Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has charged the new executive of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to protect the interest of the Ijaw nation at all times.
Mr Diri gave the charge on Saturday when the new INC executive, led by its President, Benjamin Okaba, a professor, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor urged the leadership to set aside their political interests and work toward repositioning the INC.
Mr Diri expressed happiness that the new leadership emerged through a rancour-free and exemplary electronic voting process after years of the organisation being comatose.
He said, “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 every one of us to ensure the loud silence of the Ijaw nation would no longer be.
“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 Ijaw nation makes remarkable progress and have some degree of autonomy they have been looking forward to.’’
On the electronic voting system adopted for the electoral process, Mr Diri noted that the Ijaw people had shown that they were pacesetters.