MOSOP 2024 Elections: Setting The Records Straight


Following the elections crisis that rocked MOSOP in December, 2020, upon the suspension of the electoral process by Chief Gbaranor Deebari Keeper and the subsequent self-declaration by Chief Prince Nuyete Biira, former leaders of MOSOP led by Barrister Ledum Mitee and Dr. Owens Wiwa intervened in the crisis first by dissolving all the factions of MOSOP laying claim to the MOSOP Presidency.

The MOSOP Peace Committee (MPC) was then created to organize the affairs of MOSOP until elections are conducted. The MPC was chaired by Barr. Ledum Mitee and Dr. Owens Wiwa as co-chair. The MPC has over 20 members all reputable sons and daughters of Ogoni such as Chief  Otua Hart, the late Mr. Monday Abue, Mr. Lenu Kpagih, Prof. Don Baridam, Dr. Abraham Olungwe, Dame Joi Nunieh, Mr. Morgan Menegbo etc.

The MPC also created another committee whose mandate was largely to carry out administrative functions as determined by the MPC for the organization called the MOSOP Peace Coordinating Committee (MPCC). The MPCC was headed by Dr. Gbenemene Kpae  with Mr. Williams Probel as Secretary.The MPCC was made up of largely young vibrant Ogoni youths such as Dum Syl, Nwinadum Wey ,  Prince Kabari  etc.


The MPCC set out almost immediately with engagement with all the factions of MOSOP and meetings with grassroots members of the movement coordinated by former MOSOP Kingdom coordinators.

In respect of the widespread consultations of the MPCC, the MPC convened a meeting on the 5th November 2021.  Chief amongst the resolutions of the meeting was the decision to hold a MOSOP Congress on   Saturday, 13th November 2021 at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori.


On Saturday, 13th November 2021, a MOSOP Congress was held at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori chaired by Barr. Ledum Mitee.  The Congress was well attended.

Amongst other resolutions, the Congress reaffirmed the earlier dissolution of all factions of MOSOP taken by MPC in January 2021 and called on the MPC to initiate the process of elections into MOSOP leadership before the end of the year.


Following the successful congress, a meeting of the MPC was convened on the 24th November 2021.

After exhaustive debate at the meeting, the MPC constituted two committees on the said date. A 9-man Electoral Committee was set up with Reverend Dr. Abraham Olungwe (formerly Dr. Olua Kamalu and longtime Deputy President of MOSOP) appointed as Chairman and Pastor Chris Asigbor as Secretary.  The ELECO was given the mandate to conduct elections into all offices of MOSOP.

The other committee was the 5-member MOSOP Reconciliation Committee headed by the late Mr. Monday Abueh as Chairman and Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara as Secretary. The mandate of the committee was to reach out to other members of the MPC who were no longer active with the group.

The ELECO swung into actions immediately and began the validation of membership list  followed by the issuance of guidelines for the elections including timetable for the elections.

An emergency meeting of MOSOP Reform Committee was convened on Monday 20th December 2021 at Aldgate Congress Hotel to review developments with the elections so far and the journey with the reconciliation process. The meeting was presided over by the late Mr. Monday Abueh and attended by all the leading members of the MPC including Barr. Ledum Mitee, Mr. Lenu Kpagih etc.

After extensive deliberations, it was agreed that the elections could not be concluded by the end of December 2021. The meeting resolved amongst others that:

1)That reconciliation should continue simultaneously with the electoral processes to allow for unfettered participation of all interested persons in the election process

2) That for the purposes of the elections, ongoing MOSOP membership revalidation exercise which is being handled by chapters and coordinated by Kingdom Coordinators should be concluded on the 3rd January 2022.

3) That the Electoral Committee should carry out voters sensitisation and ensure that MOSOP elections at all levels are concluded by 30th March 2022.

It would be recalled that the MPC meeting held on the 10th March 2022 and Presided over by Prof. Ben Naanen extended the conclusion of all national elections to 2nd April 2022.


