Open Letter to IYC 2020 Election Delegates and everyone concerned

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As we approach the new date of the much anticipated IYC elections, I feel a strong impulse to write this note to as many Ijaw men and women with the heart, will, resources, contacts, sincerity of purpose, influence and all; and to the delegates that are saddled with the responsibility of making a very significant decision that will not just have far reaching effect in the trajectory of the long confused, if not abandoned Ijaw struggle but also on the future of Ijaw Youth Council and Ijaw Nation at large.

This election is coming at a time when many well meaning Ijaw leaders are beginning to reconsider their strong resolve to identify with and support the ideals of the IYC as conceived by the actors actively involved in the struggle and subsequent declaration that gave birth to the once revered and prestigious vehicle known as the IYC.

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The IYC use to be revered, perceived and known to be a veritable Ijaw Rottweiler that can bark and even bite harder, deeper and longer into the arteries of what matters most to the Nigerian State, through her network of interdependence in the same struggle. In a nutshell, when IYC barks, State actors cringe and activate multilevel intelligence protocols and also initiate multilevel stakeholder engagements to forestall losses, not of lives (they don’t care) but of what matters most to them.

My people, what has gone wrong with our beloved IYC? How did we allow these enviable powers of the IYC to be whittled down by a few people who expectedly should understand the purport of the Ijaw struggle but decided against the greater good to use it for their pecuniary interest? How can we reactivate the hibernating dread of the IYC again?

I will not attempt to answer all the above questions except the last one ¬– How can we reactivate the hibernating dread of the IYC? The forthcoming IYC Elective Convention is a rare opportunity for Ijaw youths to make the right decision to reposition the IYC on the path of exploits for the greater good of the present and future of Ijaw Nation. This can be achieved by the quality of recruitment into the executive council of the IYC.

As delegates in a very important election as the forthcoming election on the 17th and 18th of July 2020, your job is a tough job and i don’t envy you all – though i know some us may not really understand the enormity of the assignment ahead of us and the murky power play going on in the Nigerian State at large. Ignorance is not a good enough excuse

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Due diligence has to be done in your expected quest to choose the right candidate for Ijaw Nation. At such crucial time of our history as a people, our choice of candidate should be devoid of guess work and should under no circumstance driven by the ‘stomach infrastructure’ phenomenon.

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Little wonder why some of our much respected elders have decided to speak/write on their opinion of who the better candidate is, for the office of the President of Ijaw Youth Council. This is not a time to sit on the fence. It’s a time to take sides for the good of Ijaw Nation without selfish motivation.

We all as delegates, members of Council, leaders, elders, stakeholders and Ijaws at large have a common incentive to be actively interested in the outcome of the forthcoming election as a people with common ethnic destiny. This incentive is the kind of Ijaw Nation we want to bequeath to our children and our children’s children to the number of generations our various eyes can see.

Oil deposit is finite, our environment is heavily degraded, every cleanup effort in any part of the Niger Delta is a scam, and the extent/scope of the implementation of the Presidential Amnesty (Armistice) Program is an insult on our collective intelligence, Niger Delta Ministry is a joke, Niger Delta Development Commission is at best a circus show, instead of declaring a state of emergency on the development of the Niger Delta, what we get from the Nigerian State is a massive deployment of ground troops, armoured personnel carriers and fully mobilized air strike ready/hungry air force – strategically positioned across our region, we don’t need a soothsayer to tell us of the covert and well executed campaign to quieten some of our most brilliant, strategic, resourceful and consensus building voices.

At such trying times as we are at this moment, we cannot afford to do nothing and say nothing in the direction of the IYC, INC and Ijaw Nation of our dreams. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. If we don’t take advantage of the opportunity before us in this forthcoming election to change our recruitment and selection process as well as the quality of personnel that runs the affairs of our Ijaw organisations, starting from this IYC election, the consequences may be extremely alarming, perhaps beyond what we can imagine now; or at best, we may have by our inaction moved forward by three years, maybe six, a decade or more – the commencement of the much needed reactivation of the true Ijaw struggle which is obviously the pathway to our genuine emancipation as a people.

