Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Dr Ebi Franklin Waboke: 

The Niger Delta referred to and meant by the ijaw struggle is strictly and unchangeably the area occupied by the ijaws, the aboriginal tribe of the delta basin of River Niger partitioned into six states in the present geopolitics of Nigeria. It spans the coast of the bight of Biafra, from the Forcados river to the Opobo river and upstream to the Niger tributaries of Nun and Forcados rivers.

The ijaw areas are in present Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo and Ondo states known as the South -South region of Nigeria. This is a geographically very complex terrain with a criss cross of rivers, rivulets, canals and dense forest nourished by rains all through the year. The region full of natural resources and provided for the sustenance of Nigerian politics and the economy.

Unfortunately, the region has become the booty of successive regimes of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s majority tribes for exploitation, impoverishment, neglect, underdevelopment, environmental degradation and pollution. Recently causing slow death of ijaw people from the air poisoning in the ijaw areas of the Niger Delta.

This aroused the spirit of self determination in the Niger Delta culminating in the declaration of the Niger Delta People’s Republic by the Ijaw youth, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro of Kaiama in present Bayelsa state, on the 23rd of February 1966, with himself as the General Officer Commanding the Niger Delta Volunteer Service(NDVS), as Force behind the struggle and executing it.

The Ijaw struggle for a Niger Delta People’s Republic was to demonstrate to the world what and how the Ijaws feel about oppression in Nigeria by the majority tribes. Ever since the struggle has undergone series of transformation and advancement in Nigeria in all facets. The Niger Delta struggle is the Ijaw struggle, the Ijaw struggle is for the Niger Delta People’s Republic for the Ijaw aborigines of the Ijaw territories in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

This distinction and clarification needs to be made now even though the non aborigines in the present Niger Delta region making up the South -South geopolitical map of Nigeria are the major beneficiaries of the Ijaw struggle. The Ijaw struggle has brought a lot of resultant benefits and advantages to the entire region. Cases in point include the increase of oil derivation revenue, and the consistent and continual agitation for its upward review and further increase to the oil producing states, with majority of the resource locations being situated in the Ijaw aboriginal areas. And the establishment of development intervention ministry and agencies for the region.

Ironically, the Ijaws in most of their present states of origin are minorities except for Bayelsa and Rivers states. And they continue to suffer what they are suffering in Nigeria even in their present states due to their minority status. The majority tribes still continue to allocate the dividends from the Ijaw resources as booty for their advantageous expropriation, exploitation, impoverishment, neglect, stagnated development and personal accumulation. Against the development needs of of the Ijaw areas of the Niger Delta region.

The non Ijaw tribes of the Niger Delta region who make up the majority tribes in the South -South states, have turned themselves as the new hausa -fulanis in their respective states to supervise the non development, economic stagnation, continuous neglect, environmental spoilation of the ecosystem, and the Ijaw people. The Ijaws are the burden bearers of the nation. But for how long will this last?

So for Movement for the Development of Ezon Youths(MOVDEY, there is a need to properly posit that the original vision of the struggle remains, and the original territories remain, and the original struggle continues and transforms itself in the light of contemporary realities of the times. For the sake of emphasis, in Nigeria, there is no Niger Delta struggle but the Ijaw struggle, and finally to reiterate the position as ably amplified by Alhaji Mujahid Asari -Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta People’s Savation Force, that there is no nothing like Niger Delta struggle but Ijaw struggle and that other ethnic groups should leave the Ijaws to enjoy the benefits of its armed struggle it waged against the the Nigerian nation.

Dr Ebi Franklin Waboke.

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