The process of the MOSOP elections that culminated in the MOSOP 2024 Elections had been on since 2022. Between January -March 2022, the ELECO had screened contestants into the various offices of MOSOP from the chapter to national levels and conducted elections into the chapter leadership, some kingdoms and some affiliates.

Within this period, the Chief Prince Biira led faction of MOSOP had approached the Customary Court at Saakpenwan, Tai calling for the stoppage of the elections with the argument that he had been the duly elected President of MOSOP. After two appearances on the matter, the Customary Court, Saakpenwan, Tai on the 16th March 2022 issued an injunction restraining the ELECO from conducting any elections into the leadership of MOSOP.

Following this development, the Chairman of the MPCC, Dr. Gbenemene Kpae filed an appeal at the Customary Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt against the decisions of the Customary Court Tai, Saakpenwan.

During the pendency of this case, the remaining elections were suspended so long as the case lasted.

The journey to the Customary Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt lasted for two years with lawyers from both parties journeying to the Court seeking for justice depending on which side of the divide he or she belonged.


On Thursday, 7th March 2024, the Customary Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt vacated the order of the lower court which had restrained the ELECO from conducting the elections. This implies that the ELECO could go ahead with their elections.

With this development and armed with the judgement of the Customary Court of Appeal, the MOSOP Electoral Committee had to swing into actions immediately. Having screened the candidates earlier in 2022, the ELECO set out dates for the conduct of the remaining elections and communicated same to all the aspirants on the 9th March 2024. The Kingdom Elections were scheduled for Tuesday 12th March 2024 whilst the National Elections were scheduled for Wednesday 13th March 2024.

On Tuesday, 12th March 2024, elections were held in the kingdoms and MOSOP executives were elected on that day in a rancour free process except in Eleme where there were reports of protest against a particular candidate.

On Wednesday, 13th March 2024, the national elections that was to be held at Bori could not hold because Khana Local Government Authorities and the Police refused it to hold on the grounds that there exists a law against public events within Bori without the approval of the local government chairman. By the time, I and Prof. Ben Naanen intervened, and the Local Government Chairman agreed that the elections could go on, it was already late in the day to hold the elections that day.

The national elections were then rescheduled for Thursday, 14th March 2024 when it was duly held.

All the delegates were accredited and given badges, candidates present presented their manifestoes and voting took place and results declared right before the public. Engr. Olu Andah Wai-Ogosu, two-time President of the Nigerian Environment Society(NES)  won the elections after polling a total of 51 votes.

It is instructive to note that the elections was fully covered by the Press accredited to cover the elections. Arise Television, AIT with the Inside the Niger Delta Crew, Garden City Radio, Super FM were all present at the election’s venue.

All living past leaders of MOSOP except Barr. Ledum Mitee who was out of town was present on ground for the elections as observers. Professor Ben Naanen, pioneer Secretary-General of MOSOP and former Chairman of MOSOP Provisional Council was present, I was present and my successor, Chief Deebari Gbaranor Keeper was also present. It remains one of the most peaceful MOSOP elections in history.

For the education of those who do not know, MOSOP elections has always been a delegate election. It is never a congress elections involving all members of MOSOP or Ogoni people.  From the first elections held in Chief Edward Kobani’s Residence in Bodo in September 1991 that produced Dr. GB Leton as President to the one that produced Ken Saro-Wiwa as President in absentia in July 1993 at Port Harcourt, from the one that legitimized Ledum Mitee leadership held in December 1999 at Bori to the one that produced me in December 2012, MOSOP elections have always been a delegate election as stipulated by the MOSOP elections.  Apart from the first two leadership enthronements, the delegate number has always been between 50 – 60 persons comprising 3 delegates per kingdom and affiliates. I won my elections with 42 votes whilst my rivals got 15, 1 and 0 respectively.

So, for those who were expecting the whole of Ogoni to turn up to vote, it is unfortunately not done that way. The main power of MOSOP elections resides with the members of MOSOP chapters at the grassroots of the Ogoni society who vote at the chapter levels. Every registered member of MOSOP is expected to participate in the elections at the chapters of MOSOP. The leadership of all the MOSOP chapters congregate to vote at the Kingdom levels for MOSOP Kingdom leadership.  Three persons selected by each of the kingdom leadership and affiliates meet as a steering committee to elect the national leadership of MOSOP.


