Fegalo Nsuke is president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). In this interview with Letam L.G. of The Mass Mail Magazine, he dwells on a lot of issues affecting Nigeria and Ogoni including the leadership issues in MOSOP. Excerpts:
1. Calvary greeting to you sir, please can we know you in definitive?
I am Fegalo Nsuke, an Ogoni from Yeghe, Gokana local government area of Rivers State. A rights activist committed to addressing the injustice done to the Ogoni people and the people of the Niger Delta. I like to think of myself as a justice campaigner and not a leader even though I know I occupy a leadership position and play a leadership role in MOSOP. But primarily, I am a human rights campaigner. I share the pains of every Ogoni and I don't want to think of myself as their oga.
2. It is no longer news that MOSOP is Balkanized with you clamming to be president of one faction. How authentic is your faction and why do you think people should disregard the activities of the other faction?
You are getting it absolutely wrong. MOSOP is not balkanized, MOSOP is an idea, a philosophy and a struggle against injustice and oppression done to the Ogoni people by Shell Petroleum in a sleek alliance with the Nigerian government. Our struggle had been to address these injustices and get Ogoni and our country moving forward on a new and just foundation.
Shell and their allies including but not limited to the NNPC specialize in divide and conquer.
When Ken Saro-Wiwa was president of MOSOP, they raised a group against him and eventually got him killed. When Ledum Mitee was president of MOSOP, we were divided between Dr Goodluck Diigbo's group and the one Ledum Mitee led, did that amount to balkanization? Did you report it as such? When Pyagbara was president, a King in Tai sat in his house and created his version of MOSOP. Did you report it as balkanization? The same chief along with some others on January 4th this year went to Bori and announced their own version of MOSOP in contempt of the court and the constitution of MOSOP and you are promoting that.
I expected that when you hear something, you take steps to investigate and find out how it originated before you report it because all the reports about factions of MOSOP are lies and unethical journalism.
There had been a struggle to control the soul of MOSOP and that is true. There has been a struggle between those who want Ken's death to go in vain and those who want his death to bring freedom to Ogoni, that is also true. It has been a struggle between darkness and light and I expect the media to be driven by truth and conscience and not the other way round.
Now, I will give you a background of what you are seeing and calling factions of MOSOP so you can understand how lies, greed and mischief has driven people into irresponsibility.
On December 19, 2018, we had the MOSOP elections and I was elected president of MOSOP. Now, on December 21, 2018, allies of Robo Michael Limited, a company prospecting for oil in Ogoni including Bari-ara Kpalap, Prince Biira, and others bribed one Barry Leema, an employee of Silverbird Rhythm 93.7, a private radio station in Port Harcourt, they went to Green Palm Hotel Bori, Ogoni. Barry Lema took voice from Kpalap and Biira and announced on radio that there was another MOSOP president. That was the genesis of all the nonsense you are seeing and promoting.
Now, tell me, how can we tolerate that kind of behavior in an organization that is campaigning against injustice? How do we build a justice campaign on lies and falsehood. So its all the same tactics of divide and rule Shell and their kinds have used against the movement right from time.
They did not stop there. They instituted an action before a federal high court in Port Harcourt. The same people came to the court to say they wanted to settle the matter out of court. The court gave them leave. They went behind and compiled a list and called it a Transition Council for MOSOP. The court discountenanced their list. The next thing they did was to contemptuously announce the same list on January 4, 2020, attempting to tie the hands of the court to accept their proposal
The court eventually gave judgment in March this year and struck out the matter. And their transition committee became transition thrash. So, take off the idea that there are factions in MOSOP. There is no faction in MOSOP. We have a genuine leadership.
3. Recently, a Steering committee was set up to oversee the activities of MOSOP and conduct fresh elections. Is the caretaker committee acceptable by you and your faction?
You cannot setup a committee for an organization with a substantive executive in place. Moreover, can it ever be right and does it even make common sense that KAGOTE being a separate organization will announce a committee to run the affairs of MOSOP? Its like the Ghanaian government announcing a president and executive council for Nigeria. Does it make any sense?
It is not absurd that people will arrange with the Police and put the president of MOSOP in detention and some persons will go and announce something the court threw away as an executive of MOSOP?
If the court threw away a thing, who is that person to say that thing exists? They were just making caricature of themselves. We cannot accept that injustice in an organization like MOSOP. In the house of a justice campaigner, it is wrong to allow injustice to stink.
Go and check the judgment of the Federal High Court and tell me if it spoke of a Transition Committee which they have tried to create, it did not. I think people should learn to be respectful and obey simple rules which they have set for themselves. The constitution of MOSOP has no room for a caretaker as you call it,
4. Given the volatile nature of Ogoni, how do you intend to bring all stakeholders of Ogoni to a round table to work with you?
Ogoni is a pluralistic society so there are complexities. Everyone cannot work with us and I honestly do not expect that. It has never happened before that a leadership will not have opposition. Competition is natural but it should be conducted within the dictates of the law to promote the well being of society.
5. What is the fate of other arms of MOSOP like NYCOP, FOWA and NUOS under your leadership?
NYCOP, FOWA etc are all affiliates of MOSOP and they all have their constitutional roles. They are doing that. The president of NYCOP, Theophilus Mbagha Esq, the president of FOWA, Namon Nwinde and all others are performing their roles in the struggle and I commend their efforts especially their roles in sustaining the peaceful methods despite the provocations.
6. What are some of the issues that brought about the crisis in the leadership structure and what are your recommendations for a lasting peace within the MOSOP framework?
It will help you to take away this idea of a leadership crisis in MOSOP because there is no such thing. I have told you that Shell and the Nigerian oil industry have always attempted to infiltrate MOSOP and created all the deception. Do you know of any other elected president of MOSOP or you are seeking to promote charlatans who just think MOSOP can be business for them.
7. What do you intend to achieve for the Ogoni people as MOSOP president and what is your advice to the people in the face of the leadership fractionalization?
If you do your investigations properly, you will find that there is no leadership crisis or factionalization in MOSOP. The oil industry cannot be sponsoring people to be mischievous and you turn round to say MOSP is fictionalized. On my focus and what I intend to achieve, first is the key issue of the exoneration of the nine Ogonis including Ken Saro-Wiwa who were hanged on November 10, 1995 by the Nigerian government. Clearing the names of the nine executed activists is key to resolving the Ogoni problem as it has become a key demand of the Ogoni people. The other is for the rights of the Ogoni people to be respected within the Nigerian space. We are a distinct ethnic nationality and therefore should not be denied our rights to function in Nigeria as Ogoni people.