The President of KAGOTE, an umbrella body of socio-cultural groups in Ogoni ethnic nationality, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah has sounded it loud and clear that the organization would remain apolitical in its quest to advance the cause of Ogoni people.
Speaking at the first General Assembly Meeting of the body at Gwara in Khana Local Government Area on Sunday, Deeyah said that under his watch as President, KAGOTE would be steered away from partisanship.
“We do not plan for now or in the near future to endorse or campaign for any particular candidate for any office. We would rather make KAGOTE the rallying point of all Ogoni people irrespective of political, religious or cultural affiliation.
We believe this is one of the reasons for the springing up of other groups jostling for recognition and space in the leadership of Ogoni”, said the KAGOTE President.
He said what the group needed to do at the moment is to unite as a people and confront the challenges besetting Ogoni as a people, even as he urged every Ogoni to feel free to hold his/her political philosophy or ideology.
While also urging that Ogonis should sink individual political differences, the KAGOTE leader congratulated all sons and daughters of Ogoni who picked the tickets of their various political parties for different offices at the recently concluded party primaries.
“I will further advise that they all, should play by the rules and avoid overheating our polity. Violence doesn’t help anyone; rather it is a deterrent of development.
We should also open our doors to non-Ogonis to campaign freely on our land as our sons and daughters may also do so in other places”, he cautioned.
Deeyah who blamed the non convention of the group’s meetings on the government lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, however disclosed that they were able to syndicate and organize a reception for Governor Nyesom Wike.
According to him, “We undertook to do this, believing that it will be a platform to provide deeper access and an avenue to create a convivial atmosphere, to further the interest and development of Ogoni land. It is sad to say that the desired cooperation to follow up from our end was not attained due to inherent lack of synergy, cohesion and foresight by our elites”.
On his achievements since mounting the saddle of leadership, Rt. Hon. Deeyah said the group has worked closely with the four Chairmen of Councils in Ogoni land to secure and sustain some level of peace in the area, and commended them for job well done, while urging them not to rest on their oars.
“On the Clean up, for well over one year now, not much has been done due to the high turnover of the supervising Ministers.
We hope and pray that the present Minister would be allowed to run the project to the end of this Administration”, he said.
The KAGOTE leader also explained the efforts made by the group regarding the deplorable state of the East-West Road. “We wrote to Mr. President requesting for an audience and this led to the visit of Ogoni leaders to the President last year.
“All our requests on that visit was approved by the President, the very first of its kind, to my mind this was unprecedented but, unfortunately, the usual bickering, gossip and outright falsehoods among us made it impossible for a follow up”, he said.