The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has cautioned political parties and their affiliates against inflammatory statements that could jeopardize public peace as the country progresses towards the 2023 elections. MOSOP further urged political party loyalists to desist from inflammatory statements warning that such comments if not restrained could infuriate audiences and carry unpredictable outcomes.
President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke gave the warning in his address to the joint peer review committee of MOSOP during its quarterly review meeting held at the MOSOP Secretariat in Bori on Saturday September 24, 2022. Nsuke expressed concerns that the political landscape was showing strong signs of increasing bickering which could degenerate into violent conflicts between party loyalists.
“We urge parties and their affiliate organisations to focus their campaigns on issues bothering on how to address social problems including decayed infrastructure, unemployment, extremely low standard of living, insecurity and so on rather than insulting people” Nsuke said.
Citing a recent media report in which the Ogoni ethnic nationality was ruled out of the governorship in 2023, Nsuke warned against political campaigns anchored on ethnicity, hate speeches which are very sensitive issues capable of inciting people against one another.
“For the Ogoni people, MOSOP wants to state unequivocally that any political party who turns its campaign into hate speeches targeted at the Ogoni people will be made to pay the price in the way Ogoni will vote during the elections” he said.
“I think we should not allow ethnicity to drive our campaigns. Campaigns that promote racial discrimination, hate speeches and ethnic suppression have a tendency to spur up violence and we should do everything to avoid that” Nsuke said.
“The people of Rivers State will choose its political leadership including who becomes the governor of the state and every contestant including those of Ogoni extraction should have a chance. Whatever be the outcome should be accepted by all in the interest of the state. We need to stop pushing the ethnic card which narrows the essence of leadership to the destructive and corrupt “our turn” syndrome.” Nsuke said.
The MOSOP president further held that while it will be understood that people will want to take advantage of their advantages, it is also important that they protect the peace and overall interest of society by avoiding extreme bickering and hate speeches.
“We must allow everyone to test his or her popularity and not rule out any party. Castigating contestants, political parties and ethnic groups can be infuriating and could escalate into violent conflicts. MOSOP will therefore urge contestants and their followers to exercise utmost restraint in the interest of peace.
Nsuke noted that Rivers State belongs to everyone who is resident in the state and we should all do our best for its development by voting credible and competent people into positions of authority. He said because “what we sow is what we shall reap , if we vote for the right persons, we will likely get the right leadership. If we vote for the wrong people, we will also get poor leadership” he concluded.