By Emma Amaize
ASABA- IJAW Youth Council, IYC, came hard, weekend, on the Delta State Government over alleged exclusion of Ijaw ethnic group in the 70 road projects recently approved by government for reconstruction and rehabilitation in the state.
National President, IYC, Roland Perpetual Oweilaemi and Chairman, IYC, Western zone, Frank Akiefia accused the government of marginalizing Ijaw communities in terms of development.
Oweilami said: “The Ijaw speaking areas in the state are being alienated in the distribution of democratic dividends. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa should not by act or omission sideline or marginalize the Ijaw people in the state given the fact we have the electoral value to determine the fate of any government in the State.
“Just recently, the Delta State government approved the reconstruction and rehabilitation of over 70 roads across the three senatorial districts of the state. Regrettably, none was approved in any of the Ijaw areas as if we are not part of the state. This is a democratic apathy taking too far. The Ijaw man can no longer accept to be a second fiddle human being.
“Governor Okowa should reconsider his decision and immediately approve works in Ijaw areas. For the three years of stewardship by this present government, Bomadi local government area has no road project ongoing to the credit of Sen. Okowa. Not much has been given to Patani, Burutu and Warri South West. The Ijaws in Warri North has no single taste of democratic dividends from the present government,” he said.
Frowning at the segregation, Akiefa, IYC, Western zone leader, said, “It is unfair considering our urge contributions to the economy of the state and the total support giving to this administration for Ijaws to be neglected and left out in the construction and rehabilitation roads and other infrastructural projects on going in the state.”
“There is no gainsaying the significant role road infrastructure development plays in economic development of a state and therefore, the kilometre-age of paved roads and other infrastructural projects existing in the Ijaw communities is often used as an index to assess the extent of their development.
“The proper development of road network not only reduces the cost of transportation, both in teams of money and time, but also helps in the integration of various communities, and it is so obvious that the Commissioner of Works, who ought to direct the Governor on issues of this importance, deliberately neglected the Ijaw communities.
“We are equally disappointed at Ijaws in government, hence we are passing vote of no confidence on the Ijaw commissioners and House of Assembly members in the state for sleeping over issues of this magnitude and failure to protect the Ijaw interest and they should as a matter of urgency resign,” he said.