Ibani Furo Awo
2003 Boro Day
Nigerian Elections 2003




2009 was the 12th Boro Day/INAA Service Award Ceremony



(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 and sisters who have travelled all the way from Nigeria to join us in today’s dialogue. And as you may all be aware, this is the first of various other sessions throughout the day and tomorrow. Since its inauguration thirteen years 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 “Boro Day” program.

The current unfortunate events taking place in Nigeria has understandably affected the format of this session. In a sense, we are compelled to choose between getting rid of a nuisance fly that has perched on us or the bee that is stinging us. The choice is obvious; attend to that part of the body feeling the pain and discomfort from the bee bite. The bee bite in this case, is the carnage going on in the Niger Delta. Fortunately, the INC President’s text which he will deliver momentarily has sufficiently chronicled most of the besetting problems we face as a people. Therefore, rather than spending time rehashing the problems and engaging in recriminations, I urge you, on behalf of INAA, to direct efforts at identifying solutions to the problems. And I mean that with a sense of sincerity and respect! Let us spend this time productively by engaging in a honest, constructive, heart-to-heart dialogue that emphasizes solutions to our existential challenges.

In the scheme of things in Nigeria, the Ijaw is literally placed in a terrain where they are exactly in the middle of their ONLY two houses, a few kilometers apart, which are set on fire by arsonists. Equidistant from both houses, there is the natural urge to make urgent collective decisions to possibly save both houses or at worst save one. You and I know that a situation like this naturally evokes varying emotional response, probably all well-meaning. Some would argue that one half of us should rush and douse the flames on one side while the other half race to the scene of the house on the other side with their fire extinguishers. Some would contest that by dividing our manpower into two halves, we may end up not having enough forces to effectively extinguish both fires and believe that both houses would ultimately perish. Still, there are those who would argue that any rescue effort would not only be a waste of time but could cost us lives. And don’t forget those who would shout “hurry up”, “hurry up” and nothing else!

The Ijaw Nation finds itself in a typical situation today. We need solutions to how this arsonist could be effectively repelled or prevented from ever torching off our houses and causing hysteria and distraction. Like I said earlier, we need to be frank and forthright without being confrontational or impolite. Your devotion to the Ijaw cause is the reason why you are here today. And I am sure many of you have ideas about how some of the challenges could be surmounted either drastically or gradually so the arsonist would be rendered ineffective once and for all or have diminished opportunity to cause repeated chaos in our midst. With this session, INAA has created the enabling environment for a constructive dialogue today and it is hoped that we will effectively use the time to refine the solutions identified in the process.

Col. Godfrey Okoro, Moderator of this session, will control the time limit for each presentation so we are on time to join the 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 plan of action that is expected to emerge from this session.  Thank you all and I now hand it over to Col. Godfrey Okoro.



Sheraton Newark Airport Hotel

Newark, New Jersey.

May 30, 2009.


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