Members of the All Progressives Congress, community leaders, youth leaders and various stakeholders from Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State have condemned the appointment of Sam Erejuwa as Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had on Thursday named Erejuwa, an indigene of Ilaje LGA, as chairman of the commission.
Outrage and mixed reactions have, however, continued to trail the appointment as Ijaw people from Ese-Odo alleged marginalisation and injustice.
They claimed that all chairmen of the commission since it was established in 2001 had been from Ilaje.
“We strongly condemn the governor’s non-challant composure and disposition towards the homegrown apartheid and marginalisation against the ljaw-speaking people of Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state despite their massive support for him.
“The appointment has sparked off outrage and tension across the entire LGA, particularly Arogbo kingdom as the hope of the Ijaw people getting the OSOPADEC chairmanship this time round also crumbled to the ground like a pack of cards after voting massively for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and revelled in the promise that, one of our own would be appointed OSOPADEC chairman.
“Unfortunately, Akeredolu bowed to pressure from llaje leaders and supported their continued political oppression and inimical subjugation of the Ijaw people.
“Prior to the election, the jittery governor had to woo to his side Senior High Chief Bibipere Ajube who has the resources, influence and good will of the people to mobilise support for him across the Arogbo Ijaw kingdom and the entire Southern Senatorial District and Chief Ajube delivered commendably.
“The Arogbo people during the governorship primary, supported Governor Akeredolu more massively than ever before against our own brother, Hon D. I Kekemeke, who was also in the contest.
“Akeredolu was giving 100% support at the governorship primary and same was replicated at the general elections without an atom of support for Hon Alfred Agbo-Ola Ajayi who was the governorship candidate of the Zenith Labour Party and from the same Ese-Odo Local Government.
“After winning the election, the Arogbo Ijaws begged and expected him to appoint one of our own as chairman of OSOPADEC this time because since creation, it has been the llajes heading the commission which the ljaws regard as marginalisation and injustice against them. Despite all entreaties, the governor looked the other way and appointed another llaje- Ugbo man as chairman of the commission.
“The Arogbo Ijaws of Ese-Odo have always supported their neighboring Ilaje brothers for either senate or Reps at different times. When their own Chief Olusola Oke contested for governor, Hon Kingsley Kuku from the Arogbo extraction provided major support. All these, the llajes have not reciprocated in any way.
“No Arogbo Ijaw man has been OSOPADEC chairman since its creation in 2001. No Arogbo Ijaw person has been appointed commissioner on the board of NDDC since its creation. No Arogbo ljaw man has been elected member, House of Representatives. Even the present Reps member who promised to support an Arogbo man for Reps after his second term is also vying for third term,” a chieftain of the party told SaharaReporters.
While speaking on the development, a community leader, Chief Ebiegberi said, “We have used everything political opportunity to show the ilajes our love. We have demonstrated extreme love for them in every of their aspirations. Whether they can do same is a question yet to be answered, but we will continue to show that we love them, because God is love and we are brothers. Nature has put us together and there is nothing we can do about it.”
Also speaking, another community leader, Mr Samuel Twatimi said, “We will speak with their leaders. It is all politics and we will find a political solution to it. All hope is not lost. Let our people be calm. No worries. There will always be a way out.”
An ilaje community leader, Chief Ojuri, also condemned the action of the governor.
He said, “To be sincere, the Arogbo people have shown genuine love for us by supporting every of our political aspirations; be it senatorial, house of representatives among others. The last time, they even supported Hon Kolade against their son. What else could they do to show they believe in us and love us.
“We should think as one people, not as mahin or Ugbo, Arogbo or Apoi. As leaders, all what we need is development and not crisis. We all have not recovered from the last war.”
Speaking also, an Ijaw National Congress chieftain, who pleaded anonymity said, “We cannot continue to be marginalised and be saying we are brothers. If those we call our brothers and love do not see us in that light, then we should re- think our beliefs as the reality is done on us now.
“Injustice had led us to a very bad experience in the past so those who take these decisions should be mindful of the consiquencies. History must not be allowed to repeat itself.
“In all, it remains to be seen how political leaders will use their positions to ward off this injustice, stamp out sectional sentiments and ensure fairness and equity for the overall development of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency as the 2023 elections draw closer. The absence of justice is an invitation for anarchy. This must not be allowed to happen. A word is enough for the wise.”