Nigeria News: 2011 Local Government Elections to determine Ogoni Autonomy
As MOSOP, the Ogoni rights and environmental movement founded by late Ken Saro-Wiwa joins Partisan Politics.
Ogoni masses have welcomed the MOSOP Plan of Action to use Nigeria’s General Elections in 2011 as a referendum for political autonomy.
MOSOP is the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People. MOSOP was founded by late Ken Saro-Wiwa as an international human rights and environmental organization fighting lawfully and nonviolently for greater Ogoni autonomy.
The demand for autonomy was first made by the Ogoni people in the Ogoni Bill of Rights issued in 1990.
To facilitate the process, MOSOP has lifted restriction on its national executive members to allow them engage in partisan politics.
In the local government elections to determine the outcome of the Ogoni referendum, the Ogoni Bill of Rights would be central in the campaign.
MOSOP hopes to score two-third of valid votes cast as the winning margin for the referendum.
Speaking on Ogoni Day, Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Peace and Freedom Center, Bori, MOSOP President/Spokesman, Hon. Goodluck Diigbo said he was pleased that a nationally registered political party – Hope Democratic Party (HDP) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with MOSOP to put Ogoni autonomy on the ballot.
This, he said, makes the referendum verifiable, credible and constitutionally legitimate.
A growing awareness in Ogoniland is building up hope for the masses to take control of their own affairs and wealth, especially crude oil and natural gas.
The MOSOP resolution to engage in partisan politics stipulates that NEC members must resign their positions in MOSOP 24 hours before actually taking oath into elective public offices, instead to prematurely resign 30 days before seeking nomination as originally provided by MOSOP Constitution.
MOSOP President Diigbo said partisan politics in a true democracy would guarantee Ogonis the right to adequate and direct representation in all Nigerian institutions.
“MOSOP want to promote good government and improve the welfare of the citizenry,” Diigbo remarked while complimenting a detachment of Nigeria Police Force officers on duty at the event.
MOSOP seeks two-third (66.67%) valid votes in local government elections due March 2011 to declare Ogoni autonomy.
Peasant farmers and fisher men and women, traditional rulers, students, grassroots politicians, clergymen, activists, affiliates of MOSOP and members of other civil society organizations came out in solidarity with the Ogoni struggle for freedom.
American and European NGOs, including Friends of the Earth International, and Global Village Congress of the United States of America and The Netherlands participated.
In a processional dance to traditional tunes and cultural drumbeats provided by several indigenous groups, thousands of Ogonis marched in Bori – the Ogoni Capital.
Participants later assembled for a formal ceremony addressed by MOSOP President /Spokesman, Hon. Goodluck Diigbo at Ken Saro-Wiwa Peace and Freedom Center, Bori.
During the speech of MOSOP President Goodluck Diigbo, a group of Ogoni political activists emerged carrying placards to support Goodluck Diigbo as the next governor of Rivers State. HDP in its agreement with MOSOP, already reserved HDP governorship ticket for any candidate of Ogoni origin.
Ogoni people form a significant segment of the voting population in Rivers State. After signing the MOU, MOSOP President Diigbo had on December 20, 2010 called upon Ogonis to file in for the governorship contest on HDP ticket.
For 2011 General Elections, Ogoni aspirants already filed nomination papers as councilors, chairmen of local governments, members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives and Senate, but none as governorship aspirant from Ogoni in any of the sixty Nigerian political parties.