It’s still not clear who is the news leader
of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). Ogoni peopleare one of the many indigenous groups
in Nigeria’s troubled Niger Delta region.
Ledum Mitee who has led MOSOP for an estimated 14 years is said to
be refusing to accept the results of an election held early April this year in
which Goodluck Diigbo says he was elected MOSOP president.
Mitee has reportedly refused to recognize the
new leadership. Instead he has reportedly said the only authentic MOSOP
election he recognizes is that which took place in December 2008 in which he Mitee was
re-elected for another three-year term.
Diigbo said the
new MOSOP leadership has begun the task of conducting the organization’s
business with or without Mitee handing over.
have been sworn in and the newly elected leadership of the Movement for the
Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has taken off, but the former president of one
of the factions of MOSOP, Ledum Mitee has not handed over to us,” he said.
said it had been difficult to find Mitee since the April election, suggesting
that Mitee might have gone into hiding.
is almost virtually in hiding because we have obtained a court order to
restrain him from further parading himself as president MOSOP and it’s also
being very difficult to even serve him because he’s in hiding,” Diigbo said.
said he has also written to the Rivers State Police Commissioner to get Mitee
to formally hand over the office but to no avail.
who has led MOSOP for the last 14 years, has refused to accept the results of
the elections of Diigbo and his team. Instead Mitee reportedly said the on only
authentic MOSOP election was that which was held in December 2008 in which he
Mitee was elected.
Diigbo said MOSOP’s
constitution does not provide for a life presidency.
“The constitution of MOSOP
provides for two-year tenure and for only one more election, meaning maximum of
four years. So the constitution does not provide for life presidency of MOSOP.
By our estimation, he has been there for 14 years,” Diigbo said.
He said the newly elected
officers have had a difficult time trying to get Mitee to formally hand over.
“Now we are getting reports
from the (MOSOP) office staff that each day that the staff leaves from the
office, the following morning they will come and discover that some people have
visited the office after they left. This is becoming very, very serious,”
Diigbo said Mitee is a
lawyer and should respect the rule of law by embracing the court order for him
to formally hand over.
He said the new MOSOP
leadership has already begun the task of conducting the organization’s business
with or without Mitee handing over.
“The point I want to make
now is that we are not going to wait for this process to go through. While we
continue to make sure that he formally hand over, we’ve started the programs of
the new leadership and our priority now is to repair the movement because we
inherited a movement that was in several factions,” Diigbo said.
Diigbo also said the new
MOSOP leadership is moving to initiate dialogue with the multi-national oil
companies operating in the Niger Delta.
He described as very
unfortunate the current Nigerian military offensive against militants in the
Niger Delta. Diigbo said MOSOP is a non-vilolent movement.
“We operate non-violently,
and so we are not supportive of any attempt to militarize the areas where oil
is produced in Nigeria. Definitely I don’t believe that there is any military
solution to it. And we think that military action stop and all the parties must
move to the dialogue table,” Diigbo said.