Jan 05, 2012

Ogoni: Mitee Marks Unity As Elections Near

As he moves to step down as MOSOP President, Ledum Mitee has marked Ogoni Day with a call for unity and support to an interim team that will help to lead the MOSOP into a third decade in which is faces new opportunities and challenges.

Below is a speech released by MOSOP:

In my last Ogoni Day statement on the 4th of January last year, I had said that would be my last speech as MOSOP President, as I would not be offering myself up for re-election during the MOSOP elections due later in the year. Many of you have since then and especially during the process of the elections tried in many ways to persuade me to reconsider my position. Whilst I feel flattered by such persuasions, I want to restate for emphasis as I did then that, my decision is not borne out of any diminished zeal or love for the struggle, but after nearly two decades in the front row of the struggle, the time has come when one has to move on.

The fact that I have decided not to seek re-election for MOSOP President therefore should not be misconstrued as an indication that I am leaving the Organization. Let me repeat here that for better or for worse, I remain committed and all of us must commit ourselves to the MOSOP struggle which carries our collective conscience until we realize our promise and restore our dignity. Having given the better part of the most productive part of my life to being part of the beginning and the sustenance of this struggle, the decision, I must confess, has been a very emotional one for me.

I may not have achieved all we set out to achieve or lived up fully to the expectations of some of you but I must assure that our decisions during the period were actuated by what we honestly considered the collective interest of our people. Those who may have been hurt in the process should see our actions in that direction and forgive us. One thing that gladdens my heart is that we took over the helm of affairs of this organisation at a most difficult time in the history of our people, when we were severely and bitterly fractionalized but we were able to bring about an impressive level of unity across the land. This feat and whatever other successes we managed to score during the period were due mainly to the support we received from the youths, students, traditional rulers, religious leaders, women, and all of you. I thank you all.

The lesson to learn and my advise which I have repeated for the umpteenth time is that we stand to achieve a lot when we unite. The best tribute we can give to the memory of those gone, those of us alive today and the many yet unborn, is to stay   united and focused on our collective interest as a people remembering that no matter our position today, we would, like me today, an ex-MOSOP leader, be someday an ex-this or ex-that, but ever remain Ogoni.  As we move into the future we should remember that we have not come this far without a struggle and I assure you, we cannot go further without a struggle.  I know we are up to the task and we shall continue to create a model for others to follow.

Today marks the beginning of an important epoch in our history as it is the first time in MOSOP’s history that we are having a transition that is not forced on us by crisis. As you are aware, being the only democratic grassroots movement in this part of the world, MOSOP elections takes a very long and labourious process as it starts with chapter elections for each of the constituent Associations in each of the Ogoni villages, progresses to the six kingdoms and two Special Areas thence to the National level. The Electoral Committee set up to  conduct the elections reported at the last meeting of the Steering Committee of MOSOP that it had completed elections at all levels except the national elections in respect of which they encountered some challenges.

Confronted with this situation, the steering Committee therefore decided to set up a Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the organization until the conclusion of the outstanding elections. The Committee is also to try and bring on board those who are willing but have felt estranged as well as oversee the conduct of the elections and ensure a smooth transition. The Committee is constituted by the following:

1. Professor Ben Naanen  (Chair)

2. Dr. Meshach Karanwi  (Secretary)

3. Bishop Solomon Gberegbara     (member)

4. Dr.  Johnson Nnaah (member)  

5. Ms Charity Nwido (member)

6. Rev. (Dr.) M.Y. Oguru (member)

7. HRH   Suanu    Baridam   (member)                 

8. Mr. Young Kigbara         (member)

9. Mr. Elvis Ikoma  (member)

10. Apostle Paul Kinee

In presenting this team to you, I would ask one last favour from you:  give this Committee and the ensuing new executive your maximum support and co-operation. As I have repeatedly stated, we would be judged by what we achieve as a people and not through whom we achieve.

Once again, I thank you all as I wish you a happy new year and a great Ogoni day!