By Eunice Nnachi, Yenagoa
Ijaw leaders including the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Benjamin Okaba, on Monday, described the creation of Rivers and Bayelsa States as a direct product of the martyrdom of Late Isaac Jasper Boro.
Speaking at separate wreath laying ceremonies in Kaiama and Yenagoa as part of activities for this year’s Boro Day celebrations, Governor Diri paid glowing tributes to the departed freedom fighter for laying his life down for the good of the Niger Delta region.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo at both events, the Governor insisted that the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta region would have been far more backward than it is today without the heroic struggles of late Isaac Boro.
Governor Diri used the opportunity to commend his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, for bringing the remains of late Boro from Lagos to his native Bayelsa for proper interment in line with the traditional beliefs of the Ijaw people.
While thanking the youths for always coming out en masse to venerate the Ijaw freedom fighter, the Governor, however, warned them not to criminalize the Boro Day celebrations and the Ijaw struggle.
His words, “While there are a lot of people who aspire and assume the sentiments of Boro, a lot of people do not reflect the characteristics of Boro in their aspirations and determinations and the things they do.”
“As a youth, who is Boro to you? Was Boro involved in oil bunkering, cultism, kidnapping, or involved in disrespecting elders? The answer is no. Was Boro involved in vandalising Federal government and State government infrastructure in his community? The answer is no.
“So, if you are talking about Boro and you are doing these things, to what extent is Boro in you? Clearly, such people walk naked, thinking they are wearing the clothes of Boro.
“For the sake of the Boro we celebrate today, our youths who have worn white, green, blue and red which symbolises peace, fertility, strength and the blood of our people that has been spilled respectively; please do not take more blood in the name of looking for money.
“Cultism and vandalisation were not part of the characteristics of Boro. Our youths should redirect their energy to the productive aspect of Boro. No doubt Boro was against oppression.
“We want to salute the courage, the tenacity and the heroism of Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State for bringing the relics of our father(Boro) to lay here and we can now see him here. We also salute him for creating this memorial park”, he said.
In his remarks, the Member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency One, Hon. Tonye Isenah, called on the people of the Niger Delta to prevail on the Federal Government to inaugurate the statutory Management Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) without any further delay.
In their separate goodwill messages, the President of Ijaw National Congress, Professor Benjamin Okaba and Spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, urged Ijaw people to be security conscious and do everything within their reach to protect themselves and their communities.
They said the Ijaw struggle for self-determination must continue, stressing that the INC and IYC would not support criminality but always strive to protect the Ijaw interest.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo and the President of Ijaw Peoples Association of Great Britain and Ireland, Rev. F.B. Akpanari, emphasised the need for Ijaw people not to betray the ideals Late Isaac Adaka Boro stood and fought for.