Nigeria News: 89% Ogonis Okay Self-Government in Referendum Results
22% more than the pre-requisite
“This was an internal referendum exemplifying the dominant direction of indigenous rights' dynamics on Nigeria's polity. The enthusiasm for the referendum was higher than anticipated. The trend was significantly representative of the desire of oil producing inhabitants in Nigeria seeking the right to resource control. The momentum of the process was more important than the underlying decisions. The bearing of the referendum would mature with time,” said MOSOP President / Spokesman, Goodluck Diigbo at MOSOP Analysis Session on Ogoni autonomy referendum results in Teyork on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.
Among valid responses, 89 percent supported Ogoni autonomy. The referendum exercise was first expected to last for 30 days, but later extended to one year to cope with logistical challenges. More than twice as many people that voted in 2008 local government chairmanship elections in Ogoniland turned out to provide their responses. As compared with the 2008 voters' turnout, 120 per cent more participation was recorded in the six Ogoni kingdoms of Babbe, Eleme, Gokana, Kenkhana, Nyokhana, Tai and two administrative units - Bori and Ban Ogoi. The proportional approval of valid responses required was 67 percent.
The Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP conducted the mock referendum. MOSOP plans to use the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria as the actual referendum to determine whether or not the Ogoni people still want political autonomy. The quest for political autonomy by the Ogoni was first published in 1990 as part of the Ogoni Bill of Rights presented to the Nigerian Government that year.
The referendum began November 25, 2009 and attracted 462,000 responses, adult Ogoni voters, with nearly 90 percent approval of self-government answering a simple questionnaire requiring a “yes/no” response. The issues include Ogoni autonomy, government compulsory land acquisition, resource control, customs and traditions. On renunciation of Nigerian citizenship - 43 % called for dual citizenship; 41 for total severity of relationship with Nigeria; while 6% attached conditions for dual citizenship.
On November 10, 2010 MOSOP President / Spokesman, Goodluck Diigbo had announced the Plan of Action to actualize Ogoni demand for political autonomy first made under the leadership of late Ken Saro-Wiwa as MOSOP President and Spokesman of the Ogoni People. Saro-Wiwa was executed by hanging on November 10, 1995 along with eight other Ogoni activists for speaking out against violation of the indigenous rights of the Ogoni people and environmental devastation by Anglo-Royal Dutch/Shell.
(Summary of Referendum Results: Autonomy - 89% approval, Resource Control - 98% of the 'yes answer', 88% expressed concern for environmental insecurity; customs and traditions blurred by lukewarm attitude).