1. State of Ogoni Struggle<br />The meeting assessed the general activities and direction of MOSOP as at present and came to the conclusion that MOSOP at present has lost character and form with dwindling impact in its effort to provide leadership as uniting factor and promoting the general interest of the Ogoni people. MOSOP activities are now reduced and narrowed to a self-serving opportunistic outfit outstandingly disconnected from the people whose concern, interest and opinions no longer count. The structure of operation of MOSOP has broken into shreds. The rudiments of the objective of the struggle in the protection and promotion of rights of Ogoni Communities and persons have been abandoned for only self-serving ego-feathering pursuits. Ogoni anthem is now offered for cheap political gingles. It is is now commonplace for Ogoni persons to be abused, terrorized and intimidated in their communities and workplaces within and outside Ogoni without anyone asking or answering in defence of their rights.
Ogoni people should rise to condemn the opportunistic and chance-performing outfit now operating as MOSOP. Ogoni cannot afford at this time to drift back to the dark days of cultural and social insignificance. We call on all Ogoni Patriots to rise in unity and solidarity to restore the true fighting spirit so as to realize the dreams of freedom and development as a people. We must keep the fire burning for the oppressors, suppressors and slave drivers have not given up. They are working within and outside Ogoni to direct the attention of the people from achieving our rights to freedom and development as indigenous group in Nigeria.
2. MOSOP and Party Politics
Ken Saro Wiwa noted in his first Letter to Ogoni Youths how party politics is used as weapon to divide Ogoni people and put them in state of perpetual slavery and underdevelopment. The same persists today. Most of the Ogoni persons that are raised by usually alien forces and foisted as leaders on the people are often never in any way leaders not to talk of being patriotic.
The apparent lost of focus by MOSOP today is a result of this unpatriotic predisposition of some ambitious Ogonis who rather than working in solidarity with the people prefer to scheme their way to leadership over the people on the prompting of alien but certainly anti-Ogoni forces. MOSOP today is a pitiable victim of such forces having failed to hold to the tenets and vision of liberation and freedom of the Ogoni People.
For long years strategies by Shell and government agents seeking to weaken and destroy MOSOP using the agency of Ogoni has been on. However, from the year 2010, the destabilizing forces became dastardly as the authorities in Rivers State, apprehensive of Ogoni unity and stability in MOSOP had began to build up the deceit of making Ogoni person governor of Rivers State come 2015. The unsuspecting but ambitious Ogoni leaders were cajoled into believing that to achieve governorship position MOSOP needed to be hijacked and made a voice for the 2015 project. Not surprising therefore, pressure on the extant leadership at the time to resign became intense and overbearing as the president was being attacked and maligned. Attempt in the circumstance to conduct a normal election to elect new leadership in 2011 was scuttled. MOSOP Secretariat in Bori was attacked and election materials looted and destroyed. It was revealed that Ogonis in government organized and sponsored the attack and destruction. It became that those to lead MOSOP had to be selected through intrigues and manipulations. This gave birth to the present leadership of MOSOP. It is clear to all Ogonis and non-Ogonis that the present leadership of MOSOP is submerged in a web of intricate forces that have thrown it into a state of malfeasance, directionless and grubbing in isolation of the Ogoni people and lacking in focus. It has become errand outfit for party politicians.
That the promise of Ogoni governor failed, turning out to a huge historic deceit, has thrown the sponsors and agents of destruction of MOSOP into huge confusion.
We want to believe that all Ogonis today would remember where we are coming from and should also know where we are going. We should be wary of those who claim to be leaders by pretence and not by what they are known to do in the interest of Ogoni. Ogoni people should never again allow deceit and frausterism to scuttle their dreams.
3. UNEP Report: Implementation and Ogoni Development
It is particularly important to the Ogoni people what the concept of the implementation of UNEP Report envisages. The Coordinators Forum views the programme as effort to restoring the Land of Ogoni and building condition for sustainable development of the people.
Ogoni lies in desolation, polluted and degraded. Poverty and disease is visible among inhabitants. Death rate is high and unpredictable in its devastating trend. Taking this ugly condition into consideration, we believe and propose that effort at carrying out clean-up of the land should be comprehensive and detailed enough in framework to carry the interest of all the people, big or small. We are concerned about the evident scheming by some selfish individuals to convert the clean-up exercise into a business opportunity for personal enrichment and avenue for appropriating political relevance. Many who sabotaged and even championed the arrest and torture of Ogonis for protesting environmental pollution have suddenly turned apostles and messiahs of clean-up with sole target of grubbing any opportunity, financial and otherwise. The clean-up exercise should be handled in a transparent manner in order not to leave on its trail crisis that will throw Ogoni backward.
