The establishment of Bayelsa State on October 1, 1996 by the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha was a product of the Ijaw struggle.
The Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Austin Dressman, stated this on Wednesday ,during a presentation on the scorecard of his ministry at the inter-ministerial briefing in Yenagoa, the state capital.
At the event, three other ministries – Science and Technology, Tourism Development, and Women Affairs and Social Development – also made presentations on the achievements of the administration in the last six years.
Dressman noted that the creation of the Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs by Governor Seriake Dickson was in line with the ideals of the Ijaw struggle for emancipation.
He re-echoed Dickson’s naming of Bayelsa as “Jerusalem of Ijaw nation”, stressing that the state, through the ministry, was preserving and promoting Ijaw unity and cultural heritage.
He noted that the building of the Ijaw Heroes Park and the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, and the proclamation of Ijaw Cultural Day by the current administration were aimed at sustaining Ijaw values in Nigeria’s plural polity.
The commissioner insisted that the Ijaw people would not shift grounds on the raging issue of restructuring, stressing that failure to restructure could lead to the extinction of Ijaw nation or dismemberment of the country.
“Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs is a product of the Ijaw struggle. Ijaw people occupy a very difficult terrain, and that is why God blessed them with resources to survive in the terrain.”