MORNING SESSION: OPENING REMARKS.
(By Prof. J. M. Ebiware)
On behalf of
the Ijaw National Alliance of the
Americas, I thank you, all for coming. Special thanks to our brothers
sisters who have travelled all the way from Nigeria to join us in
dialogue. And as you may all be aware, this is the first of various
sessions throughout the day and tomorrow. Since its inauguration
ago, one of INAA’s foremost objectives has been to create forums
like this to
enable us exchange ideas face-to-face. That is why INAA considers this
exclusive All-Ijaw session as among the most important workshops in the
unfortunate events taking place in
Nigeria has understandably affected the format of this session. In a
are compelled to choose between getting rid of a nuisance fly that has
on us or the bee that is stinging us. The choice is obvious; attend to
part of the body feeling the pain and discomfort from the bee bite. The
bite in this case, is the carnage going on in the Niger Delta.
INC President’s text which he will deliver momentarily has
chronicled most of the besetting problems we face as a people.
rather than spending time rehashing the problems and engaging in
recriminations, I urge you, on behalf of INAA, to direct efforts at
solutions to the problems. And I mean that with a sense of sincerity
respect! Let us spend this time productively by engaging in a honest,
constructive, heart-to-heart dialogue that emphasizes solutions to our
In the scheme
of things in Nigeria, the Ijaw is
literally placed in a terrain where they are exactly in the middle of
ONLY two houses, a few kilometers apart, which are set on fire by
Equidistant from both houses, there is the natural urge to make urgent
collective decisions to possibly save both houses or at worst save one.
I know that a situation like this naturally evokes varying emotional
probably all well-meaning. Some would argue that one half of us should
douse the flames on one side while the other half race to the scene of
house on the other side with their fire extinguishers. Some would
by dividing our manpower into two halves, we may end up not having
forces to effectively extinguish both fires and believe that both
ultimately perish. Still, there are those who would argue that any
effort would not only be a waste of time but could cost us lives. And
forget those who would shout “hurry up”, “hurry
up” and nothing else!
Nation finds itself in a typical
situation today. We need solutions to how this arsonist could be
or prevented from ever torching off our houses and causing hysteria and
distraction. Like I said earlier, we need to be frank and forthright
being confrontational or impolite. Your devotion to the Ijaw cause is
reason why you are here today. And I am sure many of you have ideas
some of the challenges could be surmounted either drastically or
the arsonist would be rendered ineffective once and for all or have
opportunity to cause repeated chaos in our midst. With this session,
created the enabling environment for a constructive dialogue today and
hoped that we will effectively use the time to refine the solutions
in the process.
Okoro, Moderator of this session,
will control the time limit for each presentation so we are on time to
next scheduled program of events for the day. Dr. Aaron Nmungwun is the
secretary who will take notes and collate the decision for a workable
action that is expected to emerge from this session.
Thank you all and I now hand it over to Col.
Newark Airport Hotel