japan, pleaded with the presiding magistrate to grant him bail due to what he termed simple charges brought against him.

The prosecution counsel, F.O. Begerie, did not object to the request and Lokpobiri was granted bail to the tune of N50, 000 and a resident of Bayelsa State as surety.

The case has been adjourned till December 6, 2013.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Once Again On The National Conference: A National Conference For The People And By The People? By Jaye Gaskia.


By Jaye Gaskia

It is important in order to avoid misrepresentation, to once again express and canvass ones views on the ongoing National dialogue or national conference process.

Some preliminary issues of principle are necessary to begin with:

Sovereignty belongs to the people, and not to any of the institutions of governance or state to which they might have under certain circumstances delegated exercise of that sovereignty!

In this respect therefore sovereignty belongs to Nigerian citizens, and not to the National Assembly [NASS], the Presidency, or the Judiciary!
In the second instance, if sovereignty belongs to the people, then the outcome of any structured process of consultation or dialogue on issues that will fundamentally affect the lives of citizens and the delivery of governance must of necessity be subjected to the people for final ratification in a referendum! The final decision in such a process, and on such matters belong to the people, not to their delegated representatives!

Thirdly, there is the overarching and all embracing issue of the nature of the conference, and an agenda for such a structured dialogue of fundamental consequence for the lives and destinies of a people.

Let us break this down a bit. On the structure of the conference, we are very clear that Nigeria as it presently exists; as it existed before colonial conquest and the subsequent 1914 amalgamation; is not a simple motley collection of cohabiting ethnic groups or nationalities! Let us be very clear about this, not once in our history was Nigeria, nor any of the constituent ethnic, cultural and language groups, a simple political entity of those distinct ethnic groups. Even in the pre-colonial period, kingdoms and polities developed and evolved as a result of economic interaction, and was of conquests, usual fought around access to resources. The Yorubas for example existed as distinct polities, which may be subjugated to larger polities, but which were nevertheless in constant competition with their neighbours, near and distant. The same was true of the Hausas, of the Igbos, of the Ogonis, and of the Ijaws for that matter! In fact I argue that before the dynamics of colonialisation and the struggle for independence took over, there was no one single Yoruba Ethnic National identity; nor were their any such for the Hausas or the Igbos. And until the emergence of MOSOP in the late 1980s, or of the Ijaw Youth Council [IYC] of the 1990s; the idea of single ethnic national Ogoni or Ijaw identity was strange, an exception, rather than the norm.

The point being made is that the ethnic identity, like every other identity is a socially constructed identity, and can also socially evolve, and be deconstructed.  Certainly the most significant and disproportionate beneficiaries of the construction and stagnation of ethnic identity; those that have and continue to benefit the most from such ethnic identity constructions; are the elites of the emergent ethnic identity under construction; the political jobbers and ethnic identity entrepreneurs who become millionaires and billionaires as a result of the guaranteed access to state treasury [and thus guaranteed access to treasury looting]that new administrative configurations constructed on the basis of ethnic identities enable them to have; Hence the way that they continue to agitate for re-definition of the structural basis of administration and resource allocation.

If it is therefore true that as a polity, throughout our entire history and evolution, we have not been reducible to the simple arithmetic sum and collection of ethnic groups; then it is important, instructive, in fact decisive that we insist that any serious national dialogue process or conference cannot be reduced to a mere conference of ethnicities, or a mere national dialogue among ethnic groups.

This is a very important point and demand for citizens to make. A conference, the outcomes of which, citizens shall express their agreement or disagreement; a conference around which the citizens are expected to exercise their sovereignty over its outcome, cannot be an ethnic conference; because the people will not be voting in or as ethnic blocs!

And this point above leads us to a citizens based, and peoples’ needs focused agenda for the conference.

If we must repeat ourselves; the pressing issues affecting ordinary citizens, are national socio-economic and socio-political issues, not ethnic issues.
Poverty is rife across the country, regardless of ethnicity. 70% of us, that is 112 million citizens are living in poverty, this is a sixth of the total population of Africa!

18 million households across the country regardless of ethnicity or geo-political zone location are homeless: this is according to the Housing deficit figures given by the Federal Government itself! These 18 million housing deficits for 18 million households translates into actually 90 million Nigerians [18 million households x 5 person per household] that are either homeless or live in inhuman habitation! Now these 18 million is more than the population of the whole of Senegal and Gambia put together; while the 90 million housing poor is more than the population of either Egypt or Ethiopia!

Basic infrastructures are lacking, or dilapidated; roads are in terrible conditions and have become death traps; public healthcare and public education are in ruins; while private healthcare and education are priced out of the reach of the 70% [112 million] who live in poverty! Worldwide 57 million children of school going age are out of school; Nigerian children are 11 million of this 57 million!

Unemployment has become a grievous issue of concern; it grew from 8% in 1999 to 23.9% in 2012 for the general population; while among youths it is almost 50%, which is one in two youth of working age is unemployed and unemployable.

Yet in the midst of this grinding poverty, we have stupendous wealth, and crass ostentatious display of ill-gotten [stolen and looted] wealth.

