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Message from the Office of the President, MOSOP-USA on November 10, 2007

Fellow Ogonis,

November 10, 2007 makes it 12 years since the world witnessed the feral judicial hanging of nine Ogoni environmental activists – Ken Saro-Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Barinem kiobel, Daniel Gbokoo, Felix Nuate, Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo, Saturday Dobee and Baribor Beera (may their souls rest in perfect peace) – by the sadistic dictator, General Sanni Abacha, on concocted murder charges. Fact is: they were hanged for their role in the Ogoni protestation against the overall excesses of Shell, its allies, and the Nigerian nation-state.

Although Ogoniland is endowed with both material and natural resources; although it is a viable ethnicity and the hub nub of the nation’s economy, Ogoniland continues to suffer from the same tragedies which the Ogoni 9 protested against from 1990-1995 and for which they were hanged – environmental degradation, economic dearth, political separatism, educational deterioration and social injustices! The “criminal neglect” of Ogoniland since 1958 when crude oil was struck in commercial quantity coupled with governmental abuses and killings will continue to fuel the anger of the Ogoni people!

This November 10, 2007 therefore, should be a time for sober reflection, solemnity and rededication of the Ogoni people to the Ogoni Struggle. It should be a time for serious questions and sincere answers: did the Ogoni 9 die in vain? What have the Ogoni people achieved since 1990 when the struggle for Ogoniland started and how far down the road, twelve years after? It should be a time for self re-examination and vocal decision making. Thus, November 10, 2007 should be commemorated differently.

Therefore, I appeal to all Ogoni people in Diaspora, supporters of the Ogoni Struggle and lovers of justice the world over, to reflect solemnly on the supreme sacrifices the Ogoni 9 (and all who died in the course of our Struggle) paid. The sustenance of the Ogoni Struggle derives strength from their selflessness, sacrifices and the Spirit of Ogoni.

Should we as a people, now, decide to step back and allow their feral murder go in vain; should we be comfortable in our present state of affairs while our brothers are still dubbed criminals for the just cause they fought and for a crime they did not commit; should we choose to quit the Ogoni Struggle, letting Shell and its collaborators rejoice for slamming our heads in the mud and walking away with the prize – our crude, our wealth  – yet putting nothing back in Ogoniland but protracted suffering, poverty and death, then I urge us to remember the rivers of innocent blood flowing on streets and backyards in Ogoniland. We should remember that once blood is spilt in any struggle, there is no going back.  We should also remember that history stands to judge us on the strength of our commitments. Blood is the eternal bond. It can bind us. It can curse us. It can bless us. It all depends on which aisle of history we choose to sit in. We must renew our commitment for the Ogoni Struggle!

Let me quickly add: given what went on at the just concluded All Niger Delta Peoples Congress (ANDPC) conference in Houston, Texas and current socio-political, and economic trends in Nigeria, especially in relation to the Niger Delta, the Ogoni people have got to wake up, put aside partisan disagreements and infighting and unite in the interest of Ogoniland and the Ogoni people. There is no doubt in my mind that the only way  forward for us (as a people) in this current dispensation lies in our fighting for Ogoniland from a common platform, and with one voice. Jesse L. Jackson once said “Let nothing and nobody break your spirit. Let the UNITY in the community remain intact.” Today, as we mark November 10, 2007, I leave you with these same words. The Struggle continues! Until victory is won! Gbene Ogoni, and lovers of justice, I salute you!

IkpoBari Dumletam Senewo, President.

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