BORO DAY: Gov. Diri Preaches Peace To Warring Communities in Bayelsa

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By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Government has directed the Commissioners of Justice, Lands and Housing and Urban Development as well as Local Government and yCommunity Development to qimmediately resolve the conflict among the three communities of Otuabagi, Otuogidi and Oloibiri over the location of the Oloibiri National Oil Museum and Research Centre by the federal government.

The State Governor, Senator Douye Diri represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the directive on Tuesday at this year’s Boro Day celebration at the Ijaw Heroes Park in Yenagoa, the state capital.

He said the matter should not be left for the Ijaw National Congress (INC) alone to handle in order to enthrone enduring peace and stability among the three communities in the Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

As he puts it, “It is sad to realize that we fight over the crumbs that fall from the table because of some differences. As we speak, some persons have taken the federal and state governments as well as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to court over the location of the Oil Museum. That’s a wrong signal.”

He saluted the sacrifices and contributions made by Boro and his contemporaries for self-determination and self-actualization, stressing that the present administration remains committed to celebrating Boro’s ideals of resource control, justice and true federalism.

While urging the youths to espouse the ideals that the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro stood for, Senator Diri reminded them that the departed hero during the struggle to emancipate the ethnic minorities of the Niger Delta did not engage in acts such as cultism, kidnapping, militancy, armed robbery and other societal ills.

He therefore advised the youths to redirect their energies towards deploying intellectual means to advance the Niger Delta struggle against injustice, marginalisation and underdevelopment.

As he puts it, “the youths must recalibrate their energies positively towards ensuring that the struggle descends from criminality to intellectualism.”

The governor, who also spoke on the forthcoming governorship election in the state, implored the youths to reject politicians who would use them to perpetrate electoral violence and thuggery.

He commended the youths for the relatively peaceful manner this year’s Boro Day and urged them to rally round the Senator Diri-led administration to turn their fortunes around.

In his remarks, President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof Benjamin Okaba said the this year’s Boro Day celebration was the 55th anniversary to mark the demise of the departed hero.

According to Prof Okaba, the INC and similar bodies should reflect on the issues Boro fought against such as oppression, marginalisation, environmental degradation and other ills bedeviling the ethnic minorities of the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.

He stressed that though the people of the Niger Delta were still being shortchanged, they must reman united and continue to fight for their rights through legal and intellectual means.

Chairman of the Bayelsa State Founding Fathers, Chief Benedict Gwembe, who represented the Pan Ijaw and Niger Delta Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, stressed that the era of using violence to actualize the struggle for resource control was over and advocated peaceful means to achieve justice, equity and fairness.

Also, Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Hon. Patrick Erasmus said Boro left a legacy of self-sacrifice and doggedness in the struggle for emancipation and applauded the Ijaw Youth Council for organizing a lecture in immortalalising the memory of the Ijaw legend.

Highpoint of the celebration was the laying of wreaths by the deputy governor Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, representative of Chief Edwin Clark, Chief Benedict Gwembe, President of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, representative of Chairman of the state legionnaires, Elder Peter Igoin, and Esther Boro, who represented the Boro family.

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