Cracks In MOSOP | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Cracks In MOSOP

Posted: Jul 23, 2015 at 12:11 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Abia – Port Harcourt


All, certainly, is not well within the fold of the movement for the survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP), a Pan socio-cultural organization and the mouth-piece of the Ogoni ethnic nationality. The movement penultimate week stunned its admirers when it announced the suspension of some key officers. In a terse and unambiguous press statement signed by its media and publicity advisor, Bari-ara Kpalap, MOSOP said the suspension followed the recommendation of the disciplinary committee headed by HRH Mene Suana Baridam which found the effected members guilty of “gross misconduct”.

The apex decision-making organ of MOSOP indefinitely suspended Messrs. Nenniibarini Dube (Secretary-General), Mr. Elvis Ikomah (Assistant Secretary-General) and Mr. Legborsi Esaen (Publicity Secretary) who were found “guilty of gross official misconduct”.

In a related development, the Steering Committee chose to reduce the suspension of the Federation of Ogoni Women’s Associations’ (FOWA) president, Mrs. Rose Zoranen-Michael, to three (3) months for having shown “some remorse”.

The statement further explained that in view of the vacuum created by the suspension and the importance of the affected offices to the effective administration of the Movement, the Steering Committee resolved and appointed Mr. Michael Porole as Acting Secretary-General between now and the next Steering Committee meeting when he would be replaced.

Also, Hon. (Pastor) Chris Asigbor was appointed as Acting Publicity Secretary of the organization knowing the importance of that office.

The statement was silent on the crimes committed by the suspended members to warrant their being eased off of their positions in the organization. But investigation revealed that the decision may not be unconnected with a clash of interests among the top officers of MOSOP.

It was discovered that certain officers of the movement were tilting too close to a local oil prospecting company, Belema Oil, and this was considered not to be in the general interest of the Ogoni people. Belema Oil is assumed to be a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization with a portfolio of world-class assets located in Nigeria. When it became clear that the company had interest to commence an exploration of oil in Ogoni a lot of flak was raised in the process.

Being a local company, a lot of people, particularly those from the Niger Delta region, were happy that for the first time since oil was discovered in the country, an indigenous company was coming in as a big player in the petro-dollar business.

The planned prospect of Belema oil had set Ogonis against themselves not the doing of the company but some persons who wanted to call the shots, between Ogoni and the company itself. And this must have led to the infighting in the administrative hierarchy of the MOSOP.

Making some clarifications in self-defence, Legborsi Esean said he had endured the silent crisis rocking the Movement for sometime and was only important for him to speak up for the purpose of posterity. “I  had endured and wished we didn’t get to this level. For those who looked closely beyond the surface, you must have noticed that right from inception that all was not well with the current leadership of MOSOP back home.

“I can only describe the purported suspension of some of us as a clear case of witch-hunt as a result of the perceived threat of the re-election ambition of the incumbent President, Mr Legborsi Pyagbara, who is currently nursing a second term ambition,considering the fact that our present tenure will elapse in a few months.”

Esean argued that the suspension, “clearly is a manifestation of an already written script.  How else do you explain the inclusion of the former deputy secretary (Mr Elvis Ikoma) who resigned almost two months ago to contest the Khana Chairmanship in the last local government election in the suspension?

He asked: “Do you carry out suspension of officers in an Organisation without giving the parties involved an opportunity for fair hearing? When did the peace and reconciliation committee that was set up metamorphose into a disciplinary committee? How do holding a different view or asking questions on financial transparency and accountability in an organisation amount to ‘gross official misconduct?”

He said the so-called gross official misconduct they are being indicted for by the leadership of MOSOP is vague.

On his part, the former Assistant secretary of MOSOP, Elvis Ikoma, said Legborsi Pyagbara called him following a text message he sent him, inquiry reasons why he was included in suspension having resigned over two months ago.

Ikoma explained further: “I voluntarily resigned more than two months ago when I contested for Chairman of Khana LGA in the primaries under the APC.

“Because I knew the rules I earlier on notified Legborsi Pyagbara through a Wasap chat after several effort to reach him on phone proved abortive. He duly acknowledged and thanked me for the notice. I will crop our chat stating date and make it public. I will also scan a copy of the resignation letter and display for all to see.

“I still maintain that we MOSOP (Nigeria) today, under Legborsi Pyagbara, is worse than we met it, and we have lost our locus to question bad leadership anywhere in the world,” he said.

He argued that all four major exco members cannot all be guilty of gross misconduct at the same time.

He added: “Something is fishy and curious minds need to ask questions. Our crime is simple: questions that bother on transparency and accountability is insubordination. Questions on our account details for close to three years today is gross misconduct.”

The take home question to ponder is why four exco members and some affiliate heads are guilty of gross misconduct at the same time?