Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has warned Ijaw people against attempt to appropriate everything about Niger Delta to themselves to the detriment of other ethnic groups in the oil producing region.
Wike spoke on Tuesday at Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State during the celebration of the 2022 Ogoni Day.
He also accused the people of the Niger Delta of marginalising themselves by failing to unite and by selling out to enemies of the region.
The Rivers State governor said Ijaw people have no right to think that everything in the Niger Delta belonged to them or that the region is their sole enclave.
The governor said Ijaw people should, for instance, stop thinking that they had the exclusive right to produce all the critical appointees into key Niger Delta agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Wike condemned protests by Ijaw people against appointment of people who are not of their ethnic stock from the Niger Delta into such agencies.
He also denied having any personal interest in the case of the controversial Rivers State Government filed against the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC at the Supreme Court over Oil Mining Licence 11 for the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in Ogoniland.
He said by the time the case is decided, he would have left office as governor.
The governor added that for Ogoni people to make progress, their leaders must unite and shun divisiveness, which, according to him, they have been using to enrich themselves to the detriment of their area.
Earlier, a former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Mr. Ledum Mitee, had said he came out of retirement to ensure that MOSOP was reunited to achieve the dreams of their founding fathers.
He said that though the Ogoni struggle had achieved a lot, the current disunity and factions in the organisation were going to be counterproductive if the people do not come together.
He urged the Rivers State governor to ensure that Ogoni area is favoured as he begins the process of handing over the reins of power in Rivers State.
Ogoni people have been agitating to produce the next governor of Rivers State.
President of Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Ogaba, in a goodwill message, condemned former President Olusegun Obasanjo for saying the oil in the Niger Delta belonged to the whole of Nigeria.
He said by international convention and even trite law, it has been settled that resources on and under the land of indigenous people belonged to the people and they must enjoy the proceeds of such resources.
He urged contending factions of MOSOP to come together to move their people forward.
Other Speakers at the event were Chief Joi Nunieh, a former Chairman of NDDC, Senator Barry Mpigi and Prof Emenike Wami, the President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention.
The theme of this year’s Ogoni Day celebration is Leaving No One Behind. It’s the 30th anniversary of Ogoni Day.
In 1993, 300,000 Ogoni people marched through the streets of Bori to celebrate the first Ogoni Day.
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