Re: Joint press release by kagote and gininwa’s traditional rulers’ council
The attention of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has been drawn to a “Joint Press Release by one supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers and kagote” published in a local tabloid, Port Harcourt Weekly Watch – August 9-16, 2016.
In a desperate attempt to deflate factual revelations of MOSOP concerning the regrouping vultures of Ogoni especially peter medee, assembling under the aegis of one lifeless “kagote” and gininwa’s traditional rulers’ council published spurious, mischievous and misleading report against MOSOP and its leadership. MOSOP has thus responded for the simple reason of correcting the thrash deliberately released to misinform uninformed Ogonis and the general public and divert attention from the grave expositions made by the apex Ogoni body.
Secondly, the release undoubtedly exposed the gang as a bunch that acts before reasoning. In fact, in their utter confusion and desperation, they fraudulently included the name of His Royal Majesty, King Barnabas Bagia, JP as a signee of their statement when the Gokana monarch is presently in a very critical health condition in hospital occasioning inability to respond to treatment. Our investigation has further shown that his prior, informed consent was not sort neither did he sign the document nor authorise same. Similarly, many of those listed as signatories were unaware.
“kagote” and MOSOP
The present “kagote” is a counterfeit as the original, we insist, died upon the formation of MOSOP in 1990. Therefore, the claim to the real KAGOTE by the fake body is not only misleading and ridiculous but most unfortunate. Upon the establishment of MOSOP, the original KAGOTE became dysfunctional and declined into oblivion. As a result of glaring deficiencies barring ability to meet the main reason for its creation especially with the admission of elements masking as elites but failed to imbibe the ideals of the body, the leadership opted for an alternative platform. Rather than champion the growth and development of Ogoni,the then KAGOTE abandoned that critical objective and became a mere platform for merry-making and showcasing affluence and bigmanism. Deeply disenchanted with the situation, the leaders and most members of the organisation including but not limited to Dr G.B. Leton, Chief E.N. Kobani, Ken Saro Wiwa, Chief Nwikpo, Chief Nwieke, Chief K.A. Apenu, Elder Lekue Lah-Loolo, Dr.Bulo, HRH Orji Awala, Dr Barinem Kiobel (all late); Hon. Lebari Nwara, Chief Anthony Gua, Prof Ben Naanen, Dr Abraham Olumgwe (formerly Dr Olua Kamalu), Ledum Mitee, Dr Meshack Karanwi pulled out and formed MOSOP. This development overwhelmed remnants of the membership hence they were unable to remobilise to keep the structure. No wonder the body could not recover from the mass exodus and consequently evaporated and lost its place in Ogoni and by extension Nigeria. This situation is comprehensible as no organisation would lose such calibre of leading lights without an appropriate transition and survive.
Its coffin was completely nailed with its support not only for the murderous Abacha military junta, which ordered military occupation and unprovoked killing spree in Ogoni but also involvement in controversial circumstances surrounding the death of Ken Saro Wiwa and thousands of others. Many of their remnants also bore false witness against our compatriots as well as persecuted our people using the defunct Rivers State Internal Security Task Force that killed over 3,000 Ogonis. In fact, their traditional king etc were alleged to have actively participated including endorsing documents, which facilitated the hanging of the then Ogoni nine. Her death further came to the fore when the UN Fact Finding Mission on Ogoni visited Nigeria in 1996. Aside MOSOP and its affiliates, all other Niger Delta ethnic nationality organisations and civil society groups were consulted except KAGOTE. In 1998 when the UN Rapporteur on Nigeria similarly visited he met with these bodies but KAGOTE was again not considered. Between 1990 and 2016, there has been no single project or cause geared towards Ogoni emancipation or development that kagote or gininwa’s group has championed.
