Ijaw National Congress (INC), on Sunday, commended Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State for recognising and installing five additional Ijaw kings in Arogbo-Ijaw kingdom, Ese-Odo Local Government Area.
The State government had, on Thursday, presented staff of office to the new kings for Ijaw communities.
President of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, gave the commendation in an interview in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Okaba, who was reacting to the installation of five new kings, applauded Akeredolu for his inclusive governance style and even spread of development projects.
He congratulated the newly-installed kings, urging them to keep the Ijaw flag flying by propagating and preserving its revered culture in a manner reflective of the multi-ethnic nature of the state.
Okaba said with his action, Akeredolu had written his name in gold and shown exemplary leadership in recognising and harnessing the ethic diversity of the state for peaceful co-existence.
According to him, the entire Niger Delta region needs such a leadership approach.
“Ijaw National Congress is very pleased with Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu for recognising and elevating five new Ijaw kingship stools in Ondo and installation of five new Ijaw kings.
“We express the appreciation of all Ijaws in Nigeria and in the Diaspora to the governor.
“This development has given a sense of belonging to all Ijaws in the Niger Delta region and we feel a sense of duty to express our gratitude to the act of justice and equity to the Ijaws.
“We therefore, call on Edo and Akwa Ibom governors to borrow a leaf from Ondo State governor and uplift the status of Ijaws in their respective states.
“The ancestral domains of the Ijaws are endowed with oil and gas reserves, which provide derivation revenue being used to develop other parts of the states.
“Authoritative historical, archaeological and ethnographic facts have shown that the Ijaw people are the oldest aboriginal settlers in the Niger Delta region and must be accorded respect in the states and local government areas they have been arbitrarily balkanised into.
“INC decries all acts of land grabbing, marginalisation, denial and distortion of the Ijaw cultural heritage under any guise which are ongoing in some states in the region,” Okaba said.