There Is No Factional Crisis In IYC - Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus Led Group Tells NUJ
Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus

The Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus led group of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, weekend stormed the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Bayelsa, laying claim to the Presidency of the Council and debunking claims of factional crisis.

While Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus claimed to be IYC President at the elective convention held in Ataba,Rivers, Comrade Jonathan Lokpobiri emerged as President IYC at the elective convention held at Izon Wari, BayelaState.

According to Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus, he was validly elected and the flag of the Council was handed to him by the immediate past President, Deacon Timothy Igbifa as provided by the constitution of the Ijaw Youths Council.

Theophilus, who was accompanied to the secretariat of the NUJ by the National Spokesman, Comrade Bedford Berefa Benjamin, argued that the Comrade Jonathan Lokpobiri group of the IYC was elected through the back door and in alleged violation of the constitution of the IYC.

Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus, who was grilled by media practitioners on his alleged involvement in illegality, being declared wanted by the Jonathan Lokpobiri group and his participation in a parallel elective convention, explained that the formation process is by convention.

According to him, ” through that convention the President is allowed to nominate the Chairman of Eleco under the Peter Ebifa led pre-elective convention. A convention was called for the formation and all constitutional procedures were followed and the President appointed the Eleco chairman and directed every other members were to work with him”

“Immediately after that petitions from various zone came up, some persons that were nominated from the Eastern and the western zones were over age by virtue of the IYC constitution because there is a constitutional procedures that says that for you to be a member of IYC, you must be 18 years to 45 years. And for you to be elected into any office, you must be within the age bracket of 42 so that as you are ruling, your tenure it won’t even exceed the age bracket of 45.”

“Now there are series of petitions that some members in the eleco are above 45 years and some persons were even have been contesting IYC election at the level of clans and some persons have even voted as delegates in IYC clan election. So, the eleco Chairman was petitioned, the President was petitioned. In some of the cases, he reverted the matter back to the Eleco and told them that if you continue with this process the entire effort that we are going to put will be to no avail.”

“And pre-electing convention was called where Congress decided to replace those over age persons so that the process will be smooth and nobody can challenge the process in court or anul the outcome of the election.”

“By so doing, those INC members that were in the Eleco said they can’t be short change. By so doing, we had two parallel elecos that were selling forms. Not so many persons will want to tell what happened. And the truth is that so many elders and stakeholders intervened. Kudos to the Governor of Baylesa State, who happen to be a Council player that understand the happenings of council. He intervened three days to the election.”

” Before that day, Eleco from both sides have already collected delegates from the clans and the chapters from our zones for their election. The governor intervened and said everybody should shift ground and both eleco should come together and conduct a peaceful election. The Eleco Chairman under the leadership of Oruan Solomon by the pre-elective convention had fixed their election venue at Ataba in River state ,while these other INC members, that were here have also fix their convention at Obioma Asari’s Community”

“Even the venue was a bone of contest and the Governor intervened and said that since the venue is even a bone of contention, they should bring the convention to Bayelsa state at Izon Wari. Everybody shifted ground and they said if that’s the case, let the election take place in Izon Wari since the security is going to be guaranteed by the state government. And the delegates, since both parties are from IYC and have already nominated delegates, both parties should provide 50-50 of the delegates so that peace will reign.”

” On the date of the election, they said the screening and accreditation of candidates will have to take place by 10:30 am and everybody mobilise down to Peace Park and waited for these people to come with the delegates so that everybody can be accredited. We stayed there till 12:30, we didn’t see anybody apart from the Eleco Chairman and the former National President. Only for information to get to us that it is at Izon Wari.”

“We moved out to Izon Wari, only for us to see that they have impeached the Central zone Chairman, Clever Inodu, and some other of his cohorts. And some elders, that does not want the growth of the IYC were busy harmonizing delegate lists. These are elders that have become crisis merchants and their only way of survival is to create crisis in organisations. These are 60, 65, 59 years old INC members coming to interfere in youth activities. We said we will not take that and demanded our own delegate list.”

” They have their own delegates list, since per zone is 15 delegates. We told them to call the delegates per zones, they refused. We saw that they weren’t ready for the peace that the Governor of Bayelsa state had already established and when we came, we came with all our delegates. We mobilised everybody and they were waiting to truncate the former President,Deacon Peter Igbifa from successfully handling over. Their plan was that they want to embarrass him out of office and before he left office he was unable to hand over power and 12 midnight that same day was the expiration of his tenure.”

“So we look at the scenario, we said it was because that we want peace in Ijaw nation, we want IYC to get to the next level. Since they are not ready, let us pull out our delegates and go to our previous venue that we have already fixed for election.So we pulled out with all our delegates to our previous venue and conducted our election peacefully. It was through the process that I emerged as the winner and was declared winner and the flag of IYC was handed over to me by the past President as enshrined in the constitution.”

“That is the procedure, it was the President that has the power to declare, the other delegates were also there. The president declared the convention open and he is the only man by virtue of constitution that has the vright to close the convention. So, that is what happened. On the second hand, after the delegates had pulled out to conduct this election and because they wanted to cause chaos in Izon Wari after our election has been concluded, those INC or overaged IYC members, that doesn’t want peace, growth, unity of Ijaw nation, said they have postponed the election to another day.”

He also faulted the emergence of Comrade Jonathan Lokpobiri, describing his purported election as illegal and through the back door, ”
That is what actually happened so if somebody that is being elected through the back door or somebody that does not have the criteria to be a council Member is telling you that the person that is authentic President should be declared wanted, it sounds funny it seems some of them.”

On the call for his arrest over allege impersonation as IYC President, Dr. Alaye Tari Theophilus, described those behind the call as “not having something upstairs”.

According to him, those advocating for his arrest should understand that IYC is guided by constitution and we insisted that if they want the peace, progress, the growth of ijaw nation, they must stand by the truth. The man that is parading himself is already over age ,those persons that conducted the election are already over aged. So, I don’t see them as members of IYC, rather I see them as a lower charmbers of INC”

He also debunk claims that the IYC is factionalised, ” if anybody is telling you that IYC has two factions,it is a lie. It is INC that has two faction now, the upper and the lower is very simple.”

He also denied claims that he was declared wanted,”we have been in town and have been visiting places. If they have anything against me, they should write to the security agencies to come after me. And not to go to the social media and be making statement that are unfounded.This is 21st century, IYC is not a banana republic organisation where somebody will tell you that there is no constitution that is guiding it. IYC, as we speak, is registered with CAC with a constitution. So, how can somebody tell us that in the name of shifting grounds, an igbo man should become IYC President because he has been in Bayelsa State.?”


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