The Richest African is a Nigerian, who is also the world’s 25th richest man, with a personal fortune almost equal to the entire external savings of the country! The richest black woman is also a Nigerian, with a personal fortune almost 50% of the country’s external debt portfolio! And of the 40 Richest Africans 15 are Nigerians!  Our legislators are not only among the highest paid in the world; they also have earnings 116 times the national per capital income of citizens! No wonder the gap between the rich and the poor is one of the highest the world over.

Through a combination of state patronage and treasury looting, including such other avenues as state protected criminal enterprise, as with oil theft and subsidy theft; we have arrived at a situation in which whereas, the top 10% of wealthiest Nigerians own and control 41% of national wealth; the bottom 20% own only a mere 4% of National wealth!

It is such inequality that have produced the massive poverty and impoverisation of the majority of the citizens; and that has led to the non availability and inaccessibility of basic services and basic social infrastructures; it is why we are one the top countries with the highest costs of doing business and with the lowest Business Confidence Index Globally, at barely 25% and standing 17th lowest BCI rate of more than 100 countries.

It is for all of the above reasons that we insist that the agenda for the conference is socio-economic and socio-political rather than ethnic; and it is for this reasons that we insist that representation must be on the basis of socio-economic forces, and not ethnic forces; and that it is this socio-economic forces who are represented at the conference, and who should also exercise their sovereignty on the outcomes and processes of the conference.

It is important that significant constitutional change will be, not just one that clearly resolves the nature and structure of the fiscal relationship of our federation; not only one that resolves the nature of the federation, whether it is two tier or a three tier federation; but one where the entire corpus of human rights, not just civil and political rights, but also socio- economic and cultural rights are guaranteed and made justifiable!

When they are made justifiable, we can institutionalize processes that ensure that on a yearly basis, governments at all levels give an account of what they are doing to fulfill these rights provisions; it is only then that annual state of the nation or stewardship addresses will make meaningful sense; and it is only then that we can ensure that political parties are established and operate on the basis of fulfilling the interests of the citizens when they get into power.

It is only if as citizens we struggle to ensure that a National Conference is called along these lines, structured in this way, with its outcome subject to a popular referendum, that we can speak of a ‘National Conference of the people, by the people, and for the people’.

Without our active struggle, in making and enforcing these demands, what we are going to be saddled with will be at best just another distractive, time wasting and money gulping process; or at worst, a chaotic and cacophonous debate that will inexorably precipitate violent crises.

It is our destiny that is at stake, let us intervene decisively and collectively to stamp our interests on the process and the outcome of the conference. If we do so, we shall be taking a definitive step to Take Back Nigeria, and liberate our country from the gluttonous death grip of these Vagabonds In Power!

Visit: takebacknigeria.blogspot.com; Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & @[DPSR]protesttopower; Interact with me on Facebook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Marginalisation Cry cannot be Justified by Northerners.


‘North Cannot Justify Its Cry Of Marginalisation

Former Secretary General of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Mr. Udengs Eradiri, in this interview with ONYEDIKA AGBEDO, speaks on the allegations by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and interim National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic and religious politics as well as other national issues.

HOW would you react to the recent allegation by former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic and religious politics?

The claim by el-Rufai that President Goodluck Jonathan is playing ethnic politics is unfounded because I don’t understand his reasons for making such allegation. How can he say such when almost the key agencies and parastatals of the Federal Government are headed by northerners. Is it the Customs, Immigration, Central Bank or the Police? So, northerners man all the main agencies of the government. Also, northerners own 95 per cent of oil blocs in this country. That is the worst form of marginalisation that anyone can mention. If we say that there is federal character, how come that a few individuals from one ethnic group own more than 95 per cent of oil blocs in a sector that feeds the nation? Is that not stealing? How can he even say that President Jonathan knows the oil thieves when he (el Rufai) knows them better?

So, for me, Nigerians should read in between the lines when these people make the claims to determine whether they are really sane. I think that they are taking advantage of the unlimited tolerance of the president. Nigerians should be grateful because this President is the only democratic leader that we have ever had. It is because of his democratic disposition that anyone can wake and abuse him. If northerners are complaining of marginalisation, I can’t imagine what the Yorubas would be doing. They are the ones that should be complaining considering their level of education and political clout because you hardly see them in key positions.

Don’t you think that the argument by the likes of el-Rufai may have stemmed from the award of contracts for the protection of oil pipelines and installations to some ex-militants?

I will tell you that if the contracts had been awarded to northerners, nobody will hear anything about them. We own the oil, so we are in a better opposition to watch over the installations in the sector. And if you look at the mining rights in the north, are they not owned 100 per cent by northerners? Have Nigerians ever sat down to discuss that? Are those natural resources not owned by Nigeria? Will someone from the Niger Delta go up north to safeguard those mining fields?

Do you suspect any political undertone to the former minister’s claim?

They have always tried to frustrate the efforts of the Jonathan administration from day one, so I am not surprised that he is making such claims. But unfortunately for them, it won’t happen. Anyone who wants to attack Jonathan’s 2015 ambition should come to the table with issues. In fact, I am challenging Nigerians to insist that Jonathan should be the oldest president that we will have henceforth. We cannot from a young president like Jonathan go back to someone who is over 70 years.

