The Ijaw Diaspora Group IDG has applauded the recent foray of renowned Professor and educationist, Steve Sinikiem Azaiki into politics.
Reacting to his recent declaration to contest for the House of Representatives in Yenagoa Kolokuma Opokuma constituency, the group commended other erudite scholars of Izon extraction to show more interest in politics as it is the only way to entrench good governance in the country and the Niger Delta region.
In a statement released to the media after their annual meeting held in New Jersey, United States, the group extolled the level of political participation in Nigeria as an indication of the deepening of democracy in the world’s most populous black nation.
The group described one of their own, Professor Azaiki, as someone whose distinguished activities both nationally and internationally will make every Ijaw man or woman very proud.
Reading from the statement after the meeting, the group’s Assistant Publicity Secretary, Atonye Akpoebi said: “We have received reports of positive turn of political events in Nigeria including some people living in the diaspora declaring to participate in the forthcoming political season in Nigeria.
“This is a clear indication that the efforts to deepen democracy in Nigeria is yielding encouraging fruits. We are particularly impressed by the interest shown by scholars and intellectuals like Professor Steve Azaiki, who is said to be going for the House of Representatives. We need people like him in the National Assembly to change the narrative and ensure quality representation for the people of the Niger Delta region.
“We hope that the political parties and the electoral body will ensure a level playing field for every contestant.”
He however encouraged members to continue to show additional interest in politics back home, saying “this is the easiest way to make verifiable contribution to good governance.”
“If we must change the narrative to change the ways of doing things back home, we must seek opportunities to be part of politics otherwise history will not be kind to us for being complacent”, he added.
Before his foray into politics, Azaiki, an agriculturist, educationist and professor of conflict management had taken various roles both as a civil society leader and public intellectual.
He served in his home state, Bayelsa, in numerous capacities including as Commissioner for Agriculture and later Secretary to State Government.
He also founded the National Think Thank, a group of prominent Nigerians drawn from different fields working together to fashion a development agenda for the country.
He has authored more than five books on oil, politics and sustainable development in Nigeria.
According to media reports, the Professor has promised to fight environmental pollution and pursue policies that create opportunities for providing alternatives to the dominant oil economy, if voted into office.