The Arogbo Ijaw Patriots has faulted the imposition of the Oodua anthem on the Ijaw speaking people in Ondo State by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, saying it is a flagrant violation of the rights of the Ijaw people in the state.
In a statement by its Coordinator and Secretary, Messrs Fidelis Soriwei and Bibisa Kekemeke, respectively, the Ijaw group said that “it was absurd and rather disturbing that the governor would make it compulsory for Oodua or Ondo anthem (in Yoruba) to be sung in all secondary schools in Ondo State, where there are indigenous Ijaw.”
The group stated that the Ijaw of Ondo State “speak their own language, in consonance with their distinct ethnicity as an Ijaw minority and would like to keep that identity.”
It called on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on Akeredolu to respect the rights of the marginalized Arogbo Ijaws to “a respectful and dignified existence in Ondo State as provided for by the constitution.”
They lamented that the leadership of the Ondo State Civil Service took further steps in the abuse of the law to ask people including Arogbo Ijaws to sing the anthem in a promotion interview at the Governor’s Office Civil Service Matters.
They noted that Akeredolu, a senior lawyer of the ranking of SAN should “display the expected consciousness on the need for fairness to note the fact that Ondo State is not like the homogenous South West State where every citizen is Yoruba.”
They called on the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress to intervene through its organs in the South West to avert further humiliation and oppression of the Arogbo Ijaws.