From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has declared its the only legitimate pan-Ogoni organisation recognised by the citizens to speak and act on their behalf.
MOSOP’s warning was on the heels of a recent advertorial credited to a group, called Ken Saro Wiwa Associate (KSWA) against its (MOSOP) successful engagement with an oil firm, Robomichael Limited.
A statement issued yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by the Media Advisor to the movement, Bari-ala Kpalap, described the report as “alarming and unfortunate.”
The statement further warned persons and groups seeking relevance for economic considerations, to leave the “revered and famous name of Ken Saro Wiwa and other fallen Ogoni heroes” out of their interests.
“MOSOP has, thus, called on the Ogoni people, the authorities and the public to discountenance the so-called opinions and threats by the said KSWA, as the stance in no way represents the position of our people.
“MOSOP has, as well, cautioned the Ogonis not to allow themselves to be used as easy tools in the hands of external enemies masking as messiahs, but obviously bent on frustrating the Ogoni dream.
“While we recognise the right of citizens to freedom of expression, we insist that this liberty in no way include misguided and misleading reports.
“The report, undoubtedly, betrayed ineptness and improperly thought through. It is in the light of the foregoing that we advise the authors of the said advertorial (Ken Saro Wiwa Associates) to exercise caution and knowledge-based methodology in responding to issues, especially the question of oil extraction as it relates to Ogoni.
“However, MOSOP is aware of the intent of the advertorial. Coming on the heels of the successful engagement between Robomichael Limited and MOSOP, and the failed attempt by the coordinator of KSWA to frustrate the meeting, has left no one in doubt about the adversarial motives that drove KSWA’s approach.
“The deliberate attempt to misinform and mislead unsuspecting Ogonis and other interests, including the public, as well as the messianic tilt of the report, was meant to drive public opinion in its favour, which would influence the authorities to negotiate and accept their sponsors. Surely, the voice is Jacob’s while the hand is Esau’s.
“Facts abound that in its effort to effect broad-based consultation and obtain the people’s social licence to operate and develop the Ogoni oil fields of OML 11, Robomichael Limited wrote letters, dated October 20 and November 7, 2017, respectively, seeking audience with MOSOP.
“The engagement was held on Friday, November 17, 2017 at the MOSOP secretariat in Port Harcourt. During the meeting, the company announced its intension to consult widely and solicited MOSOP’s guidance.
“Robomichael Limited also used the engagement to formally introduce the corporation and presented, articulately, its strategies to ensure adequate participation of the Ogoni people in the investment as well as the development of the region.
“It committed to devoting a reasonable percentage of the investment to the community, and this would be deposited and managed by a trust fund to be membered by Ogoni representatives and officials of the firm,” Kpalap said in the statement.
According to the movement, a five-member committee, headed by Prof. Ben Naanen, was set up to develop a template, which would be presented to investors interested in investing in Ogoni.
The committee, MOSOB said, was given 14 days to turn in its report to the organisation for consideration.
“The approach of KSWA, undoubtedly, suggests unhappiness that Robomichael Limited engaged MOSOP.
“As of fact, MOSOP is the only legitimate pan-Ogoni organisation mandated by the people to speak and act on their behalf. Evidence abound that no other organisation has such mandate in Ogoni. Therefore, those acting without mandate are definitely on their own.
“As a knowledgeable and law-abiding organisation, MOSOP is aware of its limits. We know that the Ogoni people have right to social licence and we would ensure that this right is protected and utilised to the collective advantage of all Ogoni citizens.”