President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Benjamin Okaba has said the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to meet the demands tabled before him by Ijaw leaders during their last meeting in Abuja may lead to the declaration of a Republic by the Ijaw Nation.
According to Okaba, though the final ratification on the declaration of the Ijaw Republic depend on the outcome of the a proposed all Ijaw Elders’ conference, the demands before President Buhari include issues of true federalism, resources control and self determination.
The President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Benjamin Okaba made this known yesterday in Yenagoa during a reception and award of excellence organised by the people of Akassa, Nembe and Ogbia communities in honour of the National Vice-President 2 of the INC, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio and the National Legal Adviser, Mrs. Bomo Tom’s Fetefigi-Obhe.
Okaba, while relieving the meeting between the Ijaw Elders and President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock, said when the delegation of Ijaw leaders sat with President, “We looked at him eye ball to eyeball and told him that if he does not meet out demands, we will declare a Republic.”
He however noted that despite the peaceful and cordial discussion with President Buhari, there are indications that some political elements are being used to divide the Ijaw Nation and derail the United position of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
Okaba warned those behind the anti-Ijaw nation to desist and stop comparing the Ijaw Nation to the Oduduwa and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), “there is no room for further neo-colonialism. It either we are answered or we are moving out.”
“Even when we are crying that the PIB is against us,the government is against us. We have also heard that the water resources bill is coming back. In fact they want to take over our waters, land and our lives.”
He also pointed out that the final decision by the Ijaws on the declaration of Ijaw Republic will be taken after the proposed Ijaw summit to be attended by Traditional Rulers, activitists, political leaders and other stakeholders in Ijaw Nation.
Also Speaking, the Paramount Ruler of Ogbia kingdom, His Eminence, King Dimaro Owaba called on Ijaw leaders to be united while demanding for those issues that will promote equitable development in the region.
He noted that despite the contributions of the Niger Delta region in terms of oil wealth, the region have had it bad in the Nigeriam polity, “if the Federal government discuss with the people of the region and give an increase percentage in wealth distribution to the region, the people of the region will work with the Federal government.”