The Ijaw in Ondo State have opposed the state government’s adoption of the Odua anthem.
They urged the government to put on hold the Odua anthem adoption and confer with Ijaw leaders to come up with the Ijaw version of the anthem, if it must be sung in public places.
The dissolved Executive Council last week approved the adoption of the Odua anthem to be sung after the National Anthem at official and public functions.
It said the Odua anthem was meant to project the tradition and culture of the Yoruba.
But the Ijaw described the action as provocative and irritating, saying it portended a deliberate affront to the peace loving Ijaw of Ondo State.
They accused Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of running the state without recourse to its pluralistic nature.
A representative of the Ijaw in the House of Assembly, Success Torhukerhijo representing Ese-Odo Constituency, said it was preposterous to adopt an anthem for the state in Yoruba language without thinking of the concern of the Ijaw, adding that the state has two ethnic nationalities- the majority Yoruba and the minority Ijaw.
Torhukerhijo, in a statement in Akure, said it was a ploy to obliterate the Ijaw from the history of Ondo State.
He urged Governor Akeredolu to toe the path of his predecessors, who he said created a subordinate area council, which enjoyed almost equal status with other local governments in the state in 1981.
He said the action had put an average right thinking Ijaw man into psychological trauma, adding that it smacked of lack of social equality and an antithesis to a united, just and free society.
According to him, “it is perplexing that the governor in spite of his pedigree does not possess the political will for an all-inclusive government and the Ijaw of Ondo State have been subjected to neglect and abandonment on issues of state by his executive and administrative actions.
“It is pitiable that the Ijaw with a lot of qualified manpower do not have a permanent secretary, no judge in the state high court and we are short-changed in every facet of the state public service by Governor Akeredolu’s executive and administrative actions. It is pathetic that we have only one magistrates’ court in the whole of the over 250 communities in Ijaw land and no magistrate is posted to the place.
“The governor is beckoned to strive to run an all-inclusive government by considering the interest of the Ijaw in Ondo State in his administrative and executive actions and in all aspects of governance.
“This is intolerable and is rejected by the Ijaw ethnic nationality.”