Stakeholders under the auspices of the Ijaw Elders and Professionals Forum (IEPF) have raised an alarm over plans to trick former President Goodluck Jonathan into an endorsement meeting in favour of the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri.
The group claimed that it had uncovered a plot 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 Diri.
In a statement signed by its National Secretary, Samuel Mpigi James, the IEPF stated that the ongoing plan to hold the Ijaw elders meeting was a total endorsement charade and warned Jonathan as well as other credible Ijaw leaders to abstain from it.
The group 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.
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“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, (rtd) to swiftly turn the agenda into a Douye Diri endorsement galore.
“While this is completely disrespectful for the Ijaw leaders and the respected invitees 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.
It noted that if in the course of the 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.