A former national president, Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, and Niger-Delta activist, Dr Chris Ekiyor, has implored Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to revisit his plan to upgrade some academic institutions in parts of the state to university status by including Ijaw in the initiative.
Dr. Ekiyor, a one-time Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state told Vanguard: “Including Ijaw in the plan will give the ethnic race a sense of belonging and afford the people opportunity to be educated.”
His words: “I join my voice with those demanding that Ijaw be considered for one of the proposed universities and I make particular reference to the Polytechnic in Burutu which can be upgraded like others .”
“While I commend Governor Okowa for the initiative, I take with mix feelings the news that of all the schools being upgraded to university, none is located in ijaw area of the state. This action does not equate to the contributory roles the ijaw territory play in terms of oil and gas generated revenue and voting strength.
“Most secondary schools in Ijaw areas are also in a state of disrepair and need urgent government intervention. The governor should in a bid to balance things approve the inclusion of Burutu Polytechnic for upgrade to University and site another Polytechnic at Bomadi or Patani, as we are completely left out in the mega infrastructure drive of the Okowa -led government.
“This is also an indictment on the Ijaw political leadership in the state. We have to double up in our negotiation skill and ensure that ljaws get what is due them. That is the essence of ljaw coalition in the Delta politics, unfortunately such coalition only exist to seize power after which we stop meeting to strategise for the ijaw benefit,” he said.