By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has given members of the Odioma Chiefs’ Council in Brass Local Government Area of the state the option to either withdraw their membership of political parties or resign outright from the traditional leadership council.
This is even as the state government constitutes a six-man peace and reconciliation committee to look into immediate and remote causes of the communal unrest and insecurity threatening the peace of Odioma community.
The State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, gave the order on Monday at an enlsrged meeting with the chairman and members of Odioma Chiefs’ Council and other critical stakeholders of Odioma in Government House, Yenagoa.
Governor Diri said his administration would not tolerate the breakdown of law and order in Odioma or any other community in the state.
He advised them to live together in peace and avoid actions capable of causing a recurrence of the 2005 experience in which Federal military troops invaded and destroyed Odioma.
The Governor, who was represented at the meeting by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stressed the need for Odioma Chiefs Council to remain apolitical and more proactive in addressing critical communal issues.
He therefore warned that henceforth, members of the Odioma Chiefs’ Council who belong to any political party should either resign from the chiefs council or withdraw their political party membership to enable them to lead the people without divided interests.
His words: ” Under our watch, we cannot allow history to repeat itself at Odioma, because we all witnessed what happened there in 2005. We want to avoid a recurrence of that.
“For now the Police would remain there until we have resolved all the major issues. Secondly, the council of chiefs, you have to be more proactive and live up to your responsibilities.
“This idea of trying to give party aligning is not your duty as chiefs. If you a PDP or an APC member, from the very day you were elected chief, you drop that party membership card because they are irreconcilable.
“So I want you the chiefs to know this: Once you are a member of the chiefs council, quit PDP, quit APC. As you are leaving here, PDP members go and resign your PDP membership; likewise APC members go and resign your APC membership. If you are not ready to do that, then resign from the chiefs council.”
The six-man Odioma Peace and Reconciliation Committee has the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN) as Chairman, while the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, CP Akpoebi Agberebi (Rtd) is to serve as Secretary.
Other members of the Committee include the Member representing Brass Constituency 2 at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Timi Omubo- Agala; the Technical Adviser on Conflict Resolution, Chief Boma Spero-Jack; the Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Nebolisa Okolo, and the state director of the DSS.
The Committee has one month to complete its assignment.