May 12, 2022

Fighting political marginalization in Rivers

By TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

The Ogoni Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State lamented that they have suffered political injustice for the past 55 years and called for fairness and justice.

The people, who spoke through the Ogoni Forum for Democracy and Development (ODDF), said that a step towards tackling the political marginalization inflicted on ethnic nationality was for the main political parties to present the Ogoni as gubernatorial candidates in the 2023 elections.

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ODDF organizer and former chairman of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Pyagbara, said the essence of the federal character policy was a conscious effort to ensure that all parts of the countries were catching up as a result, emphasizing that Rivers State could not do otherwise.

Pyagbara expressed concern that since 1967 to date, the Ogoni ethnic nationality has not been nominated or elected Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker of the House of Assembly or Chief Justice of the Judiciary of State.

He said: “The Ogoni ethnic bloc is among the most disadvantaged in terms of distribution of political office by ethnicity or senatorial constituency.

“The issue at stake is about promoting political justice towards the various ethnic groups that currently make up Rivers State and not mere political expression of the Rivers or the Highlands. Also, the Highlands/Rivers were never used to determine political leadership in Rivers State, as various charts show.

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Former MOSOP chairman questioned if this was a plot against the Ogoni people to become irrelevant in the state, insisting justice is a matter of fairness and that ethnic justice would remedy the disharmony in Rivers.

He urged, “It is in recognition of the above that we wish to appeal to all people of good conscience and believers in justice to use their goodwill to facilitate justice for the Ogoni people, for this would be good business for all of us.

“The national Ogoni healing and reconciliation process with the state of Nigeria i.e. Rivers State can really take off from this point. We are passionately requesting that by 2023, a Governor of Ogoni Mining Rivers be put in place.