by Mitchelle Uzorka
The Ijaw Diaspora Council hosted it’s National Convention which lasted from July 1 to July 3 in in Newark, New Jersey, US.
Speaking at the convention, His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State briefed the people of interesting development back home including the ongoing construction of three senatorial roads that are opening up riverine communities in Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw and Nembe-Brass.
He invited them to join hands with him in attracting investment opportunities to Bayelsa State.
Diri said, “We have been in the US for some days now and have met various groups and institutions for partnerships and investments in the State. Bayelsa State is so blessed in oil and gas but we are redirecting our energies to gas, renewable energy and agriculture among others. The meetings have been very encouraging and positive.”
My physical presence here should tell you the importance I attach to the cause of Ijaw nation. I am equally happy with what this group under Professor Mondy Gold, is doing, bringing all Ijaws in diaspora together. Consciously, we must continue to preserve and promote the Ijaw culture and tradition where ever we find ourselves. That applies to all of you abroad.”
“We must transfer the strong values in the culture and tradition to our children. A man who has no culture is lost. The beginning of a man’s culture is language and then his dressing. So, I count on you to ensure the sustenance of the rich Ijaw culture.”
On the occasion, the Ijaw Diaspora Council also posthumously honoured notable Ijaw leaders including Chief J. M. James Moru Egbuson, Chief Lawrence Reigbudu Nabena, King S.P.U. Ogan, Sen. Amaitari Zuofa, Chief Nicholas Abo Frank-Opigo, and Dr. Taribo James Sekibo, MFR.
Other dignitaries at the colourful event laced with rich cultural display are HRM King Alfred Diete-Spiff and his wife, Josephine, (Prof.) Hon. Steve Azaiki, Ambassador Tijjani Mohammed-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Ben Okoyen, Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Ambassador Lot Egopija, Consul-General, Nigerian Consulate in New York, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (Rtd.), Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Denzel Kentebe, former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, and Ijaw rights activist, Ann-Kio Briggs.