Responding to a malicious publication in a section of the media notably, the Port Harcourt Weekly Watch Newspaper of August 2 – 9, 2022, Vol. 16 No 73, page 5, titled, “Your Continuous Support For The PDP Governorship Candidate Is Akin To Selling Ogoni Into Slavery, & Throwing Mud On The Legacies Bequeathed On You By Our Forebearers” addressed to Hon. Sen. Barry Mpigi and Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor may be seen as according some respect and recognition to those behind the garbage routed through one Comrade Solomon Lenu.
However, common sense demands some response, one, to put the facts straight for the sake of vulnerable and impressionable minds that could be misinformed by the well-tailored lies and malice contained in the publication.
Secondly, to educate the conspirators on how best to love a people and prove so in a civilized manner without necessarily continuing to rubbish and under-develop the entire land by hitting the air and making no headway.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Ogoni is an integral part of the nation, Nigeria. It is also not doubtful that we, Ogonis, have not been fairly treated in the allocation of resources both by past state and federal governments with respect to elective and appointive positions commensurate with our contributions and sacrifices to the economic and political stability of this country.
We have said this several times, and continued to say and draw the attention of the various governments and relevant agencies to this fact. In the state and national parliaments, the Ogoni issue is not new but rather prominent on the front burner of discourse.
In Nigeria, different ethnic nationalities have their own complaints and reservations and each goes about them the way they deem fit to achieve results.
We are running a democratic government where the manner and way to go about presenting worrying issues are stipulated which of course, I can boldly say, we are doing with all our strength and with every sense of purpose.
It’s not a matter of talking from the comfort of your little enclave or to sound populist.
First and foremost, remember where you are coming from. You may have fought and what did you get in return. How did that help or worsen your condition. The essence of providing answers to all these questions and many more is to enable you avoid the mistakes of the past and to come up with better strategies to get desired results that will benefit the majority of our people.
Another beauty of democracy is that it offers the opportunity of different platforms through which these agitations could be pursued.
Hence, there are various political parties accredited by the relevant authority, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through which groups and individuals can seek political power which is the only instrument used to effecting changes at different levels of government.
All these political parties include but not limited to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ACCORD Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Labour Party, etc. The membership of all these parties is also open to all without exclusion as of choice.
Accordingly, in Ogoni and the rest parts of Rivers South-East Senatorial District, all these Parties are very much active with notable Ogonis as members just as Hon. Senator Barry Mpigi and Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor are members of the PDP.
What makes their own affiliation to the party (PDP) of their choice criminal and that of others in other parties saintly is what Comrade Solomon Lenu and his co-travelers did not tell whoever cares to listen.
But from their shallow argument, all Ogoni political actors and political office sackers should belong to the same political party which in their illusion is all that is required to achieve the desire of having a governor of Ogoni extraction in 2023.
Also in their illusion, Ogonis do not need the votes of other ethnic groups in the state to achieve the ‘Ogoni Governor’ in 2023. No thinking could be more parochial.
Even the publication itself smacks of partisanship, campaigning for certain individuals by Solomon Lenu which makes him guilty of the same ‘Sin’ he appeared to be condemning while disapproving of Senator Mpigi’s and Rt. Hon. Dekor’s support for their own party and for not dumping the PDP because an Ogoni man was not elected the governorship candidate of the party in Rivers State.
Also implicit in their faulty reasoning, it is only Ogoni that should be reckoned with, and no other part of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District counts, not even Opobo/Nkoro where Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the PDP governorship candidate hails from. This is also not true as such position is capable of inciting other parts of the district against Ogoni.
Yes, the emergence of an Ogoni son as the governorship candidate of the PDP would have been a welcome development but where that was not to be, in Solomon Lenu’s calculation on the best option would have been to dump the party. Yet he did not show how Ogoni ethnic nationality would win the coveted office of the Governor without other ethnic groups if political power were to be grabbed based on ethnic nationalities.
And for not toeing his path of illusion, Mr. Lenu went on to malign the Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor as one who trades on gossiping and backstabbing his own kinsmen without mentioning one victim of such alleged evil.
This, in our own thinking is very unfair and ungrateful to a man who has done so much for the Ogoni youths in their respective vocations and skills. Of all human frailties, said William Shakespeare, ingratitude is the worst and every ingrate is the worst enemy of his people including Mr. Solomon Lenu and his paymasters.
We believe that rather than discourage the Rt. Hon. Dekor from his avowed interest in uplifting the Ogoni youths, students and women, etc, the baseless and scathing remarks about his philanthropic gestures will spur him to do more and we wish him all the best in his desire to be re-elected into the National Assembly in 2023.
Rather than choose the option of the un-helping seat of self adulation and fruitless criticism, why not make yourself available by joining any of the platforms for the same purpose – the emancipation of our oppressed people.
It does not matter which way the answers come or through whom. We’ll all celebrate at any positive outcome because our people and posterity will be better and happier for it.
Unfortunately, some of us in the mold of the writers of this hollow and relevance-seeking message of self praise who have ignorantly and stupidly arrogated to themselves the power of clairvoyance and all-knowing rather than join in the fight for our collective good feel more comfortable maligning others and running down those who are doing and have done what they can never do to see Ogoni move on with other civilized nations of the world.
Theirs is to continue to cry wolf and lament in perpetuity like motion without movement. Without joining issues or toeing the same path of buffoonery and name calling, I challenge these senseless desperados to be bold enough to unveil their mask and show the Ogoni people, not the world, what they have done for the people in their own little positions to justify their vituperations against the genuine Ogoni leaders.
I make bold to say that the Ogonis – the youths, the women, the elite, traditional rulers and opinion leaders know who is who in Ogoni and cannot subscribe to the cheap blackmail and run-them-down syndrome by the faceless charlatans.
While we pray for the speedy development of our land and the necessary peace and love that are the drivers of development which of course, are one of the landmark achievements of Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor across Ogoni Communities in Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, it is my prayer that undesirable elements and enemies of the land in whatever disguise will allow peace a chance in our land and learn to appreciate good works and keep away from putting the Ogoni wheel of progress backward on selfish ground of “if not me, it must not be any other”.
Long live Ogoni!
Long live Rivers State!!
Elder John Ledum
Ogoni Peoples Congress (OPC)