Governor Wike made the claim on Tuesday at the Birabi Memorial Grammar School in Bori town, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, during the 30th observance of Ogoni Day with the theme “Leaving no one behind.”
Governor Wike directly asked how many Ogoni leaders can actually defend Ogoni territory and sincerely fight environmental degradation and resource control issues with the same zeal as their forefathers, such as late Ken Saro-Wiwa, without selling out.
“People like Ken Saro-Wiwa and all of the people you’re celebrating on Ogoni Day, how many of you can today stand for what Ken (Saro-Wiwa) stood for; how many can today stand for the great Ogoni men who died for your struggle.”
He lamented how some Ogoni people had degraded the struggle and were instead using it to gather money from individuals who did not want the struggle’s goals to be realized.
According to the governor, their financial generosity is best described as blood money, and he asked with what conscience they meet each year to commemorate a battle that they have betrayed.
“You use Ogoni Day to make money. God will never forgive you. I will never be a party to make blood money. All of you0, you’re here today for Ogoni Day, are you standing firm for Ogoni people? Are you standing firm for the spirit of those who died for you? Go and check your conscience. Ogoni people check your conscience.”
The governor said that he had never abandoned Rivers’ interests, but had bravely protected them, including taking the OML 11 case to the Supreme Court.
He noted that the issue may not be resolved before his term ends, but it may provide the people with the much-needed ownership rights to such resources.
“You people are talking about OML 11. Today, I’m in Supreme Court to challenge the federal government and NNPC. I will not be governor forever, I’m leaving next year, but God in heaven will bear me witness, I have protected, defended the interest of the state and interest of Ogoni land.”
Governor Wike warned Ogoni leaders and people not to be used as stooges of discord by the Federal Government and its agencies in order to bring down their own people and betray the Ogoni interest.
He cited how Ogonis are sabotaging Senator Magnus Abe’s political career and Ledum Mitee’s long quest to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The governor also stated that the same lack of unity exhibited in Ogoniland can be found throughout the Niger Delta, since governors, lawmakers, and other levels of government rarely work together.
The people of the Niger Delta, he claims, are marginalizing themselves since each tribe considers itself to be more Niger Deltan than the other.
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