Consternation has overtaken many persons in the Ijaw youth activism family over the whereabouts of the President of the Ijaw Youth Council Comrade Timothy Peter Igbifa who was reported to have been ‘kidnapped’ by unknown persons on Tuesday. This strange development happened just as the D-Day,Tuesday May, 25ththe day announced for a show down with the Federal government, to announce a substantive Board to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC landed. The ‘Mother of Protests’ was anticipated as a tactic to return the Niger Delta to its core forte of activism for development.
Igbifa after the crash
National Point investigations turned up interesting developments that include a meeting reportedly called in Abuja by the head of an agency to mediate in the brewing crisis in the Niger Delta as the IYC had called on the operators in the oil and gas sector to withdraw their staff from the region.
Tongues are wagging and exasperated elders and other observers are still shaking their heads over the down turn in the fortunes of the once formidable intellectual militant wing of the Ijaw Nation formed in 1998, and which only had to sneeze and Nigeria caught a major cold in view of the strategic importance of oil and gas rich Ijaw ethnic nationality and the Niger Delta.
Timothy Peter Igbifa, President IYC-Lucky escape
In recent years, the IYC had lost its prestige with its ranks infiltrated by members of violent cult groups. It is generally viewed as an unserious organisation whose officials move from office to office begging for hand outs from companies and agencies which the early IYC confronted frontally over the lack of development in the Niger Delta.
Members of IYC Delta At their protest in Warri Protest Wednesday May 26, 2021
The IYC had publicised a ‘Mother of Protests’ that was announced in early May 2021 to put pressure on the Federal Government to appoint the much awaited board to kick start a return to the NDDC development programmes in the Niger Delta.
Igbifa has been in the news lately following an accident in which he was involved on the way to Yenagoa May 16, 2021 in which his SUV vehicle somersaulted a reported three times. He emerged unhurt. He was said to have been on his way to join the Boro Day event , an annual celebration in honour of Ijaw revolutionary Isaac Adaka Boro, who in 1966 declared a Niger Delta Republic which was crushed after 12 days by the Eastern regional and central governments.
The reported ‘kidnap’ or games of hide and seek around his absence from a meeting which Igbifa was said to have agreed to participate is said to have set off confusion among the IYC foot soldiers.
For now, observers who were wondering how the IYC whose strength and core of integrity had been diluted by the culture of under the table ‘collection’ would recover its naira and dollar dulled voice, are watching as the development unfolds.