Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday chided Ogoni people of Rivers state for being their own worst enemies, yet keep blaming others for their misfortunes.
Wike at the 30th Ogoni Day event on the theme “Leaving no one behind”, held in Bori, Khana Local Government Area, doubted whether Ogoni leaders today still genuinely fight environmental degradation and development neglect in Ogoniland with the same zest as their forebears like late Ken Saro-Wiwa, without selling out.
He told the Ogoni Day gathering, “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 Saro-Wiwa stood for, how many can stand for the great Ogoni men who died for your struggle?.
“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.
“You people are talking about OML 11. Today, I’m in Supreme Court to challenge federal government and NNPC.
“I will not be governor forever, I’m leaving next year, but God in heaven will bear me witness, I have protected, defended the interest of the state and interest of Ogoni land.”
Wike admonished Ogoni leaders to stop being used as agents of discord by Federal Government and its agencies to pull down their own and betray the Ogoni interest, citing how Ogonis are joining to frustrate the political career of one of their brightest brains, Sen Magnus Abe while also abhorring home forces against Ledum Mitee’s long fight to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
He noted that the same lack of unity in Ogoniland is prevalent in the entire Niger Delta, because governors, lawmakers and other levels of leaders in the region are hardly working together in unison as Niger Deltans are the ones marginalising selves because one group sees self more Niger Deltan than the other.
Chairman of the 2022 Ogoni Day and President, Ijaw National Congress, Prof Benjamin Okaba blamed the fundamental problem with Nigeria on refusal of the Nigerian State to restore derivation principle abrogated by Decree NO.34 of May 1966 by Aguiyi Ironsi, subsequent promulgation of Petroleum Decree 1966, and General Olusegun Obasanjo’s 1978 Land Use Act as the most obnoxious, draconian and unjust legislation on land and resource ownership.
Okaba noted, “The Petroleum Industry Act 2021, laced with several contentious and discriminating clauses against people of the Niger Delta is yet another dimension of institutional injustice against the oil and gas host communities of the Niger Delta.
“Chief Obasanjo, unarguably widely travelled, if excused from the paranoid of hypocrisy and hatred for the Niger Delta, will admit that in the United States of America which presidential system Nigeria borrowed from, it is the states where oil is found that own them and not the Federal Government of America.
“It’s the reason a state like Texas is very rich, from proceeds of oil and gas. Same goes for Canada. In every federation, the undiluted application of the fundamentals of federalism are the minimum prerequisites for sustainable unity, peace and coexistence.
“Where else among the nations that practice federalism that permits federal government to hijack resources from the federating units and communities, siphon them to the centre on the emperor’s laps, and shares same as booties in the manner we have in Nigeria?”
Former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, 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.
Mitee appealed to the federal government to extend rail line to Ogoni which has contributed immensely to the development of the country’s economic growth.