IYC seeks Ijaw local government area in Edo State

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has called for the creation of autonomous local council for the Ijaw people of Edo State, which it said, is the only way to douse the prevailing tension between the Ijaw and the Benin people.

Besides, it said Ijaw communities such as Egbema, Olodiama, Gbarain, Furupagha and Okomu Ijaw Kingdom need to be allowed to live together in a separate local council so that they could live in peace among themselves.

A statement signed by the IYC President, Eric Omare and made available to journalists in Benin City, said that the creation of autonomous local council is the panacea to the growing tension between the Ijaw people and the Bini in Edo State.

“The reason for the Bini laying claim to Ijaw lands in Edo State and the over lordship of the Oba of Benin is because of the balkanisation of the Ijaw people into three Benin-dominated local councils in Edo State, namely Ovia South West, Ovia North East and Ikpoba Okhai local councils as micro minorities despite their huge population and treated like third class citizens in their own country.

“The Benin people and the Edo State government should emulate the example of Ondo State where the Ijaw of Apoi and Arogbo have an autonomous local council known as Ese-Odo Local Council of Ondo State and allowed local political freedom to choose their leaders and treated as equals in the affairs of the state.

“Unlike in Edo State, in Ondo State, the Ijaw have council chairman of their own, member of the House of Assembly, a member of the state executive council, have produced members of the Federal House of Representatives, former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and currently the deputy governor of Ondo State,” the statement stated.

In another development, the Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the state government is planning to conduct a “midnight” local council election that will ensure that All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates emerge winners in the election. 

In a statement issued at the weekend in Benin City and signed by the state Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, the party accused the state government of interfering in the administration of local councils in the state through a bill sent to the Edo State House of Assembly by Governor Godwin Obaseki demanding the immediate amendment of some sections of the law establishing the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) particularly the reduction of statutory 90 days notice before local council elections to a mere 45 days. 

However, Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, said there was no plan to conduct a secret local council election, as it is impossible to do so.

He said: “It is completely false. There is no such thing as a secret election. The PDP is desperate and when people are desperate, they say all sorts of things. Edo people, Nigerians and everyone else has stopped taking them serious.”

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EdoIjaw local governmentIYC
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