By NBF News

Outgoing Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) President, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, has warned northern elders over their statements insisting that the North produce the President in 2011. Ekiyor in an interview reacting to the meeting held by some northern leaders in Abuja and Kaduna drumming support for the retention of the zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which would effectively hinder President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting, noted that such calls are retrogressive and a disrespect for the sensibilities of the Niger Delta people.

While admitting that the elders have a right to gather and discuss the political aspirations of the region, explaining that making calls against the political aspiration of Jonathan would be resisted by all well meaning Niger Deltans.

Ekiyor advised the northern elders to stop fanning the embers of tribalism and division and present a credible candidate who could compete in the 2011 elections.

His words: 'If they feel they can gather as charlatans and issue threats to the nation, we will resist them. We have tried as a region to sustain the nation through oil and we demand the Presidency with all passion. 'The Niger Delta provides the resources that sustain the nation but they said we cannot provide the right leadership to lead the nation. It is wrong. They should present a candidate and forget those things they are saying. If they continue the call for the country to disintegrate over this issue of zoning, we will tell them we are ready. It will be better for the nation to support a Niger Delta President in 2011.'

Ekiyor disclosed that the rising tension over the zoning debate had made the convening of a youth summit in Abuja inevitable. According to him, the summit, which would hold in July, would deliberate on the zoning issue and the position of the various political leaders.

Ekiyor whose tenure expires on Friday, July 2 recalled the achievements recorded under his tenure and maintained that his administration achieved what it set out as its agenda in 2007. He said under his tenure IYC internationalized the Ijaw struggle and was able to galvanise support of other ethnic nationalities in the region and change the perception of people against the Ijaw struggle.

According to him, it was under his tenure that the region achieved demilitarisation, disarming of armed youths with the IYC contributing fundamentally to the granting of amnesty to freedom fighters in the region.