On Saturday, November 10, 2007, people from the all
the five kingdoms that make up Ogoniland as well as
human rights activists and madia practitioners
converged at the Ogoni Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori,
Rivers State, for an event.
The memorable event, held at the instance of the
Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP)was
the 12th anniversary commemoration of the hanging of
renowned environmental rights activist, Kenule Saro-
Wiwa and eight other Ogonis.
Others, who were hanged along with Saro-wiwa on
November 10,1995 by former military ruler, late
General Sani Abacha were John Kpuinen, Dr. Barinem
Kiobel, Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo, Baribor Bera,
Saturday Dobee, Daniel Gbokoo and Felix Naute.
November 10 each is also marked by the people of Ogoni
in honour of four prominent Ogoni leaders, who were
also murdered, though on May 21, 1994 at Goikoo
village in a ploy traceable to the Nigerian
They include Chief E.N. Kobani, Chief Albert Baddey,
Chief S.N. Orage and Chief Theophilus Orage.
The 12th Anniversary commemoration featured a memorial
service where special prayers were said for the Ogoni
struggle as well as for the deprieved and suffering
minorities in the Niger Delta region.
Eulogizing the late Saro- Wiwa, a cleric, Rev James
Needom in his sermon at the church service said that
God used the slain environmetal rights activists to
fight for the survival of peoples of the Niger Delta.
Ken, as Saro- Wiwa was popularly called and his
compatriots were killed by the Abacha military junta
for daring to raise awareness on the development
neglet in the oil- rich Niger Delta.
As the second President of MOSOP, the literary icon
dusted up the hitherto docile Ogoni people through a
peaceful non-violence campaign into an active anti-
Ken decried the impoverishment of his people despite
the fact that they stood on a pinnacle of wealt, and
practically confronted their adversaries, Royal Dutch
oil giant, Shell, which had exploited the Ogoni
environment over the decades.
The awareness raised by Saro -Wiwa in Ogoniland thus
made the people the epitome of minority rights
consciousness and the people no doubt recieved a
punitive dose of the brutality over their frontier
It is believed that in death, Saro -wiwa achieved most
of the ideals he stood for.
According to Martin Lurther King Jr, "it is not the
longevity of life but the quality that counts, so if
you are cut down in a struggle designed to save others
which death could be more redemptive?".
The virtues Ken stood and died for perhaps remain the
determinant of peace anbd economic prosperity in the
Though, the people of Ogoni have been able to stop
Shell from operating in the environment for close to
14years now and had stoood their ground that the oil
giant remains persona-non- grata to Ogoniland as far
as it refuses to yield to the demands of the people,
the near absence of peace among the people may,
perhaps, be 'a log in their desire' to achieving their
demands from both the Nigerian government and Shell.
The low turn -out of Ogoni people at the 12th
anniversary commemoration clearly indicated that there
is need for the people to seek genuine peace and
reconciliation among themselves before making efforts
to fight Shell.
The aviodable absence of notable first class
traditional rulers in Ogoniland at the event speaks
volume of the leve;l of disunity in Ogoni.
Suffice it to say that the absence of the Gbene- mene
Tai and Chairman of Ogoni Council of Traditional
Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa, the Gbene- Mene Babbe
Kingdom, King Mark Saro Igbara, the Onne eh Eleme,
King Ejire as well as the Monarchs of Gokana, Ken -
Khana and Yor- Khana Kingdoms were not unconnected to
the non-acceptance of the leadership of MOSOP in
Also, the frequent calls for genuine reconciliation
among the people,being made by notable Ogoni indigenes
including the President of MOSOP- USA, Mr.IkpoBari
Senewo,Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of
Assembly, Charles Befii Nwile indicate that there are
factions even within the MOSOP,despite claims by its
President, Ledum Mittee that there are no longer
factions in the organization.
According to Senewo and Nwile, the struggle has been
derailed due to lack of unity and continued infighting
among the people of Ogoni.
Many Ogoni people are of the believe that MOSOP has to
be blamed for the disunity in the landas it has lost
its focus and has become a non- governmental
It is regrettable that an organization,which was,
during the days of Saro- Wiwa, at the forefront of the
struggle for emancipation in the Niger Delta has
become a laptop organization.
The lingering disunity in Ogoniland, 12 years after
will certainly make the arrest, detention, subsequent
trail and hanging of Saro - Wiwa and his Compatriots
be in vain.
Let this unfighting stop.
BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA
Onukwugha, a journalist writes from Port Harcourt