Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The newly president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Benjamin Ogele Okaba, has commended Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri for non-interference in the just concluded election for national offices of the INC, held over the weekend in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
INC has been enmeshed in a protracted leadership vacuum over inconclusive elections that were stalled after suspected political thugs invaded the venue of the election in 2019.
Okaba, Professor of Sociology at the Federal University Otuoke in Bayelsa State, from Kpakiama in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, who emerged president, commended Governor Diri for his role in ensuring a hitch-free electoral process and for his decision not to interfere in the emergence of national officers of the INC.
Okaba assured Governor Diri and the Ijaw people that the leadership would work hard to move the Ijaw nation forward, adding that the new leadership would be an asset to the governor, constructively engaging him whenever the need arose.
He stated that with electronic voting, the Ijaws have proved that what was thought impossible elsewhere was possible with them.
Governor Diri charged the INC to protect the interest of the Ijaw nation at all times in order to reposition it among ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as making the remark during the visit of the new leadership of the INC to Government House, Yenagoa, after its convention.
The governor, who expressed joy over the emergence of the INC leadership, called on them to set aside political interests and work towards repositioning the INC.
‘I am indeed the happiest man that out of this electoral process, we have a brand new executive of the INC. There is a hand of God in your election. It was God’s own design using everyone of us to ensure the loud silence of the Ijaw nation would no longer be,’ the governor said.
‘On no account should you compromise the interest of the Ijaw people. I believe very strongly that the Ijaw nation is going to be heard.
‘Have it at the back of your mind that your paramount interest should be that of the Ijaw ethnic nationality. You have chosen to lead the Ijaw people.You are the president of the Ijaw people and not the president of any political party.
‘Let it be that under your tenure, the Ijaws make remarkable progress and have some degree of autonomy they have been looking forward to. Let it be that you wrote your name and that of other members in gold.
‘As you all know, I kept to my words that the government of Bayelsa State would not interfere with the electoral process. I never invited any member or chairman of the electoral committee to any meeting. Even the contestants that are close to me, I never had contact with them. Indeed, this is the best election,’ Governor Diri stated.