The proposal by the Federal Government to grant a state pardon to the father of the Ogoni movement, late Ken Saro Wiwa has been roundly rejected.
The rejection is coming from some close relatives of the slain founder of the Movement For The Survival of Ogoni People.
President Muhammadu Buhari who met with a number of Ogoni leaders at the Presidential Villa in Abuja in order to find a way forward offered that Nigeria would forgive the late playwright and environmentalist of his alleged crime.
But the family of the departed martyr has rejected the the presidential offer, saying it falls short of their expectation.
They would be happier if the late campaigner for Ogoni rights is rather exonerated of all the allegations brought against him.
The family’s position supports the view held by most Ogonis that Ken was killed by the Nigerian state because of his strong convictions and belief in Ogoni liberation.
Although Buhari intends to close a sad page in history, based on the picture that is emerging, the offer of a state pardon sustains the thinking in official circles that Ken was killed for his alleged role in the despicable murder of the Ogoni 4.
This view runs contrary to the view of most Ogoni families that are beneficiaries of the struggle of a man of letters, and one of the foremost Niger Deltans ever to walk the surface of the earth.
Despite attempts to cleanup Ogoniland, the Ogonis have refused to allow oil prospective activities to resume throughout their territory.
While some argue that such a posture is in respect of the Ogoni Bill of Rights drawn up by Ken Saro Wiwa, others say the complete shutdown of oil operations in the area is in honour of his memory.
Ken may be dead but he lives in the heart of men, especially in the hearts of the Ogoni for whom he lived and died.
Many hope that the engagement between the Ogoni and the Federal Government would continue.
It would require patience, understanding and collaboration to heal old wounds and encourage the ethnic Ogoni who still enjoy global sympathy to return to Nigeria’s mainstream.
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