Ogoni Referendum Okays Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority
830,000 vote in referendum to authorize the establishment of an autonomous Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority.
MOSOP President/spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo today Wednesday, March 14, 2012 received the Ogoni Referendum Report, which is part of the process to pave way for leadership election.
The Ogoni referendum committee chair-person, Hon. Christiana Nwiko said the process was peaceful, and that the report was ready on December 15, 2011. It took nearly two months for objections, verification and analysis. Nwiko, a retired teacher with broadbased knowledge, was the former Secretary General of the Federation of Ogoni Women Association (FOWA).
813,000 favor OCIA representing 98 percent of total votes recorded from the six Ogoni kingdoms of Babbe, Eleme, Gokana, Kenkhana, Nyokhana, Tai and two administrative units - Bori and Ban Ogoi. The referendum required 66.7 percent to pass for Ogoni to control their own affairs.
A simple “yes/no” response was required on questions on Ogoni autonomy. Examples of questions asked include: Who can best protect the Ogoni environment, land, wealth and natural resources, customs and traditions.
Questions were withheld on the hot issue of resuming oil production in Ogoniland to fund the authority.
Whether or not the authority will exclude Ogoni from Nigeria, MOSOP Leader said that political autonomy will not deprive the Ogoni people of the right to participate in the affairs of Nigeria.
In line with article (5) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Diigbo pointed out that as an indigenous people, the Ogoni have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the Nigerian Nation State within the context of the Nigerian Federation.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples; adopted by 143 United Nations Member States, on September 13, 2007 at the UN Headquarters in New York recognizes that all indigenous peoples, including the Ogoni people are equal to all other peoples and have the right to autonomy or self-determination.
The latest Ogoni referendum is the second since 2009 in quest for political autonomy.
Associate Editor, MOSOP Media