Ogoni Autonomy:36 Nigerian Political Parties Embrace Referendum forOgoni Autonomy
In a public oath administered by Emmanuel Aluzim – Chairman of MOSOP Political Action Committee, the representatives of 36 registered Nigerian political parties have vowed to work for free, fair, nonviolent and peaceful elections in Ogoniland; to boost the MOSOP Plan of Action aimed at 2011 General Elections in Nigeria as the means to achieve an Ogoni Referendum to actualize Ogoni Autonomy. The referendum will enable the Ogoni people to reclaim all rights provided for by the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted September 13, 2007. Nigeria is a party to the UN Declaration.
Saturday 20 November, 36 of 60 political parties; represented by their local officers and members, including a state chairman, had gathered at Kono Bo-Ue in the Babbe Kingdom of Ogoniland; voluntarily vowing to advance the Ogoni right to self-determination. The political parties include ANPP, CPN, ACN, PDP, AD, APP, NAP, NCP, NRP, CPC, AFGA, PPA, LP, NDP, ARP, NAC, CDC, FDP, LDPN, AC, FDP, JP, CPN, ACORD, CPP, DPP, APGA, DA, AA, FDP and Hope Democratic Party (HDP) among others. HDP was represented by the Rivers State Chairman of the party, Chief Hycienth Namadam with a positive message from HDP National headquarters in Abuja.
The MOSOP President/Spokesman, Goodluck Diigbo who plans to meet with political party leaders at all levels, had outlined modalities to authenticate political party backing of the Ogoni Referendum. Diigbo explained that verbal support would not be enough; and said that each political party candidate contesting election in Ogoniland could demonstrate actual support by signing an undertaking in writing. Each political party leadership at ward, local government, state and national level would be required to undertake in writing to support the outcome of the relevant general elections as an Ogoni referendum for the Ogoni autonomy. Diigbo further told the political parties that only credible elections would translate their support and urged them to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which conducts elections in Nigeria to overhaul the system in order to close electoral loopholes, such as rigging and bloodshed.
The oath-taking ritual was sponsored by the Ogoni Democratic Forum, ODF – a body campaigning with MOSOP to end fraudulent and violent elections toward significant improvement in the economic and socio-political situation of the indigenous Ogoni people. The political leaders promised to work to adequately implement and enforce of the electoral code of conduct and the observance of voting regulations in their localities. For 20 years, the Ogoni have sought greater political autonomy, oil deposits control and corporate accountability by oil companies, especially Shell accused of involvement in the judicial murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who had founded MOSOP. In June of 2009, the Anglo-Royal Dutch/Shell brokered a court settlement of $15.5 million in New York to abort the court process set to hold Shell accountable for involvement in the hanging of Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders.
On November 10, 2010, MOSOP President Goodluck Diigbo had introduced a Plan of Action setting a deadline of May 22, 2011 for Ogoni autonomy; saying that Ogoni heroes and heroines must not die in vain.