The present fake kagote, which formation was politically motivated is a new creation dubiously given that name. It was formed couple of years ago by an Ogoni politician as a community platform to drive his political interests and serve as an alternative to MOSOP considered as too independent and which would refuse external control. The name kagote was adopted for fear that a new name will not quickly strike gold with the people hence would not enhance attainment of the primary objective in view of the fast-paced political developments in the state. A marked difference between the counterfeit and the original is that the former is peopled by local politicians belonging to a political party and mainly supporters of the founder and financier. The other members, insignificantly few and belonging to other interests are voiceless and treated with disdain.
It is thus erroneous to say that MOSOP is kagote’s baby meant to implement “radical decisions of the elders”. If one would ask, which elders? Those that pulled out of the failed body were they youths? At the time it existed, was Kagote not a pressure group? Anyway, the truth is known across Ogoni and beyond. As we have said repeatedly, MOSOP is not contesting leadership of Ogoni with anybody or group because the Ogoni people already know their leaders. Whether the gang likes it or not, the leadership cannot be won by falsehood and blackmail but can only be achieved by deeds. We are very proud that the MOSOP led Ogoni struggle has brought our people from grass to grace and our remarkable feat has not only endeared us to them but also meritoriously earned us global recognition. This cannot be said of kagote, which is battling for notice. MOSOP is an international brand; no wonder kagote hates the organisation.
The comparison of organisational developments in other communities with what obtains in Ogoni is rubbish. MOSOP is an umbrella of several constituent organisations including the umbrella youth body of the Ogoni people, the National Youth Council of the Ogoni People (NYCOP). It is not a youth body with links to, or an affiliate of any other platform in the area. So, the issue of other ethnic nationality groups such as Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC); Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Arewa Youth Forum (AYF); Ohaneze; Afenifere and Odua People’s Congress (OPC); Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention and Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) cited regarding relationship are inapplicable in our case. Facts abound that MOSOP is an independent apex body of the Ogoni people with mandate to mobilise, articulate and manage the community’s liberation campaigns as well as lead the Ogoni people to the promise land. MOSOP is doing just this and kagote should leave her alone. The pseudo Kagote must realise that inflicting herself on the people will surely be resisted.
Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR)
The Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) was published in 1990, after the formation of MOSOP same year and sent to the then Federal Military Government and Shell. It is therefore incorrect to say that the OBR was presented by Ken Saro Wiwa at a kagote meeting, modified and approved by the body in 1991. It is also false that only government recognised traditional rulers signed the historic document. As at the time the OBR was endorsed in 1990, Pastor M.P. Maeba, Hon. Lebari Nwara, Dr G.B. Leton, Elder Lekue Lah-Loolo, Dr Israel Kue, Prince J.S. Sangha, Mr. Simeon Idemyor, Mr. Ken Saro Wiwa, Mr. M.C. Daanwii and Dr Ben Birabi were not government recognised chiefs. In fact most of the chiefs that signed the document were not government recognised. The gang, no doubt, has lost their sense of history and we challenge them to prove otherwise.
On mandate, it is incontestable that MOSOP has the mandate of the Ogoni people to speak or act on their behalf. The argument of kagote in this regard betrays envy and jealousy. MOSOP did not buy or force the mandate but voluntarily given to her and it has not been withdrawn. And this has arisen from visibly meaningful deeds. Unfortunately, and as a dead wood, kagote or gininwa’s traditional rulers’ council cannot get the mandate.
Ogoni Oil Extraction Resumption, NPDC and Related Matters
We insist that medee and his gang of crooks have entered into a deal with NPDC regarding immediate resumption of oil production in Ogoni to the tune of 1% of oil extraction profit after tax. And that their denials are mere face saving devices while the allegation of bribery levelled against the MOSOP leadership is to soil their integrity and divert attention. We deny having received any bribe from Belema Oil. It is recalled that in 2015, the gang alleged that the MOSOP leadership collected thirty million naira (N30,000,000) only from the company while in the current allegation, the amount has reduced to twenty million naira (N20,000,000) only. Lies they say, always have a short life span and collapses in the face of truth.
