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THE SOLIDARITY MESSAGE BY PRINCE TONYE PRINCEWILL DURING THE 18TH ANNIVESARY OF OGONI DAY

By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

My invitation to attend this epoch making event of the 18th Anniversary of the Ogoni Day under the auspicious of MOSOP and the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the birth of MOSOP did not come to me as a surprise. I am not surprised in the sense that the ideals and vision of MOSOP tallies with my own concept and vision in redressing the plights of our region. For avoidance of doubt, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People is a non-governmental political apex Organization of the Ogoni ethnic minority people of Rivers State and was founded in 1990 with the mandate to campaign non-violently to:

• Promote democratic awareness;
• Protect the environment of the Ogoni People;
• Seek social, economic and physical development for the region;

• Protect the cultural rights and practices of the Ogoni people; and

• Seek appropriate rights of self-determination for the Ogoni people.

MOSOP was formed when the Ogoni people drafted the Ogoni Bill of Rights and presented it to the Nigerian government demanding rights to representation, religious freedom, and the right to protect their own environment. Failing to receive an adequate response from the government, they took their case to the world community and the oil companies that were involved in the devastation of their region. Too many of us have not read this historical document. Let the ignorance of years gone by no longer be an excuse for the new future that we are painting for ourselves today. Do take time to read it if you have not or read it again if you have. Today is not only Ogoni day, it is my birthday and the births date of my father the Amanyanabo of Kalabari. The synergy between the Kalabaris and the Ogonis has long since been told so this coincidence is more than meets the eye. Long may it continue.

Founded on this great Movement, Ledum Mitee its President, a renowned and international activist and former cell-mate of Ken Saro-wiwa was appointed the Chairman of the Presidential Niger Delta Technical Committee charged to forge a new course and future for the Niger Delta Region. I am proud to state as a member of that Committee that Ledum Mitee not only discharged his duties professionally but surpassed the expectation of both members and the Federal Government and I can comfortably state that the Ogoni people can boast that they have a great son in Ledum and I am proud to be associated with anything involving this great mind of our time.

Sadly, the Federal Government is dragging its feet in implementing most of the crucial and far reaching recommendations by the Niger Delta Technical Committee that would have once and for all settled the agitations and deprivations of our region. In tune with the principles and vision of MOSOP we have developed a non-violent approach to our plights as a people hoping that one day God will raise a Daniel to come our aid. As we continue to wait for the coming of this Daniel we should not relent or give up. That was why when I felt that the region was under siege in the attacks on Gbaramatu, I had to resign my position as the Chairman of the Vision 2020 committee on Niger Delta and I would have done it over and over again if given the chance. As a people we have no other region to call our own except the Niger Delta. It is our home.

Our sad situation notwithstanding, I can proudly state that Ledum and all members of MOSOP are welcome in Rivers State AC and organized opposition in the State which is why Ledum Mitee was both the Guest Speaker during my last birthday event and the inauguration of the umbrella body of the opposition political parties in Rivers State – Forum of the Organized Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP). FOOPP and MOSOP stand for the emancipation and development of Rivers State. This is where I and coincidentally Amaechi stand also. I believe that we can continue to work together until that which is ours as a people is given to us and we can start to benefit from our God-given resources.

As I would not like to be too controversial so early in the year, let me conclude by stating that every son and daughter of Ogoni should be proud that through MOSOP our region is now better known all over the world and through her efforts our salvation as a both a region and a State is nearer than at the time when Ken Saro-Wiwa was killed by the oppressive forces in our country. For that reason we will smile in the knowledge that our tomorrow will be so much better than our today.

Long Live MOSOP,
Long Live Ogoni Kingdom,
Long Live Rivers State,
Long Live Niger Delta.
GOVERNMENT OF RIVERS STATE
OFFICE OF THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER
MINISTRY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT

BLOCK B STATE SECRETAIAT COMPLEX

PMB 5031, PORT HARCOURT, RIBERS STATE

24th December, 2009

The President and Leaders
Movement For The Survival Of The Ogoni People
(MOSOP) SOLIDARITY MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 18TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OGONI DAY BY BARR OSIMA GINAH, HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR URBAN DEVELOPMENT, RIVERS STATE ON THE 4TH OF JANUARY, 2010

It is an honour to present this statement of solidarity on this 18th Anniversary of the Ogoni Day. The day 4th January also has special significance for me a fact I would undoubtedly acquaint you with as I go on.

It is noteworthy that following years of non-violent struggle against perceived injustices in the Niger Delta region, the MOSOP as a Movement has successfully redefined the struggle for emancipation and self actualisation of not only the Ogoni people but other groups interested in threading a similar path.

Through its activities from its inception under the leadership of its Founder Ken Saro-Wiwa of blessed memory and its present Leadership headed by Barrister Ledum Mittee, MOSOP has been instrumental to bringing into world reckoning and attention the deprivation and plight of the entire Niger Delta region. No discourse intellectual or otherwise on the issue of agitation for resource control in the Niger Delta Region would be complete without sound mention of the MOSOP.

It is to the credit of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barrister Ledum Mittee and many other courageous Ogoni Scions that today the region is beginning to understand that the God given gift of Crude should be a worthy inheritance and not an accursed one with the injustices meted out on the region by different stakeholders in the polity.

Indeed on this anniversary, I want to join my voice to that of all who share in this commitment to non-violent struggle for justice, equity and peace, encouraging every not to give up on the ideals that informed the birth of MOSOP. The dreams of the founding fathers of this struggle should be kept alive that their deaths would not have been in vain.

It is my strongly held believe that there would be that day when all that was ever imagined would become a reality in Ogoni land.

For the honour done me today as one of the Guests of Honour at this event, I say a Big Thank You. Accepting this invitation in my opinion is a show of support for MOSOP under the leadership of its amiable, fearless and principled President, Ledum Mitee.

I would like to conclude by intimating you with the reason I said the 4th of January was doubly special for me. Today also marks the 41st birthday Anniversary of Prince Tonye Princewill, the Prince of Niger Delta Politics, Leader of the organized Political Opposition in Rivers State. A man who served in close proximity with Barrister Ledum Mitee on the Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta, the same individual whose passion for the same kind of struggle the MOSOP embody, informed his resignation -in protest of FG hostilities in the region- from his position as Chairman of Subcommittee on Niger Delta in the Federal Government 2010 Vision Committee.

Finally, I want to wish MOSOP, its Leaders and all its members greater years ahead, I charge you all and as a matter of fact all Niger Deltans not to relent in your continued support of the administration of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, teaming up to map out a new course for our State. He has proven in the few years at the helms of affairs that he is a leader we all can trust our future into his hands.

Barr Osina Ginah
Hon. Commissioner
Ministry of Urban Development,
Port Harcourt, Rivers State