Tuesday, December 30, 2014 6:59 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Ogoni people in Nigeria’s Rivers State are not happy with both the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, and the All Progressives Congress,APC, for failing to pick an Ogoni child as their Governorship flag bearers.
To register their anger, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), has staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, decrying what it described as “political and environmental slavery” in the state.
Ogoni who have not produced a Governor,Deputy Governor,Chief Judge,Speaker of State House of Assembly since the state was created in 1967 stormed the state capital as early as 5.30am carrying placards and banners with different inscriptions
The protesters from the four local government areas (Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai) that make up Ogoni ethnic nationality, called on the Federal and State governments to urgently intervene to actualize the Ogoni 2015 project of producing the Governor.
The protesters who marched from Rumuola to the popular Isaac Boro park carried placards that read:’Ogoni people say no to political slavery’, ‘Ogoni beware of political traitors’, ‘political slavery is a crime. NYCOP (National Youth Council of Ogoni People) insists’, ‘we want political freedom in Ogoni’, ‘Ogoni wants political justice’ and ‘NYCOP say no to political slavery’.
The President of the Movement for the Survival Of Ogoni People,MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, addressed the protesters at the Isaac Boro Park, where the protest march terminated saying that the various political parties and the past and present state government had not considered the request by the Ogoni for a governorship slot, deputy governor, chief judge and other key positions since the creation of the state.
Pyagbara lamented that the Ogoni people would now be subjected to another four years of political slavery with the injustice done to them by the state government and the political parties.
“My brothers and sisters, from all indications, it is obvious today, that the political system in Nigeria, particularly, in Rivers State, has reneged in their promises to Rivers people, to remain a state built on justice, freedom and equity.
According to him:”instead of the parties honouring their obligation, they have all deceived us. We have also come to the point to protest, to remind all the Nigerian stakeholders of this protest and Rivers State in particular, of the urgency in addressing the Ogoni issue”.
He continued: “This is not time to engage in luxury or promises of pretence of gradual process. Now, is time to make justice in Nigeria of undoing the wrong that has been done to the Ogoni people”.
President of MOSOP,said the demonstration was a show of their displeasure over the perceived injustices, and to know what Federal and State Government had for them.
Under APC,Senator Magnus Ngei Abe,representing Rivers South East in the Senate, an Ogoni,was in forefront for the governorship slot,but Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside representing Andoni/Opobo Nkoro in the Federal House of Representatives was picked,while the PDP picked Nyesom Wike,the former Minister of State for Education as their governorship flag bearer ahead of Prof Don’t Baridam,Senator Lee Maeba and other Ogoni governorship Aspirants.
In addition to what Ogoni people regard as political slavery, they are also faced with environmental degradation as provided in the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP report which recommended among other things that there should be urgent steps to clean up Ogoniland due crude oil pollution.
UNEP report was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan on May 4,2011 at Aso Villa but a Presidential committee set up look into the report was inaugurated by President Jonathan on August 2011 and given two weeks marching order.
Since then nothing has been done even UNEP report raised alarm that the quantity of Benzene, (a cancerous toxin) found in the water table in Ogoniland is 900 times above WHO standard the federal government refused to commence a clean up and remediation of the devastated environment.