Peace Tamuno, Yenagoa.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), on Monday stated that the Niger Delta youths care less about zoning but about a president that will prioritize issues affecting the Niger Delta region.
Speaking on Monday in Yenagoa with newsmen, the Spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council, Abilade Ekerefe, said that the group was looking beyond the principle of zoning.
According to him, our concern as IYC and as a people, is to vote for a leader that will be able to unite the country and restore hope, provide employment, eradicate corruption and fight insecurity headlong.
Ekerefe explained that the people of the region were less concerned with the zone that would produce the next president, but on the candidate that would provide solutions to the Nigerian question as well as address the issues of the Niger Delta.
“Basically that is what the Ijaw people and the Niger Delta people are interested in. It is not necessarily on the basis of zoning. What if you zone and the president that emerged through that process do not prioritize the issue of the Niger Delta question?
” We are looking for a president that will put the Niger Delta issue as a major priority like the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua did with his seven point agenda. The Niger Delta was one of his top cardinal point of his agenda.
“The IYC, has been on the front burner in agitating for a restructured Nigeria that will reflect the true principles of fiscal federalism.
” If the presidential aspirants are not talking about a restructured country that will devolve power from the centre to the states and local governments, we don’t think the Niger Delta people will want to align with such presidential aspirants.
“If a presidential aspirant is not talking about how Nigeria as a country will be secured with a strategic roadmap on on how to industrialize the Niger Delta region, a strategic roadmap on how the Niger Delta region will be cleaned up and restore the lost hope of our people. Then he should count us out,” he stated.
On the clamour for Ijaw governors in Delta and Rivers States, the IYC spokesman called on the other ethnic groups in the two states to give the Ijaws the opportunity to superintend over the affairs of the two states.
Ekerefe added that especially when the Ijaws had not been given the opportunity to govern any of the two states, despite their contributions to the socio-economic and political developments in the states.
“Our position is clear that the Ijaws in Rivers and Delta States have contributed so much to the socio-economic and political developments of these states and since the fourth republic these our people have not been given the opportunity to superintend over the affairs of these states.
”Therefore we are using this opportunity to call on other ethnic groups in Rivers and Delta States to give an Ijaw man the opportunity to govern these States considering the contributions of our people in these two sister states,” he stated.