The Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, on Saturday tackled the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement for suggesting that he is politicising the ongoing devastating oil spill at the OML 29 oilfield in the Nembe creeks of Bayelsa State operated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Company.
Diri responded to the Arewa youths while delivering his address at the All Ijaw Summit organised in Yenagoa, the state capital, by the Ijaw National Congress (INC) on Saturday.
The Arewa youths led by one Kabiru Yusuf, according to reports, had cautioned Diri against politicising the Aiteo wellhead oil leak as he was not a petroleum engineer, and therefore not competent to speak on it.
He described them as the most ignorant persons concerning the challenges of the Niger Delta.
Diri insisted that he was in a position to speak on the Aiteo oil blowout as an elected governor of Bayelsa, who swore to defend his people at all times.
The governor said: “I laughed this morning when my attention was drawn that Arewa youths youths are opposing my statements and my views. I laughed at it. But, for me, they are not only opposing me, they are opposing Bayelsa State and the Ijaw Nation.
“I have never played politics with the health of our people. I have never played politics with the development of our people and if Arewa youths think that what I said is to over politicise the situation in Nembe, then I want to believe that Nigeria and indeed Arewa youths, are the most ignorant people of what is happening in the Niger Delta.
“Merely presupposing that the governor is not a petroleum engineer, I don’t need to be a petroleum engineer to defend my people.
“If they have forgotten that our own president of the country is not also a petroleum engineer, he is the President of Nigeria.
“That I am only a political scientist, yes, I accept, a political scientist and an educationist and I have been elected to defend the territory and people of Bayelsa State.
“On the heels of very recent conference of political parties, what has been tagged as ‘COP 26’, I was in Scotland, United Kingdom, to represent Bayelsa State, and in that event, there is already a global action to curb pollution.