There is wide skepticism and dissatisfaction with the inclusion and participation of some personalities on the clean-up committees. The inclusion of the Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic bishopric creates suspicion and dissatisfaction among Ogonis. The bitter memory of Bishop Matthew Kukah’s connivance with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to force Shell into Ogoni through backdoor scheming in 2007 is still fresh in all Ogonis. So also a number of Ogoni individuals whose antecedents had ever demonstrated anti-Ogoni tendencies and selfish disposition are found in the composition of the committees.
So far, local Ogoni dwellers are yet to be told or clarified as to the modalities of clean-up, raising doubts and mixed feelings among the people. Suspicions and speculations have taken over the land as to what the clean-up would actually be. Some individuals are already printing forms and selling to unsuspecting youths for purpose of employment in the clean-up exercise. There is fear that the growing suspicion and distrust from lack of adequate and proper education of the people as to the content and outlay of the clean-up may generate crises.
We want to use this opportunity to call on the Minister of Petroleum Desiani Allison-Maduke and indeed the Federal Government to carefully look into the Constitution of the Committee on the Clean-up for possible review and putting in place genuine structures that will generate confidence and trust among the people of Ogoni who should not be seen merely as beneficiaries but also partners in contributing to the success of the programme. This done will, engender peace and cooperation among the people.
4. State Creation, Ogoni Position
The Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) had since 1990 put bare and clear what the Ogoni position is on state creation. In the document, Ogoni people make it clear of the demand for local autonomy as the only guarantee for their development in the ethnic driven nation – Nigeria.
In 1996, a Rivers South-East State (Ogoni) was recommended at the National Conference at that time to be carved out of present Rivers State. Ever since forces have played inside and outside Ogoni to frustrate effort at achieving a free Ogoni. A number of Ogonis have worked as if their own is different, in attempt to frustrate the desire of the people. In 1990 as the struggle began, many saw Ogoni as a people who should not be given attention in any form. An economic adviser to government at the time Mr. Philip Asiodu had said that Ogoni were a small people too insignificant to make any impact that would trouble Shell or Nigeria. The thoughts and activities of such people have not stopped the quest of the people for freedom.
On Sunday, August 15, 2010 at the Saint Augustine Anglican Church, Bane in Khana Local Government Area, Governor Rotimi Amaechi had declared that “as far as he remained the governor of Rivers State nothing will make Ogoni people realize their dream for self determination. That any person that dreamed about that should go and burn the mattress he or she slept on.” Governor Rotimi Amaechi did not move alone, he had his lieutenants in the ranks of some Ogoni politicians who together with him have spared no chance in ensuring that their plans of frustrating Ogoni are not subverted. He had told some of the lieutenants that he was going to hand over governorship of Rivers State to them. But can a true son of a mother be told to kill his mother so that he can be promoted? The struggle for self-determination for the indigenous Ogoni people remains the pathway to freedom, the true dream of the people. We call on Ogoni people to rise and stand up for their rights. We must achieve an Ogoni society where love, unity and development is guaranteed. This is the dream, the Ogoni dream.
5. Fraudsters, Dupes in Ogoni Struggle
In the words of Gamaliel Bailey a renown philosopher “the first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself”. It is open to all Ogoni people that a number of Ogonis have constituted themselves under names and groups operating organized deceit and duping of innocent Ogoni people. There are some who claim to be leading a faction of MOSOP and having their base overseas. This group has organized structure of local individuals who are called Kingdom and Chapter Leaders whose main job is to from time to time go round local women and unsuspecting villagers to extort taxes of varying forms in food stuffs including garri and money under one claim/title or the other. They even say sometimes that they are paying such money to UN for independence. They print forms for employment that are not known or seen anywhere and deceive people especially the youths to pay various sums of money as they are able to extort.
We are calling on all Ogonis to condemn these practices and desist from associating with such fraudulent individuals or falling victims to such exploitation and extortions. We feel we should let the persons indulging in this evil practices to know that they are cheating themselves. They should know that as stated by Charles Simmons, “for the most part fraud secures for its companions… shame.” We can avoid this shame as individuals and as a nation.
We pray that God opens the eyes of all Ogonis to see the abundance in His glory which he has prepared for us, that we may not again mortgage our future and the destiny of our children for cheap, temporary gains.
God bless Ogoni.
Long Live Ogoni!
Signed on behalf of Kingdom Coordinators and Chapter Leaders of Mosop
FRANK JONAH N. (Nyokhana Kingdom)
BARTHOLOMEW OLUJI (Eleme Kingdom)
BARIDA VOPNU (Gokana Kingdom)
NNAA YEGHEBAA (Bori National Territory)