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Ogonis Elect Leaders for Autonomous Authority

Investigation finds shocking levels of pollution from oil spills in Ogoniland, even at spill sites that companies claim to have cleaned up.

Photo of oil spill, taken during February 2010 UNPO visit to Ogoniland

Ogonis Elect Leaders for Autonomous Authority

Over 2,500 candidates vie for self-government offices to administer Ogoni affairs

Ogonis begin voting on the 7th of June, 2012 to elect leaders of the Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority (OCIA) to pave way the inherent authority of the Ogoni people to govern themselves within their own boarders. All Ogonis people throughout the world are free to contest.

OCIA was formulated to enforce the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In a message to a meeting of aspirants held in Teyork, MOSOP President/Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo today welcomed the fact that more Ogonis are organizing themselves to end all forms of discrimination and oppression against them.

Diigbo described the electoral process as a mandatory community based elections, with a three-step electoral process in which the college-elected district leaders are to elect the Central Authority President and the custodians of traditions, otherwise called lawmakers.

Diigbo indicated that initial statistics show that the authority will kick-off with 300,000 jobs, including those already serving in the Rivers State public service, local government councils, all able working Ogonis that were victimized and forcefully retired since 1993 because of their role in the Ogoni struggle, and other village jobs in many areas that are often not documented.

He announced the setting up of: Skills Development and Employment Agency chaired by Rev. Joseph Tor-ate of Gokana Kingdom, Hon. Patience Chitte of Eleme Kingdom as Administrator and Hon. Dumkui Nnelo of Bori National Territory as the Administrative Secretary. The agency is to supply data to guide OCIA in its labor planning, recruitment and management.

The United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples says in article 3 that: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development;” while article 4 states that: “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.”

Diigbo added that the Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority, which shall be inaugurated, soon; shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the national government of Nigeria.

The Ogoni Freedom Remembrance Month ended on the 6th of June, 2012. There were various events during the Month, including religious activities and village to village consultation and sensitization on the role of the OCIA.
Tambari Deekor
MOSOP Media Associate Editor
[email protected]

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