Ordinarily, the alleged call for outright cancellation and conduct of fresh governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers state by the dissident and factional leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Dr Goodluck Diigbo would have been ignored as the ranting of a failed politician but for the serious implication of an obvious paradigm shift by the Ogoni rights group- and in this case, the fake.
Dragging of the name of the well-hallowed MOSOP into the dirty waters of partisan politics was an outright aberration which could best be described as a calculation of an opportunistic mindset. This is because in all ramifications, the issues raised as perceived by Dr Diigbo were supposed to be election-related but he chose to write as MOSOP President to the American President, European Union Leaders, United Nations Secretary-General, and then added President Goodluck Jonathan and Attahiru Jega as an after- thought. He merely used the name of the Ogoni rights umbrella body as an alibi to push his narrow personal political ambition.
When Dr Diigbo said, “MOSOP can only accept genuine democratic process,” he talked as if MOSOP was rejecting the INEC-announced results as one of the registered political parties that participated in the elections. And if he was speaking for MOSOP as an organization that monitored the elections, he gaffed terribly in the tone and language of presentation of his alleged shortcomings in the last governorship and state Assembly elections in the Ogoni area of Rivers state.
The caption of the open letter as published: “Urgent appeal for intervention as the people of Ogoni in Nigeria battle against armed forces sent to rig democratic elections in Rivers state,” was clearly set to obfuscate issues at stake. And it was also very difficult to ascertain whether the writer set out to do a petition or mere statement of observations in the Ogoni area.
Dr Diigbo said, “More importantly, I urge President Barack Obama, Leaders of European Union, President Goodluck Jonathan and INEC Chairman - Prof. Jega to take swift administrative action to cancel and re-conduct Governorship and House of Assembly Elections in Rivers State. What can be easily corrected by INEC should not be wastefully referred to the Court or Tribunal.
“For the sake of peace, I appeal to people of conscience throughout the world, particularly United States President Barack Obama and leaders of the European Union; well known for their concern for democracy in Nigeria and interest in trading relationship with Nigeria to promptly put pressure on Nigeria, especially President Goodluck Jonathan and INEC Chairman, Prof. Athahiru Jega to immediately take all necessary measures to cancel the phony elections.” Bros, I hail you!
The question is: what does he want to achieve by insinuating conflict where there is none and taking his case straight to America, EU and the UN?
This man should be told in a plain language that there is a great difference between the Ogoni rights campaign and partisan political electioneering campaign. It is unfortunate that he failed to realize that. Dr Diigbo must have been thinking he was writing against Shell Petroleum for that was all he has been doing for years now not knowing that he needed a different language and presentation of issues in his new found arena of partisan politics.
Let’s even look at the entire setting; Dr Diigbo claimed he is the MOSOP President and that he was speaking for the interest of the entire Ogoni people including the likes of Magnus Abe, Marvin Yobane, Ledum Mitee amongst other prominent sons and daughters of the area. Is this true?
By the way, it is a known fact worldwide that the umbrella body for the globally acknowledged Ogoni struggle is the one and indivisible MOSOP under the able- leadership of seasoned human and Ogoni rights activist and lawyer, Ledum Mitee.
So which MOSOP is rejecting the election results and calling for its cancellation and fresh governorship and State Assembly elections- the authentic and recognized Mitee-led group or the one led by a dissident whose inordinate hunger to grab power for relevance is making him defile the very spirit of the Ogoni struggle and MOSOP as an organization by dragging its well-respected name of into the dirty waters of partisan politics?
How can Diigbo represent two parallel things at a time? He claimed to be the President of MOSOP and at the same time he was the governorship candidate of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last election. Haba mallam!
The MOSOP we knew, related and worked with was supposed to be a non-partisan, non-governmental and an apolitical organization, except it has metamorphosed into a political party with a governorship candidate.
If Diigbo contested the last governorship election in the state and was defeated but felt robbed, he has every right to take his case to the appropriate authourities-INEC and the election tribunal. But he should leave MOSOP out of this because of what the organization represents. For it was an outright mischief for him as the governorship candidate and contestant under the platform of Hope Democratic Party to make his election defeat case look like the case between the entire Ogoni and Shell. This is my point.
IFEANYI IZEZE Is AN ABUJA-BASED CONSULTANT ON STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATION ([email protected])