By Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli
Ijaws need to put aside the poor mindset of ‘it is my turn to chop” mentality and see beyond the immediate. Our people need to realize the grand conspiracy to subjugate and also render us voiceless and powerless.
The conspiracy pre-dates the contemporary Nigerian State.
For us to grasp the crux, there is the need to refresh our minds by reminding us that whatever Ijaws are going through today are as a result of the destructive traps that the British set as revenge against our resistance of their exploitative tendencies even before the colonization of Africa and the subsequent amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914.
In order to perpetuate the exploration and exploitation of our enormous resources, they decided to render us politically powerless by creating only three (3) regions: Northern, Western and Eastern.
Having succeeded, they balkanized Ijaws into the three regions in their bid to drive us into extinction. That is the reason we have Ijaws in Abia, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Niger, Plateau and Rivers States.
The coinage of the concept of “WAZOBIA” which is greetings in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo was a deliberate attempt to further undermine Ijaw people.
The above are deliberate ploys to weaken and possibly annihilate us. Had it been possible, by now our Ijaw identity and the Izon language would have gone into extinction.
IJAW SURVIVAL STRATEGIES
Since the inception of human race, Ijaws have deployed two basic survival strategies in our bid to survive the conspiracy and aggression against us.
Our leaders like King William Dappa-Pepple of Grand Bonny, King Akalisuo of Okaa-Akieyi (Okarki-Engenni) the Odeidi-Ejiro, King Ibanichuka of Okrika, King Jaja of Opobo, King William Fredrick Koko of Nembe, King Amachree (Amakiri) of Kalabari, our great Chiefs and other Warriors during the legitimate trade and slave trade era used VIOLENCE as defence mechanisms against the European adventurers, imperialists, explorers, merchants and colonialists.
In the independent Nigerian State, Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, Captain George Amangala, Captain Boardman Nyananyo, Captain Samuel Owonaro, Lieutenant Nottingham Dick and their followers applied the same Violent strategy to press home their demands and also call the attention of the world to the plights and sufferings of our people.
In our contemporary society High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo GOC, King Ateke Michael Tom, Chief Ebikabowei Victor Ben aka General Boyloaf, Hon. Farah Dagogo, Chief Bibopre Ajube aka General Shoot-at-Sight, Very Distinguished Comrade Paul Eris aka General Ogunboss, High Chief Dr. Selky Torughedi aka General Young Shall Grow and other Ex-Militants used the same tactics to call the attention of the International Community, Nigerian Government and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to the plights and sufferings of the deprived, neglected, overexploited, marginalized, oppressed, suppressed and repressed people of the Niger Delta and the Ijaw nation in particular.
While our fathers like High Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye, Chief (Sen.) Dr. Melford Obiene Okilo, Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, Chief F.H.E. Brisibe, Chief George A. Weikezi, Admiral Festus Porbeni, Vice Admiral Victor Ombu, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Ombu, Prof. C.A. Dimie, Chief P.Z. Aginighan, Chief Joshua Fumudoh, Prof. Kimse Okoko, Dr. Dinma Denni-Fiberesima, Mr. Douye Diri, Wing Commander P. Biakpara, Dr. S.A. Bobo-Jama, Mr. Erastus U. Patrick, Chief H.H. Krukrubo, Cletus Monie Ozeke, Chief Chris Ghomorai, Prof. Atuboyedia Obianime, Chief J.E. Benamasia, Deacon Ekiyor Welson, Navy Capt. Allen Ojujoh and others device NONVIOLENCE APPROACH to the Struggle.
Other adorable proponents of NONVIOLENCE agitation are Comrade Joseph Evah, Chief T.K. Ogoriba who combined Violence and Nonviolence, Barr. Oronto Natei Douglas, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, Dr. Kingsley Kuku, Dr. Isaac Asume Osuoka aka Thomas Sankara, Emmanuel Oyeinfie Jonjon, Dr. Patterson Ogon, Von Dimieari Kemedi, Prof. Peterside Sofiri, Miabiye Kuromiema, Mummy Primrose Kpokposei, Ibiba Don Pedro, Ann Kio-Briggs, Elfreda Elungwe, Rosebella Jackson, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, Comrade (Engr.) Udengs Eradiri is like Chief T.K. Ogoriba that combined Violence and Nonviolence and a host of so many other outstanding sons and daughters of the Ijaw nation in the Struggle for the emancipation cum liberation of our great people from economic and political servitude.
THE NEED FOR MODIFICATION OF OUR STRUGGLE PATTERNS CUM APPROACHES
While I commend the various approaches that were adopted in the seven epochs and phases of the struggle, it is important to do some introspection vis-a-vis our successes.
Now, proper analysis of the Struggle reveals a missing link and a very key ingredient which is: PROPER FINISHING. Our lack of proper finishing has often given our aggressors great opportunities to use us against each other.
Moving forward there is need to set TARGETS and TIMELINES.
Outside what we are facing at the National Level in National Politics due to the grand Conspiracy against our great people, here in the Niger Delta leaders of the other minority groups are replicating the same.
Look at what Dr. Peter Otunanya Odili former Governor of Rivers State did to the Ijaw people. He deliberately put in place structures that will make it so difficult for Ijaws to govern the new Rivers State. Gov. Ezebunwo Nyesom is replicating the same. Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi did the same as Governor and also applied the same when he had a firm grip of NDDC. Chief (Sen.) Godswill Obot Akpabio is applying the same Divide and Rule system on Ijaws.
They deliberately throw crumbs to distract Ijaw people and when we are fighting, blackmailing and antagonizing ourselves, they are busy packing our Commonwealth and patrimony.
Our people need to be strategic. We need to define exactly what we want.
America is the WORLD POLICEMAN. But as they go about their leadership and policing work, they don’t lose sight of their targets and benefits.
It is an indisputable fact that the IJAW NATION is the POLICEMAN of the geographic Niger Delta region. Today, can we point to our strategic benefits from Niger Delta Development Authority (NDDA), Oil Mineral Producing Area Commission (OMPADEC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Niger Delta Ministry?
Our people need to wake and think straight. We must realize that there are deliberate attempts to keep us as Perpetual TOOTHLESS BULLDOGS. They bark so much now but cannot bite.
While we commend and celebrate regional bodies like the BRACED COMMISSION, South-South Peoples Assembly (SSPA) and Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), there is an urgent need to revive the most revered IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC). We cannot be fighting to put the larger houses together, while our nuclear house is in a mess.
The revival of INC will put a stop to the present madness where everybody is speaking for the Ijaw nation at the same time.
It is my fervent prayer that the Ijaw nation shall regain her prestigious and very enviable position among the comity of ethnic nations.
I wish every one of us a fruitful and very prosperous 2022 ahead.
Most Senior Comrade Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli
Mirror and Conscience of Society.