Port Harcourt — The Ogoni Democracy and Development Forum, says resumption of oil exploration and production activities in Ogoniland should not be used as a yardstick for emergence of a governor from Ogoni extraction in 2023.
This is as the group has appealed to leaders of Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress, to ensure that a Rivers Governor of Ogoni extraction emerges as governorship flag bearers on their various political parties.
Convener of the group, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, wondered why people always make reference to non-oil production in Ogoniland when it comes politics, whereas all the governors who have ruled the state since 1999 till date, are not from oil producing areas.
Pyagbara said the people of Ogoni shut down oil production in Ogoniland in 1993 in order to pave the way for a dialogue to address the issues of political and economic marginalization of Ogoniland, regretting that up till this moment, the Ogoni has continue to be systematically marginalized in the political affairs of Rivers State and Nigeria.
He explained that since the creation of Rivers State in 1967 till date, no person form Ogoni extraction has ever been a Governor, Deputy Governor, House of Assembly Speaker or Chief Judge, saying that just like the South West was compensated with the Presidency in 1999 over June 12 election, in the spirit of justice and inclusion, an Ogoni person should become governor in 2023.
“Oil resumption in Ogoniland should not be used as a yardstick for emergence of a governor from Ogoni extraction in 2023.
Previous governors from 1999 till date are not from oil producing communities, neither have their commuunuties ever played host to any oil facility.
“So when people mention unproductive state of OML11, they are mainly being economical with the truth. Buhari is from Katsina State and he’s the President of Nigeria, is oil being produced in his country home?
“Rotimi Ameachi from Ubima was a governor for eight years, Sir Peter Odili from Ndoni was also the governor for eight years; Governor Nyesom Wike is almost rounding up as agovernor for two terms, non of them are from oil producing areas. Is Rumueprikom an oil bearing community?
“So why should Ogoni oil become an anchor point whenever we are demanding for a Rivers State governor from Ogoni extraction?
“So we are saying that in the spirit of fairplay, equity and justice, the two major political parties which is the APC and PDP should field candidates from Ogoni ethnic nationality.”
The group further said that Ogoni national healing and reconciliation process with the Nigeria state nay Rivers State can actually take off from Ogoni governor in 2023
“As the clock ticks to the 2023 general elections and political parties are making frantic efforts to meet the deadline set by INEC for the emergence of candidates to represent their various political parties, we wish to draw the attention of leaders of the political parties to seize this opportunity to address the political injustice that had been done against the Ogoni people over the years by successive governments in Rivers State since its creation.
“We are appealing that the leaders should demonstrate statesmanship, equity, fairplay and sense ofjustice by ensuring that a Rivers Governor of Ogoni Extraction emerges as governorship flag bearers on their various political parties particularly the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress.
“The questions that clearly need answers in the circumstance are, what crime did the Ogoni people commit to be underserving of political recognition since 1999? Is this happening to the Ogoni people because of their being considered a small and powerless Indigenous minority which cannot threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria? When will the Ogoni national healing and reconciliation process within the Nigeria state begin?”
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