The Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw, a group made up of professionals in the Niger Delta have observed with dismay the naked dance and divisive tendencies of the Spokesman of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Ebilade Ekerefe, over critical and sensitive issues that could jeopardise the future aspirations of the Ijaw Nation and throw the Niger Delta region into avoidable security crisis if not well-managed.
A statement issued to newsmen by the Coordinator, Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw, Lambart Olambo said as professionals, the group is constrained to warn Ekerefe to stop arrogating his personal ambitions and selfish interest over the general aspirations and safety of the Ijaw nation and the entire Niger Delta region.
Olambo commended the President of IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, and his council for opting for an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting to deliberate on issues affecting the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta including the current management structure of the NDDC.
The statement stated that ” Igbifa and his council also directed all agrieved persons to halt all protest planned in the name of the council against the appointment of Effiong Akwa as the sole administrator of the NDDC and allow the proposed meeting articulate a common position and marshal out action plans.
” We are, however, miffed that after such sound decision was taken by Igbifa and his council, Ekerefe, whose only duty is to propagate and spread the disposition of the President and the council, issued a counter directive faulting such collective decision and calling for a protest.
“We want to make it categorically clear that the responsibility to lead IYC dwells with the President of council and not the spokesman. Igbifa as the President will render an account of activities, actions, programmes and projects that occur within his tenure as the leader of the council. He takes responsibility for everything that transpires; receives the praises and bears the blames.
“Ekerefe was not elected to make decisions for the council and is debarred from arrogating such responsibility to himself. It is, therefore, an abominable, contemptuous and irresponsible act laced with high dose of arrogance for a spokesman to counter the decision of Igbifa and his council.
“Who gave Ekerefe the power to speak against the directive of the President? If he wants to hold a personal view or criticise the decision of the President and council, he should first resign his position as the spokesman of the IYC”.
Olambo noted that the WPI stand by the decision of Igbifa and his council and challenged Ekerefe or anybody to lead a protest in the name of IYC against NDDC before the stakeholders’ meeting.
“Anybody, who goes contrary to the directive of Igbifa is challenging the office of the IYC Presidency and will surely get consequential overdose of such disobedient act.
“We are warning all the youths not to be deceived by the antics of Ekerefe. We know all his actions are being bankrolled by the enemies of the Ijaw nation, who want to throw the entire Niger Delta into civil disobedience.
“We have also intercepted intelligence that other ethnic nationalities are planning counter protests, which may lead to bloodshed. What will it profit Ekerefe to see the blood of innocent Ijaw youths shed on the streets of the Niger Delta?
“Why is Ekerefe desperately and hypocritically obsessed about organising protests against the appointment of Akwa? Is it because he is not from core Ijaw Bayelsa? The same Ekerefe did not think of leading youths to protest against Keme Pondei and his inglorious reign of the dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC.
“Even when a probe of the National Assembly revealed massive mismanagement of funds meant for Niger Delta under Pondei, Ekerefe and his co-travellers did not block the smallest street in Yenagoa to demand for his removal. Obviously he supported Pondei because he is from core Ijaw Bayelsa and he is now opposed to Akwa because he is from minority or non-core Ijaw of Akwa Ibom.
“We understand that those, who have given Pondei a false impression that he could be favoured to lead a new board of NDDC if Akwa is sacked are behind Ekerefe’s desperation for protest. Those backing him have also assured him that he will be appointed an adviser to Pondei if he returns as the Manging Director, NDDC. But we want to tell Ekerefe that Pondei will never return to NDDC in any capacity”.
The group is therefore calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute Pondei over allegations of financial rascality levelled against him while in NDDC.
“As a matter of fact, Ijaw youths should not allow the likes of Ekerefe to endanger their lives. As IYC President and his council has said no protest in the name of IYC will be allowed against NDDC before the stakeholders’ meeting.
“Those, who may be deceived to disobey this directive will be doing so at their peril. We will be on ground waiting for them.
“We want to warn parents to take this directive seriously and advise their children and wards to stay away from any protest called by Ekerefe and his co-travellers, who want to see the blood of Ijaw youths shed on the streets of Niger Delta,” the group concluded.