We all cannot afford to consent or conspire to keep silent when deep down, at our core, we feel an impulse to do something to change the narrative for the greater good of Ijaw Nation. Our Inaction and carefree disposition on the state of our Ijaw organisations somehow has a ripple effect on the quality of life of our people and exacerbates the stench of poverty in our communities, especially in remote places. The ongoing pandemic has further exposed the fact that Ijaws are not regarded as first class citizens in Nigeria.

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The education our kids have access to in our communities, including oil bearing communities has been nothing short of a disgrace – from unqualified zilch passionate teachers not showing up or taking the kids seriously, to furniture-less rundown ramshackle classrooms; and now the minds of our little ones in our communities has been left completely redundant as a result of the shutdown of schools.

Their counterparts in the Southwest enjoy a measure of ad hoc arrangements to keep their minds busy through online learning, radio learning and some community based interventions to keep the mind of their kids engaged-but what do we have? Your guess is as good as mine. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs did not consider the deprived and depraved peoples of Bayelsa State in their confusion laden audio palliatives and there was no respected IYC or INC to amplify the suppressed, intimidated and hungry voices of our people seeking palliatives at a time that enviable industries and corporations needed one.

Great but stranded destinies in our largely inaccessible communities have given up on politicians and are yearning for quality servant representation on the saddle of our beloved IYC and INC platforms, with the capacity to strategically engage the Nigerian State, IOC’s and international communities to reverse the inhuman treatment meted on the region that is undisputedly the feeding bottle of Nigeria.

Dear delegates and those who have the ears of one or more delegates. It is my wish to let know that the choice of who you vote for any office in the forthcoming IYC elections should not in any way be determined by the weight of the envelope you receive(yes you have been told delegates make a lot of money). Your conscience is not for sale.

What is at stake is bigger than your personal needs. Whether you receive any gift from any aspirant or not is up to you. The immediate and remote concern of Ijaw Nation now is to have you vote for the best candidates that possess the capabilities required in delivering on the job maximally the expectations placed on council at such a time as this.

Your choice should not be determined by the depth of the pocket of an aspirant or his sponsor is but on the strength of character, capacity and passion for the job. I know you want a better deal for Ijaw Nation and the noise coming from various campaigns, not of tangible deliverables for the benefit of Ijaw Nation but of monetary incentive to sway the voting decisions of delegates may be confusing, thus making it slightly difficult to know who to vote for. It is easy to know.

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Anyone offering you huge sums to buy your vote doesn’t have your interest at heart. You and your vote is not for sale. You decide whether to collect the money or not but vote the right candidate. You will get money from more than one candidate yet you can only vote for one candidate per office so vote for the best candidate and not the highest paying candidate.

We need a candidate that will serve the interest of Ijaw Nation and not an ijawstrugglepreneur that won’t take your call after assuming office. Out of the 12 aspirants vying for the office of the President of Council, I know five personally and i have checked contents from all twelve. Three are serious contenders and others are pretenders in the race for the top job of Council and if i may add, out of the three serious contenders, one stands head and shoulder above the others.

You have seen or heard from them all and you know the one I am talking about already – though he is not the one with the deepest pocket but he is the one with the depth, intellectual prowess and content of character that we need at such a time as this. If you have not already decided to cast your vote in his favour, it is either you are yet to realise that this contest is not about the highest bidder for your vote or you do not realise the implications of this 2020 elections on the survival of council and the attendant benefits of a vibrant council on our fighting chance as a people in this skewed and imbalance Nigerian State.

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Like some respected elders and leaders who know, I won’t sit on the fence. He is: Maobuye Nangi Obu.

He understands our issues

He is in touch with the elders

He is a youth

He is intellectually sound

Well travelled

He can hold his own anywhere duty calls

He is humble

He will deliver…

I can go on and on but I have to conclude this note. 2020 is already the year that changed the world. We have seen changes in systems, technology, how we conference, commute, worship etc. Make your own personal sacrifice to see the wind of change sweep through IYC. Vote Maobuye Nangi Obu. If we miss the exceptional opportunities 2020 is availing us as a people to change the way we conduct our emancipation business, well, I can only say we would be missing a lot. Vote Maobuye Nangi Obu for President Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide. Ijaw elders believe he will deliver – Ijaw youths that genuinely want a better deal believe he will deliver. Decide now. Stand for something impactful and historic.

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