Ogoni Day: AIFES/ODDF Director Calls For Unity, Enjoins Ogonis To Participate In 2023 Elections

The Executive Director of African Indigenous Foundation For Energy and Sustainable Development as well as Ogoni Democratic Development Fourm, AIFES/ODDF, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara has appealed to all Ogonis particularly politicians and political activities to shun their political differences and team up to give Ogoni a sense of belonging in the new political dispensation.

Pyagbara, a former president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) made the charge in his address to mark the 2023 Ogoni Day celebration at Bori on 4th of January.

According to him, it is through active participation of the Ogoni people in elections and voting in their preferred candidates that their collective interest will be achieved and protected.

He recalled raising certain issues in their campaigns in 2015 that bordered on political justice which still persist.

“Our struggle for political representation is not over. In fact, that struggle is still alive and on”, he stressed and called on Ogoni sons and daughters who have not collected their PVCs to do so immediately.

The immediate past MOSOP president also pleaded with his kinsmen to reject the violence that has been repeatedly visited on Ogoniland in recent elections to enable the Ogoni people rightly make their choices and begin to set agenda for political justice in Ogoni.

On resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara said all the related issues must be addressed because of the central role of oil in the Ogoni crisis before any action can take place in that regard.

He noted that apart from the issue of environmental devastation that attended Shell’s operations in Ogoniland, the Ogoni people had raised serious concerns about the total lack of participation of the people in the entire value chain of the oil industry including employment, and the absence of a clear and focused Community Benefit Sharing Agreements (CBSA) and sustainable development process that recognizes the rights of the people to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in accordance with global best practice amongst others.

The demands of the Ogoni people, he said, are well articulated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR). They include: Local autonomy for the Ogoni people within a federal Nigeria; a new economic structure that ensures the use of a fair proportion of Ogoni economic resources for Ogoni development, proper environmental management of Ogoni national resources, etc.

On the need to sustain the Ogoni languages, the AIFES/ODDF Executive Director further disclosed that a committee has been set up to coordinate the development of Ogoni languages, being part of the organization’s programme on language justice and language revitalization.

He therefore called on all Ogoni families, churches, communities, local government councils and the Rivers State government to prioritize the use of mother tongue in the homes.

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