Again, Ijaw leaders meet on true federalism
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday
at his residence in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take a second look at the 2014 National Conference report, insisting that it holds the key to resolving several challenges currently being faced by the country.
Jonathan who spoke when Governor Seriake Dickson paid him a visit to intimate him of the work being done by the committee set up by Ijaw leaders on restructuring, said many of the current issues which fall under the purview of the committee were exhaustively treated during the 2014 National Conference which when sincerely implemented would douse tension in the polity.
He said it was a good idea that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to set up a committee to look into the same grey areas which featured prominently in the deliberations of the 2014 Conference.
Jonathan had in the first quarter of 2014 inaugurated the 492-member body headed by Justice Idris Kutigi, which after about four months, submitted its report on which the majority agreed on several knotty issues problems ailing the country.
Once queried on why he did not implement the report, the former president had said the time between when the report was turned in and the 2015 election was too short to do anything tangible.
A statement made available in Yenagoa by the Special Adviser to Governor Dickson on Media Relations Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, yesterday added that Jonathan also commended the governor for playing the leadership role of coordinating the thoughts of the Ijaw people on the sensitive issue of restructuring.
He said the governor must be appreciated for ensuring that the Ijaw nation did not speak in discordant tunes on the issue, maintaining that Dickson was performing the leadership role in accordance with expectations by coordinating the Ijaw people on restructuring.
“I am pleased with the calibre of people who came with the governor to brief me on the issue of the recommendations of the APC Committee on restructuring.
“I must say that I am happy with the role being played by the governor on this issue of restructuring. Ethnic nationalities must not speak with discordant tunes on such pertinent issues. I am pleased that Dickson is coordinating the Ijaw nation.
“I am also pleased that the APC set up a committee to look into the grey areas to come up with these recommendations. When we were in government, we came up with a confab and several issues were addressed which if sincerely implemented would encourage relationship in the country.
“A sincere implementation of the recommendations on these grey areas will make the country to move forward,” the former president said.
Dickson, who led the delegation of Ijaw leaders to Jonathan to deliberate on the matter, along with other top Ijaw leaders called on President Buhari and the leadership of the APC to be sincere with the implementation of the recommendations of the party’s committee led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.
The group maintained that a holistic and sincere implementation of the recommendations of the report on restructuring would encourage inter ethnic harmony and development in the country.
Dickson said that he led the delegation of the Ijaw leaders to the former president to consult with him and to brief him on the steps the Ijaws had taken to build bridges of understanding in the pursuit of what is right in the country.
He concurred with Jonathan that the recommendations contained in the report of the APC committee were the same as those contained in the 2014 National Conference.
He said: “As you all can see, this is a high-powered delegation of Ijaw elders and leaders from all the zones from Ijaw nation. I am leading them to meet and consult with our respected leader, the former president and also to brief him on steps we are taking.
“Steps we will continue to take to unify our people to build bridges of understanding and to support all that is right and good, not only in this region, but across the nation.
“As you are aware, there is a raging issue of restructuring and moves made to bring about a fairer, egalitarian, stable and prosperous Nigeria. And here, in this state and in this region, we are proud to have our leader, the former president.
“So, today we came to brief him about the steps we are taking to study all the reports, including, the reports of the 2014 confab which was rightly empanelled by Mr. President and it is gratifying to note a number of the recommendations given by the APC panel are the same conclusions that the 2014 confab arrived at.”
It was learnt that the meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting of top Ijaw leaders at Kiagbodo, the country home of Pa Edwin Clark on January 20, 2018 during which a 15-man restructuring committee comprising some of the best brains in Ijaw land was set up.
The meeting which had in attendance, the Governor of Bayelsa, Clark, Alabo Graham Douglas among several others resolved that in the 2019 general election, the Ijaw people would reject anyone who does not support the restructuring of the country.
First published by Thiday