Niger Delta: Nigerian government has neglected us – Clark

Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, said the Federal Government of Nigeria had been unfair to the Ijaw ethnic nationality of the Niger Delta.

Clark, a former Federal Commissioner for Information, lamented that the time had come for the Federal Government to address the issue of long years of neglect to which the Ijaw had been subjected by the Nigerian state.

Clark spoke while hosting Governor Seriake Dickson, who led a high-powered delegation of Bayelsa government officials and Ijaw leaders to his Kiagbodo country home in Delta State, on a New Year visit.

He urged the Federal Government to have the right attitude to address the Ijaw factor in the Nigerian federation, this year.

“This New Year will touch the heart of the Federal Government that the Ijaw people have been neglected for too long. Something has to be done for them. We want actual appreciation, something has to be done for us,” he said.

The Ijaw National Leader also commended Dickson for excellent leadership and delivery of the dividends of democracy in Bayelsa State.

Clark hailed Dickson for the construction of the 40-year-old Sagbama Ekeremor road which he described as a marvel.

According to him, “You are the man who speaks for us. We are very proud of you. God will continue to guide you. Those who want to cause trouble will be taken care of by God. I listened to the governor in 2017 when he was declaring an emergency in education and I was waiting to see what that meant. Recently, he invited me to Bayelsa to see what he has done. He invited General Gowon and his wife. And what I saw in the field of education, if I don’t say it publicly, I will be doing harm to myself.

“Gowon told me at the airport that he had not seen any school like that. Apart from the building, the students know what they are doing. I was very proud of them, and the governor said that the students are drawn from all Ijaw communities with the head girl coming from Arogbo in Ondo State.”

Speaking, Governor Dickson said he led the delegation to Kiagbodo on a Christmas and New Year visit to Pa Clark and other top Ijaw leaders in the country, among others, to consult the Ijaw leader on issues of urgent importance to the Ijaw nation.

He called for more unity in all the segments of the Ijaw movements, especially the Ijaw Youth Council.

He said: “We will consult on other issues of urgent importance both at the level of Ijaw nation, and the level of the larger Nigerian nation. Our leader is there to encourage us, to support us. So, apart from bringing season’s greetings and warm felicitations to our leader and our father, I am also here to consult our leader because we have an urgent task to put the Ijaw nation together.

“We have an urgent duty to put all sections and components of the Ijaw movement together. I want to make a public call for unity at all levels. I call for unity in the IYC. I want to see greater unity, greater display of dedication at all levels in the course of service to our people. I call for support as we move together to reposition the Ijaw nation as we move forward. I call for peaceful coexistence in all the states where we have the Ijaw nation. I also call for justice, fairness and equity.”