Over the week, my attention has been drawn to the harangues of Dr. Fortune Chujor over the outcome of the elections. As a human being, Dr. Chujor, has every right to protest where his rights have been abridged. In doing so, one would naturally expect him to be mature, sensible, respectful, decorous and honest with his claims.

Dr. Fortune Chujor displayed the greatest mockery of himself when he claimed that his name was just listed amongst contestants. The aforementioned Dr. Chujor bought form to contest for the position of the President of MOSOP and campaigned vigorously for the post. There was no time to the best of my knowledge that Dr. Chujor announced his withdrawal from the race that would warrant the ELECO to have dropped his name from the list of contestants.

As an observer to the elections, I had asked the ELECO when he was not present and I was shown messages communicated to him about the elections.   Apparently. Dr. Chujor knew he was going to fail in the elections and decided to stay away.

On the claims of MOSOP elections always being held in December, this is also patently false.

Dr. GB Leton and Ken Saro-Wiwa enthronement elections were not held in December and not also in Bori as I have stated previously.

Following Barr. Ledum Mitee’s suspension in October 1998 by the diaspora wing of the Movement, the National Steering Committee in Nigeria responded by quashing the suspension. In lieu of the national elections of 1999, the Steering Committee in order to legitimize Mitee’s leadership decided to fix the elections in December 1999 after the brouhaha of the Nigeria’s national elections.

Secondly, judicial decisions always change the calendar of nations and organizations.  For instance, all the states in Nigeria participated in the 1999 General Elections and the Governors all sworn in May 29, 1999. Over the years, some states due to judicial interventions are no longer following that calendar. The Guber Elections in Bayelsa, Anambra etc are held differently from the rest of the country due to these judicial interventions.

Interestingly and chameleonically, Dr. Fortune Chujor was in the meeting at Aldgate Congress Hotel in December 2021 when it was resolved that all elections should be concluded by March 2022. He did not raise a whimper. He was also in attendance in the meeting of 10th March 2022 when the decision to extend the conclusion of the elections to  2nd April 2022 and he did not raise a whimper. When I agreed to pay to Rhythm radio in that March 10 meeting for all presidential aspirants to appear for a debate, he congratulated me. He did not raise concerns about elections being conducted in March/April. He did not make the elections and he suddenly realized that elections was supposed to be in December 2024. What a pity!

There is no way MOSOP would have waited till December 2024 before holding the elections particularly when there are precedents when elections were held before December. Not even when we had the sort of crisis that we have to deal with. Not when it is vividly evident that some individuals in Ogoni with divisive tendencies would have even gone to another court to take injunction against the elections and throw us into another round of leadership darkness.

Third, Dr. Chujor in his rant tried to connect my commitment to the elections with the issue of HYPREP. I must state here unequivocally and unashamedly that if there is any people that should benefit from HYPREP, it is the Ogoni people and I should be one of them. With all sense of humility and responsibility, I make bold to say that apart from those who died in the struggle, I am among those alive who have made the greatest sacrifice for MOSOP and the Ogoni struggle.

I come from a bloodline of activists. My late father was the pioneer Treasurer of NYCOP Nyokhana Kingdom and my late mother, Secretary of FOWA Nyokuru town.

My father was the only one declared wanted in my entire community by the Okuntimo led killer squad in connivance with a sadistic local governnemt chairman at the time who wanted my father  dead at all cost. We took refuge in the bush for one month before my father’s journey to hiding for one year without his family.

As the leader of National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) that  continued the Ogoni struggle when all other groups went underground, I was haunted and hunted from home to my university. My hostel was raided on several occasions with my room mates thoroughly beaten after I have escaped. I was arrested twice with the coordination of some pliant Ogoni youths on campus but got released on the protest by students. Military officers kept vigil on my room and classrooms for several months which led to the change in my career path till date. Dr. Chujor, you were busy on the same campus working as a staff of the Faculty of Management Sciences while the government and security agents came after me.

