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Gov Diri, Ijaw leaders seek creation of two new states



By Markson Ode

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Ijaw stakeholders have demanded the creation of additional two new states for the Ijaw people.

This call was made on Saturday when some Ijaw leaders met in Bayelsa State to rekindled the advocacy for additional two states for the Ijaw nation.

The Ijaw leaders converged at the 25th remembrance anniversary of one of the founding fathers of Bayelsa and monarcof Kolokuma, late King Geoffrey Aganaba organised in Yenagoa.

It was gathered King Aganaba was celebrated by former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Douye Diri, and an ex-military administrator of old Rivers State and monarch of Twon-Brass, Alfred Diette Spiff and other prominent Ijaw leaders during the weekend.

However, Governor, Diri, called for the creation of two additional homogeneous Ijaw states, adding that the Ijaw ethnic nationality deserved more than one state in the Nigerian federation.

According to him, the founding fathers had requested three states before the military junta of the late dictator, General Sani Abacha, created only Bayelsa.

The governor who described Ijaw as the fourth largest ethnic nationality in the country, lauded Aganaba for his contributions in the creation of Bayelsa, noting that it was not the end of the clamour for more Ijaw states.

While commending late Aganaba for his sacrifices for Ijaw people, Diri noted, “The creation of Bayelsa State is not the end of it; it is indeed the beginning of the agitation.

“We still have other two states that we proposed that have not been created and we must make that clear to the Nigerian government that the Ijaws are still craving for the creation of two additional homogenous Ijaw states.

“Today, most of us; governors, past and including myself serving, permanent secretaries, heads of service, speakers of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, members of the state House of Assembly, commissioners are all enjoying the sweats of people like Geoffery Filinti Aganaba. We cannot but honour and recognise our heroes past.”

He stated his government established the policy of recognising and honouring Ijaw heroes saying it was the reason he named the Bayelsa Media Complex after the great Ernest Ikoli.

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In his remarks, Jonathan, who was represented by a former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), appealed to Ijaw people to rally around one another, describing Aganaba as “a man with an exemplary lifestyle.”

The governor reiterated that succeeding generations would judge the efforts of present leaders with standards far higher than what is currently obtainable.

The former president said, “All of us have a duty to this state to ensure that this state gets to a point that succeeding generations will come and judge us with standards far higher than what we have now. Things are changing, it is a computer age; they will scrutinize us. But if they do that, can you stand out? He, Aganaba, has actually passed that test.”

On his part, Diete-Spiff, who was represented by the monarch of Ekpetiama Kingdom, Bubaraye Dakolo, said that Aganaba worked very hard for the creation of Bayelsa.According to him, “The late Aganaba was born at a time when it was difficult to go to school when he took 28 days to get to Lagos by canoe and then later when he took three days to get to Lagos by engine boat. In spite of all these odds, he was able to make it to primary school, secondary school, and the university.”

In the same vein, the Chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and monarch of Opobo Kingdom, Dandeson Douglas Jaja, added the name Aganaba signified a man who came into the world to liberate his people.

He observed that Bayelsa had been at the forefront of celebrating and recognising those who contributed to and fought for its creation.