The people of Rivers State of the Ijaw ethnic nationality have endorsed the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan and the candidacy of the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike, as governor of the state in the forth-coming elections.
The Ijaw people have also called on Governor Chibuike Amaechi, to apologise to Jonathan for “making misguided and embarrassing statements locally and internationally against the president.
The endorsement and the call for apology were contained in the communiqué issued at the first Rivers Ijaw Peoples’ Summit held in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
The communiqué, signed by Ijaw chiefs, elders, opinion leaders, women and youths said the summit collectively resolved that all Rivers people of Ijaw extraction should vote for Jonathan in the March 28, presidential election.
They also called on all Ijaws in Rivers State to vote Wike in the gubernatorial election in appreciation of his support for Jonathan at the peak of the political crisis in Rivers State.
The Ijaw people also noted that while the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. DakukuPeterside, has a right to contest under any party of his choice, he should endeavour “to ensure that he promotes peace and concord in Rivers State and in particular, Ijaw land.”
They noted that for the Ijaw people to succeed in their quest for the enthronement of a fair and equitable political arrangement in Nigeria, they “need to build bridges of friendship, co-operation and collaboration not only across the River Niger but also with other groups within the Niger Delta.”
“We must accept the current reality that members of other ethnic groups within the Niger Delta, particularly Rivers State, who genuinely support and identify with the Ijaw cause, are no less Ijaw than the Ijaw men and women here gathered,” they said.
The Ijaws pointed out that their support for Wike was hinged on his unalloyed loyalty to President Jonathan which he demonstrated by “leading an onslaught against those using the machinery of the government of Rivers State to frustrate the good works of an Ijaw son, President Jonathan.”
They noted that Wike had supported Jonathan and deserved the support of all Ijaw people, unlike other people of Ijaw extraction who had preferred the candidate of the APC, Gen. MuhammaduBuhari (Rtd.) to Jonathan.
They also called on all eligible Rivers Ijaws to vote for all candidates of Ijaw extraction who are running for election under the PDP in Rivers State.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the summit, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, denounced persons “who have made it their pre-occupation to issue press releases in the name of some non-existent groups in Rivers State, claiming to speak for Ijaws in the state.”
He alleged: “It can be said that there is a link between those self-styled Rivers Ijaw elders and the APC and I make bold to say that it is not mere coincidence but part of a grand conspiracy involving them, Governor ChibuikeRotimi Amaechi, and certain persons who now constitute the top leadership of the APC, all against the PDP and the re-election of President Jonathan.”
By Mene Gbarabe