Posted by News Express | 30 December 2014 | 4,189 times
Ogonis have declared that they would boycott the 2015 elections if political parties in Rivers State do not substitute their candidates for an Ogoni candidate.
They issued the threat yesterday during a protest march along the Port Harcourt – Aba Road in Port Harcourt organised by the Movement for the Survive of Ogoni People (MOSOP). Hundreds of Ogonis converged at Rumuola junction and marched to Isaac Boro Park, singing solidarity songs and decrying the alleged marginalisation of their ethnic group.
Addressing the protesters, former Ogoni student leader, Mr. Simeon Waayii, who led the protest, said: “We will boycott the next year’s election if the political parties in the state did not act fast to substitute their candidates to an Ogoni candidate. We cannot be betrayed when we are the sole contributor of socio-economic development of Rivers State and Nigeria.
“We are protesting injustice and marginalisation against Ogoni 2015 project by successive administrations in Nigeria and stakeholders in Rivers State. We want to govern Rivers State in 2015 and since 1967 when Rivers State was created we have not produce governor, deputy and chief judge.”
Also addressing the protesters, MOSOP President Legborsi Pyagbara said: “The protest is our disapproval of the political campaign in Rivers State; we are not interested in the campaign in our communities. We are also using the protest to call on those who are concerned that Ogoni cannot wait for another four to eight years before we could be allow to rule.
“We have been in the wilderness. And we are tired, that is why we decided to tell the world that we disapprove the political decision against the Ogoni people. We demand an explanation because we have made a lot of sacrifices and we cannot continue to be taken for granted.”
Going down memory lane, Pyagbara said: “Twenty four years ago, we launched a struggle for the political emancipation, economic redemption and environmental restoration of Ogoniland after over 30 years of independence; today, Ogoni is still burning in the flames of withering injustice.
“It was this realisation that propelled us in line with the provisions of the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) to launch the Ogoni Project 2015 which amongst others, sought Ogoni’s political representation in the position of governor of Rivers State come 2015. We provided all the analysis needed to convince whoever that cared about Ogoni that in the spirit of the principle of rotation, affirmative action and the federal character principle, this opportunity should be given to Ogoni come 2015. The parties had jettisoned this request of ours and had ignored Ogoni in the process, thereby humiliating all of us and making a mockery of the democracy which we all suffered for and nourished with our sweat and with the Ogoni blood. This is injustice.
“My dear brothers and sisters, wounded justice lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our motherland must be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme amongst the children of men.
“So we have come here today to dramatise the shameful condition in which the Ogoniman had been put politically in Rivers State. We have come all the way from Ogoni, men and women to the capital of injustice in Nigeria, Rivers State where fairness and justice had been undermined.
“We are here to demand a just and fair democratic system which treats every ethnic group equally and with fairness. We are here to declare that Ogoni has come to the point where we would not allow political traitors to continue to deceive us. As the late British Prime Minister, William Gladstone, stated, ‘Politics without morality is like a bicycle without break’. Those who cannot keep their words cannot be trusted.”
The MOSOP President called on the federal government to come to the rescue of the people of Ogoniland and take a decisive action in favour of the people.
His words: “We are appreciative of what is happening on the environmental front by the federal government but we believe more still needs to be done particularly in terms of taking the process forward and also defining a clear political future for the Ogoni people. Until this is done, we do not think what is going on will be acceptable.
“It is also on this note that we are inviting the Rivers State Government to undo the toga of betrayal of the Ogoni people by telling us the place of the Ogoni people in their planned political process. We will continue to make a strong demand upon Rivers State because this is where we stay, this is where we work and this is where we pay our taxes.”
•Based on a THISDAY report. Photo shows MOSOP President Pyagbara.
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