– by Kenigbolo Meya Stephen
– Let me begin by saying I have nothing personal whatsoever against Dickson. During his elections I never supported him as I believed Bayelsa deserved better than a choice between Dickson and Sylva. Leadership is not about being the boss but more about being a servant and this is a quality that both Sylva and Dickson lack immensely. Before I get into the issue of herdsmen, I will like to take us down memory lane. Everyone from the shores of Nigeria down to Ghana and throughout Europe and the US who actually know me can tell comfortably that I am an ardent critic of the Buhari led administration. Some call me an ethnic bigot, but those who know me well can tell I’m more nationalistic than most of the so called nationalists. I am not ashamed to say I am an Izon fundamentalist because without being an Izon man I will not by extension be a citizen of the Nigerian state.
Henry Seriake Dickson was elected against all odds by the people of Bayelsa mostly due to the fact that the Izon man has been witch hunted, maimed, exploited and marginalised by the invaders from Futajallon. Despite harbouring the vast majority of the natural resource that keeps the country afloat, our region has been in a despicable state for decades. In as much as we blame the sadducees from the north, I have always maintained that the biggest problem of Izon land has always been the Izon man himself and this is currently being exhibited by the Dickson led administration. Bayelsa is referred to as the Jerusalem of Izon land and during Dicksons elections Izon otu from all corners of Nigeria, from Arogbo in Ondo down to Opobo in Rivers state reiterated their desire to ensure Bayelsa doesn’t fall into the hands of the APC which is seen as a party against the progress of the Ijaw land as was exhibited by the lies Rotimi Judas Amaechi peddled about the Nigerian Maritime University.
Today Dickson has decided in his “all knowing wisdom” that it is pertinent to give land in Bayesla to herdsmen and the shameless INC central zone have turned into attack dogs for anyone opposing this madness. My question is simple, is Dickson more Izon than any of us? Was Dickson elected to protect our interests or his interest? If there is a gap in information dissemination, is it not in his place to call all stakeholders and clear the air? Is Dickson now a god in Izon land or was he conferred with the title of Egbesu chief priest without any one of us knowing? Like my friend Aluzu Ebikebuna Augustine asked me yesterday, “How did we get to this point”?
I have taken time to give a flash back in history in order to enable whoever is reading to understand that this is not an opposition related stance but rather one for the well being of the Izon man. We are all witness to the maiming by the fulani herdsmen going on in Nigeria, it is something I do not want my grandchildren or great grand children to experience and the concern is not about today or 5 years from now but rather one about the future. We do not want the unborn generation to spit on our graves.
I perused extensively through the press release by the INC central zone and I must say that I am not only disappointed but now worried about the institution called INC as it is quite obvious they have been pocketed by the BYSG. I am ashamed because the hunger in the land has affected the pride of the Izon man and made us forget who we are and what we stand for. I will not react to the INC out of respect for the organisation and what it ought to represent however I will point out that the INC has failed the Izon nation.
According to claims, the Izon people cannot do without meat. This is the most preposterous thing I have heard in recent times. My ancestors were fishermen, very few were actually hunters and they survived. If the government see that the Izon’s cannot live without meat then I expect a logical thinking government to know that this is a business venture that will yield a huge capital hence get the ministry of Agric involved in cattle rearing and meat production instead of giving our land out to fulani herdsmen. In a conversation online with the IYC president via the IPDI he said “cattle rearing is not the exclusive right of fulanis, it is a private business”, I expect that he will also tell the government of HSD how lucrative this business is and why they should engage the ministry of Agric in this.
The excuses so far are lame and HSD thinking he owes no one any explanation just further buttresses the fact that there are sinister motives to these plans because for a sensitive issue such as this I expect that he should have done a state wide broadcast to sensitize the people on all the critical parts of this grazing ranch implementation. The government has never thought of or actually implemented fishing camps in Bayelsa neither have they though it wise to provide trowleys and the needed infrastructure to boost fish production but when it comes to cattles they have suddenly sprung into action. I remember Dicksons words during the elections “I am ofuruma pepe, I cannot be intimidated”, I want him to know that the same Izon blood that flows in his vein flows in all our veins. We are Izon men, not cowards, we cannot be intimidated. If Dickson has forgotten, he should go back to the Adaka Boro history he is fascinated about to recall how Adaka Boro was used during the war and killed afterwards. A word they say is enough for the wise.