Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has affirmed his readiness and total commitment to the Ijaw cause and interest, saying he would defend the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the Nigerian federation.
Diri vowed that the Ijaws, who are domiciled in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Ondo and Akwa Ibom states, the fourth largest ethnic group in the country, would not play second fiddle to any tribe.
He stated this weekend during a meeting with the Ijaw Leaders Consultative Forum in Yenagoa.
Diri, who was the pioneer Organising Secretary of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, hinted that, as governor of the only homogeneous Ijaw state, he would not relent in spearheading and championing the Ijaw cause or interest.
He also called for unity of purpose among all the Ijaw speaking people to ensure that, the Ijaws in the Niger Delta region are not relegated to the background.
“For us to continue to improve the lives of our people, we must have unity of purpose, we must be united as Ijaw people and shouldn’t be seen to be pulling down ourselves,” he said, noting that the meeting was convened to enable him interact with the group as they were part of the struggle that led to the creation of Bayelsa State by late General Sani Abacha in 1996.
He congratulated them, noting that, as one of them, he mounted the seat of power, while soliciting their support and contributions to ensure the progress and development of the state and the Ijaw Nation.
Diri also expressed appreciation to all Ijaw leaders, who have brought honour and dignity to the Ijaw Nation, while assuring all Ijaws of his commitment to protect their interest at all times.
“Bayelsa is here to accommodate all of us. Bayelsa is here to have a listening ear to Ijaw people living within and outside the state and the Niger Delta region.
“For our brothers and sisters in other states like Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Delta, wherever we have our own indigenous Ijaw people, I want to seize this opportunity to inform you that a new Sheriff is in town and that I will protect you wherever you are,” he said.
In a brief remark, Spokesman of the Ijaw Leaders Consultative Forum, Elder Timi Ogoriba lauded the governor on his emergence and assured him of their readiness to support and work with his administration to succeed.
Elder Ogoriba, who was a one time leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethic Nationality in the Niger Delta, MOSIEND, however admonished the governor exhibit exemplary leadership different from his predecessors.
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