Ogoni: UNPO GA President Calls for Fairness
Below is an article published by The Punch:
A former Director-General of the defunct Nigeria Security Organisation, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, and the Chairman of the Niger Delta Technical Committee, Mr. Ledum Mitee, have canvassed fair treatment for the Niger Delta people.
The duo made their feelings known in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during the 40th birthday lecture of Prince Tonye Princewill, the Action Congress candidate in the April 2007 governorship election in the state.
Shinkafi, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said that while the difficulties faced by Nigeria and its various peoples were acknowledged, the problems of the Niger Delta people must also be addressed.
He said that the problems of the region required fairness in the distribution of the nation’s wealth, so that the people could derive maximum benefit and feel a sense of belonging within the nation. He said he was in support of the genuine agitation of the people of the region for fair treatment but cautioned against a situation where the struggle was increasingly being criminalised. He said, “We should not accept the infiltration of the struggle by criminal elements. It is legitimate for the people to demand for fairness and equity and we entrust the struggle in the hands of young people. We look at the young people to take the fate of the nation in their hands and with the cooperation and advise from the elders, we will have a better tomorrow.”
But in a keynote address, Mitee, who is also the leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People [and president of the UNPO General Assembly], lamented that in spite of the huge human and material resources available to the country, it was still lagging behind in terms of development.
He blamed the nation’s woes on a leadership that has forced itself on the people and the twin evils of corruption and godfatherism. The MOSOP leader said that the faulty political and electoral systems in the country had produced leaders who lacked public confidence, influence and genuine loyalty from the people.
According to him, even those considered to be new breed politicians have been infected so much, so that instead of seeking the popular mandate of the people, they resort to thuggery and godfatherism to attain power.
He said, “To be a new breed, it means that the person has been bred. But the question is, who bred him and in what mould? The fact is that those who are bred in the mould of corrupt leadership, no matter the age, would remain corrupt and ineffective. As the saying goes, it is garbage in, garbage out.”