Itsekiri youths in their hundreds on Tuesday, protested the alleged ceding of Warri North chairmanship seat to Egbema Ijaw, as they took their grievances to Asaba, the State capital.
The Itsekiri youths during their protest in Asaba, said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Warri North were masterminding political tension in the area. They urged party leaders to avert the impending crisis by reversing the decision.
The protesters vowed to use legal means to stop the ceding of Warri North chairmanship to Egbema Ijaw, insisting that all interested aspirants should be allowed to purchase forms and be screened.
They carried placards with inscriptions like “We will never recognise any ceding of Warri North chairmanship to Ijaw”; “Warri North, stop the trading of Itsekiri”; “Itsekiri leaders, the youths can’t breathe”
Mone Oris, who spoke for the protesters, said instead of the PDP Electoral College with 25 persons, which should select candidates through primaries, only ‘two people masterminded the process from their homes and choose a candidate without consulting others in the council’.
He called for a PDP primary to be conducted by the 25 stakeholders to select the right candidate and allow a level playing field for all to participate.
President of Movement for the Protection of Iwere Homeland, Development and History (MPIHDH) James Aderojor stressed that Warri North chairmanship can’t be ceded to non-Itsekiri. He added that if the decision is not reversed, political peace will not be enjoyed in the area.
Aderojor cautioned those allegedly behind the decision to desist from such ‘failed political calculation’, saying ‘Ogheye Ward alone is more than the four Egbema Ijaw Wards in the local government area’.
Okowa’s Senior Political Adviser Funkekeme Solomon, who addressed the protesters, described the governor as a man of peace ‘who believes in fairness and equity across’.
He praised the youths for their peaceful disposition while assuring that their protest will reach the governor.