Wike accuses Ogoni of frustrating Abe’s political career
As ex-senator preaches unity, progress
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has berated Ogoni people for contributing to frustrating the political career of their bright brains, Senator Magnus Abe, and Ledum Mitee’s long fight to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The governor noted that the lack of unity seen in Ogoniland was responsible for the setbacks because governors in the region, lawmakers and other leaders hardly worked together.
Wike stated this at the 30th celebration of Ogoni Day with the theme, “Leaving no one behind”, held at the Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori town, in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday.
He queried how many Ogoni leaders could truly defend the interest of Ogoni land, and genuinely pursue issues of environmental degradation and resource control with the same zest demonstrated by their forebears, like late Ken Saro-Wiwa, without selling out.
He said: “People like Ken Saro-Wiwa and all of the people you’re celebrating on Ogoni Day, how many of you can today stand for what Ken (Saro-Wiwa) stood for; how many can today stand for the great Ogoni men who died for your struggle.”
In a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, his media aide, the governor noted with regret how some Ogoni people had debased the struggle and have rather used it to collect money from those who do not want the goals of the struggle achieved.
He said: “You use Ogoni Day to make money. God will never forgive you. I will never be a party to make blood money. All of you, you’re here today for Ogoni Day, are you standing firm for Ogoni people? Are you standing firm for the spirit of those who died for you? Go and check your conscience. Ogoni people check your conscience.”
The governor asserted that he had never betrayed Rivers’ interest but defended it with courage including pursuing the OML 11 lawsuit at the Supreme Court. He observed that the case may not be concluded before his tenure will end, but it may secure the most needed ownership right of such resources to the people.
Chairman of the occasion and President, Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said the fundamental problem of the country is the refusal of the Nigerian state to restore the derivation principle that was abrogated by Decree NO.34 of May 1966 by Aguiyi Ironsi, the subsequent promulgation of Petroleum Decree 1966, and General Olusegun Obasanjo’s 1978 Land Use Act considered widely as the most obnoxious, draconian and unjust piece of legislation on land and resource ownership.”
The former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, in his remark recalled how he and other Ogoni leaders gathered at the same venue 30 years ago to commence the Ogoni struggle that has since been recognised globally.
He appealed to the Nigerian state to extend rail line to Ogoni, which has contributed immensely to the development of the country’s economic growth.
EARLIER, the representative of Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Abe called on Ogoni people to unite and pave the way for progress this year.
Abe described this year’s Ogoni celebration as an opportunity for the people to come together and take stock to know how far they have fared since the inception of Ogoni struggle for equity and justice.
Abe, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Parry Saroh Benson, congratulated the people and said the day presented a unique time to appreciate one another while in pursuit of a united and prosperous Rivers State.
He stated that the foundation of the Ogoni struggle has always been anchored on justice, based on a commitment to the principle of non-violence as set out by the late environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni patriots.
The senator said: “As we mark another Ogoni Day, it presents an opportunity for us to take stock and appreciate one another and ask ourselves how we have fared in the actualisation of our dreams for environmental justice and political inclusion.
“I want to appeal to all Ogoni to bury whatever hatchet there may have, let us close ranks so that working together, we can achieve bigger dreams.
“I also want to thank all Rivers men and women indeed, all fair-minded Nigerians across the country who have shown great solidarity and empathy for the Ogoni struggle. People must understand that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”