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UNEP report to sway Ogoni votes against Jonathan, PDP

UNEP report to sway Ogoni votes against Jonathan, PDP

The non-implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report, submitted in August 2011, which had recommended a $1 billion immediate effective environmental remediation programme (and later a $30 billion phased environmental restoration) of decades oil spill- destroyed Ogoni land, may largely sway the votes of Ogoni people against President Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the now rescheduled March 28 presidential poll.

According to deliberations during an all-inclusive Ogoni People’s Congress held Saturday in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, which is also the traditional headquarters of Ogoni ethnic nationality, the people said they “demand immediate explanations from the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government on why implementation of the UNEP Report was yet to commence about four years after the UN expert team submitted its technical findings and recommendations on the devastation of Ogoni environment in about 50 years of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC) crude oil production in the area.

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The perceived Ogoni all-inclusive position indicate that the people were utterly disappointed at the response of Jonathan administration over the welfare of Ogoni people, given grim environmental challenges faced by the oil producing area. The meeting was to re-appraise several issues bordering mostly on the welfare of ordinary Ogoni person, and the existence of the oil producing ethnic nationality in today’s Nigerian political space.

The meeting, which was attended by chiefs of the Ogoni oil producing communities, leadership of Ogoni struggle umbrella body, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), religious leaders, elites, women and youth groups, civil society organisations and other stakeholders, was presided by MOSOP president, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara; re-appraised recent resolutions of the people (Ogonis) with regards to implementation of the UNEP report, Ogoni 2015 project, resumption of oil production in Ogoni land, and a resolution whether to participate or not, in the 2015 general elections. It was reliably gathered that the congress resolved to allow all Ogoni people to unanimously participate in the 2015 elections.

Meanwhile, MOSOP has raised an alert on what it described as forms of fake UNEP implementation jobs. According to the Ogoni umbrella body, the people were yet to see any conscious move by the Nigerian Federal Government in implement- ing the UNEP Report, since it was submitted to it (Federal Government) by the UN technical team. MOSOP president, Pyagbara said at the Ogoni congress that a phony group and “some criminal elements were currently selling forms to unsuspecting members of the public purporting to be engaging them for jobs in implementation of the UNEP report, which are all false and untrue.” The Ogoni people’s congress therefore, “demand an immediate explanation from the Jonathan led Federal Government on why the implementation of the UNEP Report is yet to commence,” about four years after it was submitted by the UN expert environment team.