Tony John, Port Harcourt
People of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have come together to support Senator Magnus Abe, in a bid to produce the governor of the state in 2019.
Abe is aspiring to contest the governorship on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The stakeholders in the area, who came together under the name, Ogoni Mandate Forum (OMF), said they want to save their oil-rich area from political and economic marginalisation.
The group, at its maiden briefing in Port Harcourt, yesterday, appealed to other ethnic groups in the state to support their call for an Ogoni governor in 2019, in the interest of equity.
Spokesman of the body, Prince MeluBari Akekue, in his address, regretted that since the creation of the state, Rivers South East senatorial district has not produced a governor, despite its huge economic contributions to the country.
Akekue said: “There has been a gap in the political frame of Rivers State, concerning the engagements of Ogoni people. Our concern is to breach any relational gap that exists between Ogoni people and their neighbours. We need to be treated equally.
“This can be achieved when the ambition of the Ogoni people is respected. We are to mobilise a wide support base for Ogoni sons and daughters who seek election into the governorship seat of the state.”
He said the OMF had come together to generate a support-base for Abe because he was the first and only Ogoni indigene to declare intention for governorship, since the creation of Rivers, 50 years ago.
“We are generating support for Abe, who has announced his intention to run for the office of the governor. Abe is proudly Ogoni and he has proven capacity, willingness and character to return Rivers’ glory.
“On behalf of all progressive minds in the state, we are appealing to our neighbours to support our best candidate, who has indicated interest for the seat.
“We are making the appeal not that it is our sole right, but, as a privilege, as we have done for others. It is not out of place for you to partner Ogoni to give us a chance,” he said.