Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A civil society organisation, Albert Badey Centre for Development (ABCD) has commended the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) for recognising four Ogoni leaders who were murdered 22 years ago as heroes who died while seeking for peace in the area.
The ‘Ogoni Four’: Mr. Albert Badey, Chief Edward Kobani, Chief Samuel Orage and Chief Theophilus Orage, were killed on May 21, 1994 at Giokoo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
MOSOP, in a statement issued to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of their death, for the first time recognised them as “true heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice that we may live”.
In a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Secretary General of ABCD, Mr. Suage Badey, noted that the four Ogoni leaders were murdered while suing for peace and restoration of order at a time when Ogoni slid into anarchy.
He therefore called on MOSOP to use its privileged position to turn around the rhetoric of some who claim to speak for the Ogonis but who actually engender violence and disunity in the area so that the organisation could emplace improved relations amongst the people of Ogoni.
Suage, who is son of the late Mr. Albert Badey, described the situation in Ogoni as horrible and a devastating set back, adding that the area is richly endowed with human and natural resources which if properly harnessed in an atmosphere of peace would improve the socio-economic/political space.
“It is therefore of utmost importance that MOSOP flies the Ogoni flag on the altar of truth and honesty having recognised their meritorious service after 22 years. Misrepresenting the facts concerning their death and the consequences that led to it in whatever guise, is dishonouring, insulting and denigrating to the service rendered by the ‘Ogoni four’,” he said.
He also advised, “While we heal our wounds let us please be mindful of the need not to make unguarded utterances. ABCD seeks to make peace in Ogoni and the state in general. Peace has eluded the Ogonis for more than two decades now. We must restore our core values of love, respect and hospitality.”
Meanwhile the ABCD has said former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo, who rounded up his footballing career with a testimonial match at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, in a role model to youth of Ogoniland.
ABCD described him as a worthy ambassador of Ogoni and Nigeria and charged Ogoni youths to “emulate the outstanding qualities of this great son of Ogoni whose testimonial match attracted world renowned stars and administrators like Eto’s, Moyes, Okocha and Kanu”.
ABCD said his qualities of humility, hard work and excellent relations combined with his footballing skills was responsible for his outstanding successes, charged Ogoni and Rivers youths in general to emulate Joseph Yobo and shun all forms of violence.
“Violence cannot take our youths to such lofty heights but rather diminish ones’ God-given potential at the expense of lives,” he said.