As President of MOSOP, I led the negotiations for the HYPREP we have today. From Abuja to Geneva and back to Abuja, I coordinated all the 27 member Ogoni delegation. I was the architect of the Ogoni Trust Fund which was adopted by all the delegates borrowing from my experience as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. Without that fund, the Ogoni money would have disappeared by today.

What did I get from all these? In August 2019, with instigation from some Ogoni people, my country home was burnt down to rubbles on the grounds that I had refused HYPREP from paying Ogoni people compensation because the money for the clean-up was meant to be shared.

As my Deputy-President, Dr. Chujor, it was common knowledge that I was offered 500million naira to support a particular oil company to take over oil operations in Ogoni and I refused. He was also aware when I was offered Directorship in another oil company and a house in any city of my choice which I turned down.

It is only in Ogoni that those who have made this level of sacrifice is not recognized and respected. I and all those who had  made sacrifices  in the Ogoni struggle deserve to benefit from HYPREP and not outsiders and those who kept us running.  I am still expecting my due.


In the first place, Fegalo Nsuke has never been a President of MOSOP. But let’s even agree that for the purpose of academic exercise, we interrogate his claim to MOSOP leadership. Mr. Nsuke claimed to have won elections to MOSOP leadership in 2018.

In our search for peace in MOSOP, I spoke to Mr. Nsuke on the need for all of us to sheathe our swords and work with the MPC to enthrone a new and credible MOSOP leadership. He raised several issues. After a long discussion, he told me that he was going to step down by December 2021 when his so-called first term ends. He told me that we should consider one Mr. Dae Wifa for the position of MOSOP President. I said that is not a problem but we should work for peace and reconciliation in MOSOP first. Thereafter, he kept to his promise. Mr. Nsuke announced to the whole world through a message he sends that he will not be contesting for the MOSOP President in December 2021. Applauds from everywhere greeted his announcement that peace was returning to MOSOP. Mr. Nsuke also reached out to Dr. Gbenemene Kpae, the Chair of MPCC to support the candidacy of Dae Wifa. The aforementioned Wifa also followed this up with visits to Dr. Gbenemene Kpae on the subject matter of his candidature. I was constantly briefed and had agreed with Dr. Kpae that we will give everyone the opportunity to contest the elections including Mr. Wifa. With this development and his projection of the candidature of Mr. Dae Wifa, we had believed that Nsuke was keeping to his promise. So at what time did Nsuke revalidate his second term through his own elections? If he had won a second term, is it not time for him to leave office by now.

Last Wednesday, 13th March 2024, Mr. Fegalo Nsuke called me. He told me that he was being informed that Dr. Owens Wiwa, Professor Ben Naanen, Dr. Gbenemene Kpae had mobilized youths to come and cause crisis in Bori. I asked him if he had ever seen any of us that he mentioned in violent acts? I also asked him under which status is he talking to me and I reminded him of our discussion in 2021 wherein he told me he was stepping down and followed that up with public announcement that he was not contesting again which made him garner all the applauds that time. And I told him he cannot lay claim to that presidency anymore. I said contrary to his claim of us mobilizing youth to destroy Bori, that he was aware of the court case instituted by Chief Prince Biira and the judgement that just took place on the 7th March 2024. He said who is Prince Biira that he is nobody. I said, well you know what you are saying is not true and you know that it is the ELECO that had mobilized people to Bori in order to hold the elections. He ended my call!


