Rivers 2015: Over 20 Groups Drum Support For Ijaw Governor

Plan To Hold A 50,000-Man Unity Rally To Collect 25,000 Signatures

By Information, Communication & Strategy Committee EDPA Youth Wing

Over 20 youth and other groups affiliated to the Eastern Delta Peoples Association (EDPA) have canvassed support for candidates from the riverine areas for governor in Rivers State come 2015.

The youths spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during the inauguration of the students and youth wing of the association.

EDPA is the umbrella socio-political organisation of Rivers Ijaw communities spread across 10 local government areas of Rivers State.

The spokesperson for the youth group, Adonis Pepple recalled that the people of the riverine part of Rivers State have played second fiddle in the affairs of the state for too long.

“We are concerned that the Rivers Ijaws have been pushed out for too long in the state. On 2015 polls, we have resolved to support a Rivers Ijaw candidate. We therefore encourage all men of goodwill, lovers of justice, equity and unity to stand up for the truth. The vote of the people of Rivers State is not for sale.

“We have charged ourselves with the responsibility of ensuring one on one voters' education as well as ensured that our people are mobilised for the electoral process as we seek the support of others to produce the next governor of Rivers State come 2015, by the special grace of God.”

“The EDPA, our parent body, is the umbrella socio-political organisation of Rivers Ijaw communities spread across ten LGAs of Rivers State.

“We focus and pursue the socio-political and economic integration and advancement of the creek dwellers of the state.

“Our leaders have agreed with us the people that having honourably participated twice since the advent of the current political dispensation in 1999 and supported four times the people of the hinterland in good faith to produce, occupy and serve Rivers State as governors for the permissible two terms in office in each occasion, we ask for the same measure of friendship and support that we have freely given in the past, to enable a daughter or son of our challenged locality to occupy the Brick House and give adequate attention to our plight and that of other Rivers communities", they demanded.

He added: “We shall be promoting injustice and exclusion of Ijaws in Rivers State, if someone else from the hinterland insists on occupying the seat of the government for another eight years. That will make it 24 years of exclusion of a people and that is unacceptable in any society.

“We have seen varying forms of maneuvering, selling of outright lies, distortion of history and inducements to deny Rivers Ijaws the same opportunity that we freely gave to our brothers in the past , thereby seeking to erase us out of the political equation of Rivers State.”

The youths said they plan to hold a 50,000 man unity rally at Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt this October "to strengthen our bond and mobilise support of all fair minded citizens to support this just cause of the emergence of a Rivers governor of the Ijaw extraction".

“We also have 20 groups that have also expressed support and solidarity in this noble pursuit. They include Eastern Delta Youth Assembly, Rivers Coalition, Ijaw Youth Council - Eastern Zone, Ijaw Project 2015, Ijaw Youth Mandate, Ogoni Alliance, Etche Brothers Assembly, Ikwerre People's Alliance, Ekpeye Assembly, Ogba Unity Forum,Eleme Peoples Assembly, Wakirike Youth Congress, Kalabari Youth Front, among others. Let it be on record that all Rivers Ijaws are united in this mission which we consider as the path of justice and equity.

They added: "Already, EDPA has collected not less than 25,000 signatures endorsing the rally and more persons by the day are expressing support for the emergence of a Riverine Ijaw person as next governor of Rivers State.

“We are satisfied that Eastern Ijaws or Rivers Ijaws have solid, credible and competent young men and women who can offer real leadership to the state. Finally, we must at all times show our well-known spirit of accommodation of others and our unity in diversity and continue to co-exist in happiness.

“This is the most important service we owe to our people and ancestors. This will mean a big win for the people of Rivers State. It's a consideration that will pacify all agitation, join new hands in friendship and strengthen existing relationships. This panacea will stabilise our polity, save lives and help more of our people to live free of fears. This is the agenda that Rivers People prays and shall vote to uphold come 2015," they said.

Information, Communication & Strategy Committee
EDPA Youth Wing