• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

MOSOP crisis: Ogoni elders, leaders of thought, past leaders wade in

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As the internal leadership crisis rocking Ogoni umbrella organisation, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) reach a tipping point, some elders, leaders of thought, activities and past MOSOP presidents have decided to wade in, with a view to brokering peace.

They have, therefore, set up a ‘Resolution Committee,’ while appealing to the two disagreeing MOSOP presidents to cooperate with the committee.

A statement issued weekend indicates that the resolution committee is made up of: Ledum Mitee, MOSOP’s immediate past president; Don Baridam, a professor and former vice chancellor, University of Port Harcourt: Meshach Karanwi; Abraham Olungwe, a reverend gentleman; Lenusikpugi Kpugih; Monday Abueh, and Rose Nwigani.

The members are to meet with all sides of the divide, traditional rulers and other leaders from the area, with a view to resolving the crisis and reposition MOSOP in order to meet its avowed objectives.

According to Ledum Mitee, who signed the committee’s statement, it has appealed to all sides of the leadership crisis to “cooperate with the Resolution Committee, and to refrain from actions or public statements capable of undermining the current peace process.

It is recalled that MOSOP, since emerging from election of a new executive committee for the organisation, in which the current president, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara was re-elected, the Ogoni pressure group has been locked in a bitter leadership crisis.

Mike Lube-Nwidobie, who allegedly emerged runner-up to Pyagbara in the December 2015 election, came out to lay claim to being the MOSOP president, citing malpractices.

He was allegedly sworn-in on Monday, January 11, by Godwin N.K. Gininwa, a prominent traditional ruler and the chairman of Ogoni Council of Traditional Rulers (CTR), at his palace.

Many describe Gininwa as an influential Ogoni chief, whose antecedents pervade the length and breadth of the oil producing area.

Lube-Nwidobie, based on the CTR chairman’s authority, has been running a parallel MOSOP leadership.

It is left to see how far the Resolution Committee would go in resolving MOSOP’s current internal crisis and mend the obvious deep cracks within a body founded nearly 25 years ago by late Ken Saro-Wiwa, a literary icon and environmental rights activist, who, along with his 12 other kinsmen, was gruesomely murdered by hanging on November 10, 1995, via a controversial tribunal judgment by the late Sani Abacha military regime.

Also, two weeks ago, MOSOP’s cohesiveness came under question following a disagreement between it and Magnus Abe, a prominent Ogoni politician and former Senate committee chairman of Petroleum Downstream.

Abe differed strongly from MOSOP over its public 30-day ultimatum given to President Muhammadu Buhari on implementation of the Ogoni land environmental remediation programme, as submitted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in August 2011.

Abe had openly dissociated himself from the MOSOP ultimatum, hinting on a more inclusive dialogue with the Federal Government.