As part of the process of peace, I had engaged my elder and friend Mr. Lazarus Tamana. When the MOSOP Congress was held in November 2021, I encouraged him to attend the Congress to demonstrate his belief in the process of resuscitation of MOSOP as championed by the MPC. He attended the Congress and also spoke. I heaved a sigh of relief when he spoke with me thereafter. I was in Glasgow, Scotland when that Congress was held. On my return we had series of engagements to reconcile him with his long-time friend, Barr. Ledum Mitee. Others such as Mr. Lenu Kpagih were also working on him. We had thought that we have had a breakthrough in the peace and reconciliation process when Mr. Mitee visited Mr. Tamana in his hometown, Bodo. This was reciprocated by Mr. Tamana’s visit to Mr. Mitee in his country home during the burial of our late elder and father, Chief Philip Badom. Of course, most of the MOSOP activists who honoured Chief Badom’s burial ended up in Mr. Mitee’s place. There was a cloud of happiness and a great sense of relief amongst MOSOP activists who saw Mr. Mitee and Mr. Tamana together for the first time in several years. We had prayed for this to last.

Unfortunately, we began to notice signs of lethargy on Tamana’s side to engage the process. I pleaded with him to stay on. From our several discussions, I noticed that he had expected that the Congress in Bori would just affirm him as the President being the only one amongst the factional Presidents to have honored the call to attend the Congress. Additionally, I also observed that he was getting distrustful about the electoral process that he would not emerge as President of MOSOP through the electoral process that was being championed by the MPC. That was how he left the process to pursue his court case.


Some unscrupulous elements in Ogoni keen on causing crisis and undermining the contributions of the Eleme people to the struggle had raised irrelevant issues based on their ignorance of the history of MOSOP.

HRH Chief Nkpornwin of Onne was the first private donor to donate publicly to the Ogoni struggle when he gave a cheque of N5000 to MOSOP which was a huge sum of money at the time  at the MOSOP Congress held at Bori in 1993 shortly after the Ogoni Day.

The Delta Force Film on the Ogoni situation and the Heat of the Moment were  largely based on the oil pollution at Ejama-Ebubu and other polluted sites in Ogoni .

Let it be known to them that the late HRM Ngei O. Ngei, the Onne Eh Eleme and then President, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers presided over most of the consultations/meetings leading to the adoption of the Ogoni Bill of Rights before the issues over the signing of the bill which was agreed to be corrected later.

Eleme sons have been part of MOSOP leadership since the beginning of MOSOP including leadership of the affiliates of MOSOP


Whilst not emphasizing nor claiming perfection in the last MOSOP 2024 elections which had been a continuation and conclusion of the electoral process that began in early 2022, I wish to conclude this piece by confirming that the elections which held from the 12th – 14th March 2024 met all the criteria of transparency, participation and accountability required for all MOSOP elections.

Every MOSOP person know that my preference based on what is happening in the world was to have a female as MOSOP President this time but it did not happen. I have no other option that to give my support to the person that had emerged now and rally round him. I am therefore appealing to all sons and daughters of Ogoni and other well-meaning individuals to give the newly elected leadership their support and encouragement to work for our Ogoni community and humanity in general.

The world is not waiting for us. It is instructive to note that in 1998 when the leadership crisis emerged in MOSOP that generated a whole lot of crises, we lost all our support groups abroad. It took us almost a decade of re-engagement in my capacity as the International Advocacy Officer with most of them before they returned back to us. With the current crisis since 2021, MOSOP has again lost over 80% of its support groups abroad. Apart from Fegalo attending one  UNPO Presidency meeting in 2000, neither him, Prince Biira nor Lazarus Tamana has attended any international and local fora in which Ogoni issues and Ogoni people had always been discussed.  Apart from my intermittent injection of Ogoni in my activities and presentations abroad, we are losing out without a MOSOP.

We have dwelt in this wilderness of confusion and valley of stagnation for too long. The MOSOP intervention in the political space is currently like a car moving without headlamp, the oil campaigns is presently being seized by a cabal that whilst Shell and the FG were busy reaching agreement on OML 11, there was no voice being raised from Ogoni about the Ogoni community,  a traditional role that MOSOP plays, the entire clean-up programme is taking a different shape and the development discourse about Ogoni is declining everyday in the absence of a definitive VOICE. Wounded justice lying prostrate on the blood flowing streets of Ogoniland can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme amongst the children of men. We can rise up again. This is the time to change our story.

Legborsi Saro Pyagbara

(Former President,  MOSOP)

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