2023: Ogoni Insists On Ethnic Justice
Henry Okere Port Harcourt
The people of Ogoni Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State has appealed to political parties in the State, particularly the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the All Progressive Congress (APC) to give Ogoni the opportunity to produce the next governor come 2023.
The people made the call through a non political group, Ogoni Democracy and Development Forum (ODDF) in Port Harcourt.
Convener of the group and former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Saro Pyagbara while briefing reporters on Thursday insisted that for the purpose of justice, equity and fairness, the Ogonis should be allowed to produce the next governor of the state come 2023.
Pyagbara in his address titled the Road to 2023, said the Ogoni people have been politically marginalized, since the creation of Rivers State in 1967.
He also dismissed the yardstick of upland and riverine dichotomy being propagated by some politicians and political parties for deciding who governs the state in 2023.
Pyagbara said who went down memory lane to explain how governors, deputy governor’s, speakers and chief judges have emerged in the state from the almost all ethnic nations in the state said upland and riverine dichotomy has never been used to determine political leadership in Rivers State
He said “The issue of political marginalisation of the Ogoni people had been one of the triplets of core issues in the ongoing Ogoni struggle for justice.
“While the Ogoni struggle contributed to birthing our current democratic engagement, Ogoni had completely been abandoned. It was based on this realization that the Ogoni people through MOSOP has in March 2013 embarked on a campaign for political justice for the people.
“It is saddening to note that fifty-five years after the creation of Rivers State and twenty eight years after the launch of the Ogoni Bill of Rights, the Ogoni continue to be systematically marginalized in the political affairs of Rivers State and indeed Nigeria.
“Despite it’s size and highly educated population, no Ogoni son or daughter has been elected Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly or Chief Judge of the state judiciary”.
He further stated that similar situation also applies to the military era. “The were no appointees of the Ogoni extraction as Military or Sole Administrator of any State during the 27 years of military rule in Nigeria”, he said.
Legborsi Pyagbara however called on other ethnic nations in Rivers State to support an Ogoni son to emerge next governor of the state in the forthcoming general elections.
“We are appealing that the leaders should demonstrate statesmanship, equity, fair play and sense of justice , by ensuring that a Rivers governor of Ogoni extraction emerges as governorship flag bearers of their various political parties particularly the PDP and the APC.
“We appeal to all people of good conscience and believers in justice to use their goodwill to facilitate justice for the Ogoni people as this would be good business for us all.
“We passionately appeal that for 2023, a Rivers governor of Ogoni extraction be put in place”.