The Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF) appears to find itself embroiled in a tumultuous internal crisis following the purported expulsion of Chief (Dr) Legborsi Yamabaana, the President General of OYF.
This development emerged from a communiqué issued on Thursday, November 30, 2023, detailing allegations and decisions made by the National Executive Council during their 6th National Congress held at Amona Hotel in Saakpenwa, Tai Local Government Area.
The communiqué, signed jointly by Acting President-General, Comrade Emmanuel Goteh Bie, Secretary-General, Hon. Mesua Ntormabari, Publicity Secretary, Barr Lene Kingsley Lekue, Financial Secretary, Amb. Dimkpa Kingsley, and a member, Engr. Faith B Nuate highlighted several issues.
These included protests at the operational headquarters of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in Port Harcourt, allegations of financial mismanagement, and accusations of receiving gratifications.
In response to these concerns, the Congress passed resolutions. They moved for a vote of no confidence leading to the indefinite suspension and expulsion of Dr. Legborsi Yamaabana from OYF.
Additionally, they proposed an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into Legborsi’s financial dealings to recover funds meant for Ogoni youths and regional development projects.
Acting President General, Comrade Emmanuel Bie, called on Dr. Legborsi Yamaabana to return all OYF-related documents and materials within 48 hours or face consequences.
However, in a swift response, Dr. Legborsi asserted his position as the legitimate President General backed by the organization’s constitution.
Legborsi who spoke with National Network, contested the authority of the group, labeling them ‘renegades’, and cited a previous National Congress held in Bori on November 25, 2023.
According to Legborsi, this congress expressed confidence in him and extended his tenure by 24 months. He stated that a communiqué from the National Congress disassociated itself from the suspension, instead opting to indefinitely suspend four renegade individuals allegedly involved in misconduct and financial impropriety related to HYPREP.
Legborsi emphasized that the National Congress cautioned against any harm to his person and urged the immediate intervention of the Honorable Minister of Environment in the dispute between Ogoni Youths and the HYPREP Project Coordinator.
Crucially, the National Congress holds the highest decision-making authority within the Ogoni Youth Federation, as per its Constitution. These conflicting claims and decisions have thrown the federation into a contentious deadlock, sparking concerns about its stability and the future direction of Ogoni youth affairs.