From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has disassociated itself from what it described as an unauthorised statement attacking the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike over a planned protest.
President of IYC, Mr Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a document issued on Thursday said the anti-Wike statement never originated from the council and that its content did not represent the true position of the IYC.
According to Igbifa it was disingenuous for anybody to suggest that a governor, who is the chief security officer of a state lacked powers to stop any agitation capable of causing troubles or crisis in a state.
While noting that Wike and other governors in the region remained critical partners in the region alongside the Ministers and others, he pledged that IYC will continue to work with all the governors of the region, other ethnic nationalities and leaders from across the Niger Delta to achieve the mandate of the IYC in the overall interest of the Ijaw nation.
The statement said: “The council at no time authorised the statement, which tried to belittle the Rivers State Governor, downplay his powers and create an impression that the IYC is on a collision course with Governor Nyesom Wike.
“We listened carefully to the governor when he received the Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, who paid him a courtesy visit on February 2nd, 2021.
“Wike specifically said that the NDDC was not the birthright of any ethnic nationality (including his Ikwere ethnic group). The governor also said that he would no longer tolerate protest capable of causing problems and crisis in the state.
“The Governor of Rivers State is not and will not be against genuine and non-violent protest any day any time. The council makes bold to say that the IYC is not at war with the Rivers State Government.
“The governor’s remarks were in line with the position of the IYC’s leadership that the NDDC belongs to the entire Niger Delta region. It was also in harmony with the resolve of the council not to heat up the polity and destabilise the region with unnecessary politically motivated protests, which can degenerate to violence.
“We had earlier said that the council would adopt other means of peaceful agitation to actualize our objectives while protest could be deployed as the final card on the table. Even if at any time we agree as a council to protest, we must consult all stakeholders including governors and make our intentions known to security agencies.
“Therefore, we find it preposterous, disrespectful, unwarranted and dishonourable for anybody to try to twist and personalise Governor Wike’s remarks, which at best should have been viewed as a piece of advice from a critical stakeholder.”