Stakeholders under the auspices of the Ijaw Elders and Professionals Forum (IEPF) has alleged a move to trick Ijaw leaders across the Niger Delta region into attending a meeting that has a hidden agenda to endorse the second term bid of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri.
The IEPF in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Samuel Mpigi James, described the ongoing plan to hold the Ijaw elders meeting as a complete endorsement charade and warned former President Goodluck Jonathan and other credible Ijaw leaders to abstain from it.
James said: “We have very credible reports that the Douye Diri-led prosperity administration is attempting to hold what it styles as Ijaw Leaders meeting very soon to, on the surface discuss contemporary issues concerning the Ijaw nation and its future, especially politically.
“The Ijaw Elders and Professionals forum believes that such meetings are healthy even if they occur only sporadically. The concern is the political undertones behind it
“Our very revered and respected Ijaw leaders (including former President Goodluck Jonathan) are to be tricked into a so-called pan-Ijaw meeting only for the organizers, the Chief organiser being Justice Francis F. Tabai, (retd) to swiftly turn the agenda into a Douye Diri endorsement galore.
“While this is completely disrespectful for the Ijaw leaders and the respected invites on Justice Tabai and Senator Douye Diri’s list, the IEP feels this undermines and disregards the Ijaw nation as a whole”.
The IEP said if the meeting eventually held amidst controversies as planned, its members would be well represented to monitor the proceedings.
The group said if in the course of discussions it veered off Ijaw development and delved into endorsements of candidates, its members would promptly stage a walkout and make extensive public condemnations of such development.
The group wondered why Justice Tabai should be fixing such high profile meeting instead of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and vowed to query every move by Tabai to actualize the hidden agenda of the meeting
The group asked Ijaw especially persons in Bayelsa, to vote the candidates that best suits their reality without sentiment, intimidation or inducement.