The nomination of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State by some Ogoni stakeholders to lead discussion with the Federal Government on the planned resumption of oil production in OML 11 is generating controversy.
A foremost Ogoni Environmental rights activist, Comrade Celestine Akpobari, says he is vehemently opposed the nomination of Governor Wike because there are prominent and eminently qualified Ogonis who can lead the multi-consultative discussion with the federal government.
Akpobari pointed out the Wike is an interested party as he had earlier announced that the State Government had acquired 45 percent share of Oil Mining Lease, OML 11.
“Those Ogoni leaders who went to Government to adopt Governor Wike House are also those the younger Ogonis look up to lead them. We have a Senators who were Chairmen of Senate Committee in Upstream and Downstream sector of the oil industry who are experts much more than Wike, why can’t they lead? Why Wike?
“Secondly,Governor Wike had earlier told the world that he had bought OML 11, so why adopt an interested party to lead you in that kind of discussion with the federal government. He’s not even qualified to be at meeting,” Akpobari said.
However, in a swift reaction, Solomon Lenu, an Ogoni human rights activist dismissed claims of Akpobari.
He pointed out that he has always advocated that those think the they have divine and exclusive mandate to discuss about the resumption to shift ground.
“Anybody can champion this movement for as long as it will lead to the desired end”.
“If we’ve found a stranger who genuinely wants to bail us out, then we have to be humble enough to accept such help without pride. Even though they all had their different agenda ”
Lenu further stated:”Truth is that, if you are an Ogoni man who have means of livelihood and who moves around Ogonis at the lower echelon of life, then you’ll see how badly things are with us and the need to end this protracted oil loggerhead, and the disservice of Ogoni elites to the people through their lack of patriotism and disunity”.
Ledum Mitee, an Ogoni Leader and former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People,MOSOP, had told journalists yesterday said the choice of the governor was aimed at preventing saboteurs who may want to adopt divide and rule tactic to cause crisis in Ogoni at the detriment of the people.
According to him, the Ogoni delegation to Abuja discussed a number of issues and it was important to brief Governor Wike on those issues.
“We reviewed the outcome of that meeting and we, as a people resolved that, the issues that were discussed are such that required partnership with the state government.
“In other words, we felt that the Government of Rivers State and Ogoni people would work together to pursue some of those issues that were raised as outcome of that meeting, specifically on the issues of OML 11 and resumption of oil.
“We felt that it required some sustained and painstaking consultation process which must involve the State government as partnering with us and its leadership on how we will go together to work. So that, some divide and rule will not be exploited to the detriment of our people.”
In his briefing, Senator Lee Maeba said the Ogonis are resolved to file behind the leadership that will be provided by Governor Wike concerning the setting up of a multi-consultative forum.
Maeba stated that since President Buhari had issued directives, particularly as it has to do with the OML 11 whose licence has been granted to NPDC, there is need for the NNPC to consult and dialogue with Ogonis.