After seven years on the saddle as President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Pyagbara has announced an 8-man council to conduct an election that would usher in a new leadership for the movement.
Addressing the Ogonis during the 28th anniversary of Ogoni Day celebration at the Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori in Khana local government area of Rivers state, Legborsi said he was glad to transmit the mantle of power to the Council as he steps aside after seven years of steering the wheel of the organisation.
“We are here today in celebration of our freedom and the liberty that we won on January 4th, 1993 when our forebears led by our late mentor and leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa took that giant leap and led over three hundred thousand Ogoni people in a marched for national rebirth, national rediscovery and a journey for dignity and pride.
“Every time we gather to commemorate 4th January, we renew our commitment to continue to protect and jealously guard the freedom and rights that it pleased the Almighty God to give to us. Each time we gather on 4th January, we bear witness to the enduring strength and resilience of our people.
“We recall that what binds us as a people in this generation is our abiding fidelity to the ideas of our ancestors and our total allegiance to our declaration, the Ogoni Bill of Right. What makes us exceptional is that our struggle like every struggle founded and prosecuted on the twin pillars of truth and non-violence must continue to be the enduring alternative to the condemned face of violence,” he said.
Like every other thing that has a beginning, “this administration”, he noted, “Must also have an end. I announce to you that this is my last Ogoni Day as MOSOP President and also the last day of my administration.”
The outgone MOSOP President who reeled out his achievements during the period under review, said among other things, “In my first Ogoni Day Speech in 2013, I made commitments in certain areas of our struggle that we hope to bring some changes.
“Looking back today, I am happy that our modest efforts yielded some results. We promised that we would ensure that the UNEP Report is implemented during our time. Today, that is being achieved.
“We promised to raise the banner on the long forgotten issue of Ogoni Representation. We launched the Ogoni Political Justice Campaign. We may not have arrived at our anticipated destination but we succeeded in raising a consciousness about this that has never before witnessed in the history of our land.
“We promised that Ogoni natural resources can only be exploited when a proper framework is put in place. In furtherance of that objective, we have launched an Ogoni Template for Sustainable Extractive Sector Investment in Ogoniland. We promised to raise MOSOP Profile internationally while we served. Today, MOSOP had served in far more international organizations and arenas than any period in its history.
“We have been in the Board of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, served as observers to the Global Environment Facility and Climate Investment Funds, International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-NET), International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), Stakeholder Advisory Network on Climate Finance Mechanisms, Global Network on Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries etc. Our presence in major international fora cannot be discountenanced.”
Members of the transitional council include, Chief Deebari Gbaranor Keeper as Chairman, Mr. Prince Biira as Vice Chairman, Mr. Bariara Kpalap, Secretary and Chief Theophilus Dike, Assistant Secretary; Barr. Naabulobari Nazigha-Lue, Publicity Secretary; Mr. Kammy Ngelale, Treasurer; Mr. Victor Wisdom, Financial Secretary and Barr. Felix Kambe, Legal Adviser.
Legborsi, however, used the occasion to call on Ogonis to intensify effort to effect climate change as well as take active participation in the forthcoming national census.
Distinguished personalities from across sub Saharan Africa, representatives of the international Communities, frontline human rights activists and other supporters of the struggle for justice from all over the world was at the event.