How can you plan a future that you won’t be part of? How can they be talking about an alternative president and not looking at young people? What do we have to do with those who misled us in the past? We see Jonathan as a young president and if there are lapses on his side, the youths who are majority of the electorate in this country should rise and tailor him to the right track because there is no perfect being.

There is this perception that the Jonathan administration has not done enough in the fight against corruption. What is your take on that?

You should realise that it takes time to achieve result and there are steps that a true democratic government cannot take. You don’t expect a government that respects the rule of law to be tying people on the stakes like the military junta. Besides that, I ask the question: Are we ready for change? How can we swallow Western practices hook, line and sinker? Can’t we adopt the Chinese model, which is anchored on their culture? Like I have always said, a true federal system is the only way forward for this country. The foundation of Nigeria is faulty and until we correct that anomaly, we will continue to see indices from international organisations reminding us of the level of poverty and corruption in Nigeria.

How do we correct the faulty foundation when the National Assembly has refused calls for a national conference, insisting that it is constitutionally empowered to amend the constitution?

For me, the ethnic nationalities should refocus their agitation towards a unified agitation for the convocation of a sovereign national conference. If Nigerians rise and insist on a national conference, the members of the National Assembly cannot stop it. What credibility do they have to say no that; a group of people who will sit down and pass a bill for my three-year old daughter to be married by a 70 years old man? They have really lost credibility and I don’t see them being in a position to decide whether we should have a sovereign national conference or not.

We should realize that power is not given on a platter of gold. We should stop window-dressing the issue as we are doing now. We have seen what happened in other parts of the world where the people came out to demand for their right, but in Nigeria it is a different thing. For now we are not ready, may be when the suffering gets worse, we may rise to demand for our rights.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Dickson Framing My Husband – Wife of Detained Ijaw Youth Politician.


 

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa Sate
By SaharaReporters, New York

The wife and family of a detained Ijaw youth politician, Nengi Ikiba, has accused the Bayelsa State government of conniving with the police to frame up their son. Mr. Ikiba is facing trial over his alleged involvement in cultism.

Mr. Ikiba, a former aspirant for the Bayelsa House of Assembly in the 20011 general elections, is being detained by the police over allegations that he is the leader of a cult group called the Greenlanders.

But the detainee’s wife, Preye Ikiba, told newsmen at a news conference in Yenagoa on Wednesday, that the allegations against her husband were trumped-up by agents of the state government in connivance with the police to “deal” with the husband.

“My husband is being persecuted because of his political aspiration to contest the Presidency of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC),” she said. Ms. Ikiba added that her husband “had told me  before his present travails  that Felix Tuodolor, a commissioner in the state, had called him to step down his ambition to contest the IYC election, but he refused. He said Tuodolor had threatened to deal with him.”

She explained that her husband never wanted to contest the IYC elections, but was persuaded to join the race after pressure from prominent personalities in the Ijaw nation.

According to her, since the arrest and detention of her husband, the police had refused to arraign him in court, a development that has raised fears in the family that the state government was out to deal with Mr. Ikiba.

Mr. Ikiba was detained after he had presented himself to the police who had asked that he appear before them to respond to an alleged petition against him.

“My husband had gone to the police after they summoned him to appear, but on getting there, he was quickly arrested and thrown into detention,” said Ms. Ikiba. She continued: “When we heard about it, I went with his elder brother to the police. We were later told by a police officer we met that Nengi is being detained because someone wrote a petition against him that he is a cult leader in the state.”

She disclosed that his family retained a lawyer who filed a case of unlawful detention before the Federal High Court in Yenagoa. The court then ordered the police to try the suspect within 48 hours or release him unconditionally.

“The police have refused to take my husband to court as directed by the court. This is injustice. They have decided to keep my husband in detention without trial. This is injustice of the highest order,” said Ms. Ikiba.

She added that the police informed the family that Mr. Ikiba was being detained over allegations that he had sent some cult boys to murder someone in 2005, a charge she said was trumped-up by the state government.

“The Bayelsa government and the police authorities have ganged up to deal with my husband because of politics. My husband is not a cultist. People who know him very well can attest to this. This is a case of oppression,” the detained suspect’s wife asserted.

Despite the failure to arraign Mr. Ikiba in court, officials of the Bayelsa government have been disparaging him publicly, a development that appears to bear out the family’s claim that he is a victim of political persecution. In a statement circulated to the press on Tuesday, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Bernard Kenibai, a special adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson, castigated Mr. Ikiba. He stated: “The arrest and detention of an alleged leader of a notorious cult group, Mr. Nengi Ikiba, would serve as a deterrent to his likes. Our declaration of war against cultism and other related vices has begun to yield dividend.”

The governor’s aide was, however, silent on the flagrant failure by the police and state prosecutors to obey the Federal High Court’s order to arraign the suspect before a court or release him.

“Colonel Kenibai’s statement is against the spirit of the Nigerian legal system which presumes each suspect innocent until found guilty by a competent court,” said a Yenagoa-based lawyer.

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