It is common knowledge that MOSOP fought Belema Oil and its taking over the Ogoni Oil concession to death. If the MOSOP leadership was so bribed we do not think it would have been possible to take the sort of hard position that saw to the defeat of that whole pursuit. What peter medee and its kagote as well as gininwa did regarding Belema Oil and resumption of oil mining in Ogoni is still fresh on our minds. Attempts to criminalise us, we assure, will not deter us from championing the cause of our people as the Ogoni people are already aware of their motives.
The truth remains that the revered stay upright to keep that reverence.The dreadful covert operations of peter medee at the peak of repression in Ogoni, using the cover of his Ogoni nativity, which lives excruciating pains on our minds and having failed to repent, does not and cannot make him revered. We maintain that as a Spy Police Officer of Shell, he carried out dirty jobs against his Ogoni people. Reports available to MOSOP, we would say again, showed that his filed spy intelligence and surveillance reports informed Shell’s sponsorship of the invasion of Ogoni by combined forces of Nigerian soldiers and Andoni attackers in which scores of children, women and elderly natives of Ogoni coastal communities including Kaa, Eeken, Yaghaba and Kpean were slaughtered innocently and in cold blood. And the Ogoni people cannot forget this bestial incident in a hurry.
In doing the dirty jobs, medee cruelly damned the gruesome, cold blooded murder of innocent Ogoni children, women and men by armed Andoni assailants who on July 15, 1993 waylaid these Ogoni returnees from Cameroon on the Andoni river and callously took their lives without provocation. They however spared the lives of about two of the women to go and inform those at home. Of course, we are not surprised at his heartlessness as unpleasant, murderous stories are told about their family including that his father has been implicated in murderous activities and banished from their home town, Baraobara.
The Conference of Ogoni Traditional Rulers (COTRA) is an affiliate of MOSOP. It is membered by paramount rulers of villages, towns and communities, other traditional rulers and chiefs including the government recognised. It is therefore laughable the claim that COTRA has melted into the shabby supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers.
Insofar as we are concerned there is no supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers in Ogoni. Each of the six Kingdoms making up Ogoni has its own constituent traditional rulers’ council, which are at liberty to come under the umbrella of COTRA or otherwise. It is just as there is no central monarch in the region.
The so-called supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers emerged following controversies relating to the demise of Mr. Baridor Konya. We are aware that it was formed as a neutral platform to attempt resolution of the conflicts emanating from the said death especially as the conflicting parties wanted such body. Evidence abound that His Royal Highness, King Suanu T.Y. Baridam, JP in view of his impeccable integrity and enviable dispute resolution records was involved in the efforts at ensuring an amicable and enduring resolution of the conflict. We are also aware that gininwa and others did beg the highly respected King Baridam, JP and signed documents relating to his assisting the council as its spokesman.
The revered King has offended nobody and he is serving no suspension. He is only being persecuted for his refusal to kill COTRA and MOSOP as wanted by gininwa and co who had approached him on several occasions.
We would say without fear that no organisation in Ogoni can be compared to any affiliate of MOSOP, kagote and the supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers inclusive.
The allegation that the President of MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara had begged gininwa and his cohort for forgiveness is not only false but also stupid. The MOSOP leader has had nothing personal or done anything wrong to warrant begging gininwa or requested anybody to plea on his behalf. Facts abound that gininwa had sent various emissaries to the MOSOP leader pleading for peace and pardon for obvious wrong doings especially his controversial conduct against MOSOP.
Mr. Pyagbara, we would add is a man of peace and has not and will never threaten anybody. Those that are raising the issue of a repeat of the Giokoo incident are the people plotting to kill him and other leaders of the Movement. But we are not afraid as our cause is just and credible and divinely supported.
Non-Existing Ogoni Ethnic Nationality Group
MOSOP has nothing to do with the Ogoni Ethnic Nationality Group and is not involved in their publications. However, citizens have the right to freedom of expression under our laws.
Vultures will come and vultures will go but MOSOP will remain unmovable. In God we trust and since the murderous Abacha regime could not sway our resolve, the devious activities of the counterfeit kagote and gininwa’s onslaughts are doomed to fail.
Media/Public Affairs Advisor
10 August, 2016