The Ijaw Community in Ondo state has rejected the list of delegates that will represent the state at the proposed National Conference.
The community argued that there was an error in the compilation of the list of delegates from the state for the conference.
Its leader, who spoke on behalf of others, High Chief Francis Williams, said the Ijaws are a distinct nationality and they should be accorded their right in that capacity.
He said it was wrong for the Ijaws in ondo state and by extension in the southwest not to be represented at the conference, having participated in the pre-conference activities.
Williams said, “The other issue which makes the non-inclusion of Ijaws in the list of delegates confronting and intriguing is the noncompliance with federal government’s directive on composition of the national conference.
“It is clearly stated in the directive that the 15 delegates per geo-political zone must reflect ethnic and religious diversities in the zones. Undoubtedly, the Ijaw and Yoruba are the two distinct ethnic nationalities in the southwest.
“The point is that, the criteria of ethnic and religious diversity makes it mandatory for the minority Ijaw ethnic nationality in Ondo state and by extension the southwest geo-political zone to be duly represented at the national conference.
“The fact before us today is that, there is an error in the compilation of list of delegates from Ondo state for the national conference. While we do not know whether the error is genuine or a deliberate attempt to rob us of our rights, our position is that the error should be corrected without any delay”.
Williams added that the error should be corrected before the inauguration of the conference which has been slated for March 17, saying any contrary action would amount to mean forceful excision of Ijaw from Ondo state and the southwest.
He added that there was the need for the Ijaws to be physically represented at the conference as it would make the people to make a better presentation of the paper they had already prepared.
“If the proposed national conference aims at healing the wounds and laying of better foundation for an enduring country, then we all have a responsibility to avoid such a deliberate exclusion as we are witnessing today”, Williams added.