Ijaw leaders on Monday reiterated their call on Federal Government to completely jettison its military option towards addressing the Niger Delta crisis, saying the move would not yield the desired positive result.
This was the central message of goodwill speeches delivered at the first memorial lecture held in honour of the late former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha at his hometown, Amassoma, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Addressing a large crowd of supporters of the departed Ijaw hero, Governor Seriake Dickson urged the Federal Government to intensify its efforts at developing the Niger Niger Delta by tackling peculiar needs of the people, especially in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare delivery and education.
Represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Retd), the Governor who described late Alamieyeseigha as a bridge builder and passionate crusader of Ijaw national interest, challenged Ijaw sons and daughters to see his departure as a rallying point to forge a united front to demand for equity and fairness in the region.
He acknowledged some of the achievements of the late former Governor, including the establishment of the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, which he noted, has contributed in no small measure towards boosting the growth of education and human capacity development in the state.
Governor Dickson expressed gratitude to all, who attended the event from within and outside the state, the chiefs and people of Amassoma and particularly the Southern Ijaw Local Government Council for its offer to bankroll the Alamieyeseigha memorial activities next year.
Other speakers, including the President of the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, elder statesman and politician, Chief Thompson Okorotie, Chairman of Southern Ijaw Council Area, Mr Joshua McCaiver, and an opinion leader in Amassoma Community, Mr Eric Avi all stressed the need for the Federal Government to attach seriousness to the ongoing calls for dialogue.
Comrade Eradiri specifically urged President Muhammadu Buhari to emulate his predecessors, such as Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo by being part of the dialogue table, rather than mandate proxies to negotiate with the people of the Niger Delta.
The IYC President also re-echoed his call on the Federal Government to stop forthwith, what he describes as unwarranted attack and harassment of the immediate past first family of the country, noting that, the ongoing selective media trial of wife of the former president, Dame Patience Jonathan masterminded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission shows disrespect for the Ijaw nation.
Reviewing a book titled, “Alamieyeseigha: The Man, The Legend”, Chief Willie Bozimo described the former Bayelsa Governor as the second freedom fighter of the region, who showed rare courage in championing the Niger Delta cause, which was vehemently opposed by an oppressive group he calls the Wazobia conspirators.
According to Chief Bozimo, the 20-chapter book written by Gesikeme Akprakasa in a conversational style, contains the documented memoirs and interviews of the late Amassoma-born hero.
In their separate remarks, Chief Okorotie and Mr Avi described Chief Alamieyeseigha as a lover of peace and recounted the intermediatory role he played, which helped to resolve the Ijaw/Itsekiri, OPC/Ijaw and Arogbo/Ilaje crises.
On his part, the Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Mr Joshua McCaiver noted that, the continued militarisation of the Niger Delta would only worsen the already existing disconnect between the federal government and the region, even as he identified total restructuring of the country as veritable solution to the myriad of problems confronting the nation.