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Ogoni set to elect own government officials

MOSOP said $640,000 has been earmarked for each of the proposed eight provinces.

The President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, Goodluck Diigbo, has said the Ogoni ethnic nationality would elect its own president and governors of the eight provinces being proposed for it before the end of 2014.

The provinces are Babbe, Eleme, Gokana, Ken-Khana, Nyo-Khana and Tai, as well as the two other divisions known as National Territory and Ban Ogoi.

He also said a minimum budget of $640,000 (N103 million) has been earmarked for the take-off of each of the provinces though without ceiling on the amount each of them may decide for itself.

Mr. Diigbo stated this at Ken Saro-Wiwa Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, Rivers State on Saturday while addressing the Ogoni people to mark the 2nd anniversary of the Ogoni Self-Government Declaration.

He said these were some of the resolutions adopted by the Ogoni National Legislative Assembly at its meeting.

MOSOP had in August 2012 declared self-government within Nigeria in line with United Nations Declaration Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It said self-government would secure for the Ogoni People their indigenous rights, enable them meet their needs and interests and finally end internal colonialism.

The anniversary, which is the second in a row, was expanded to last for a week, including different religious and civic programs hosted by cities, towns and villages across Ogoni.

Mr. Diigbo said the Assembly also adopted a resolution to pave way for local entrepreneurs to collaborate with foreign investors in order to directly exploit wealth and natural resources in Ogoniland.

Other new measures adopted, according to him, include setting up of three standing funds – Freedom Fund, Peace and Security Fund, and Development Fund.

He said the measures were necessary to bring about the economic and political empowerment of the Ogoni people.

According to the MOSOP President, the Ogoni self-government run by the Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority, OCIA, spent its first two years building institutions and capacity.

He said while each of the eight provinces would be headed by a governor, the OCIA will get a president.

Mr. Diigbo, who doubles as the MOSOP spokesperson, explained that election into the executive positions would be open to all Ogoni people at home and abroad without any restriction and that tax clearance would not be required.

He explained that under the indigenous authority, Village Councils were authorised to reasonably equip themselves to act in self-defence, when circumstances demand.

The MOSOP President said that the Ogoni Peace and Security Council had been transformed into Peace, Security and Self-Defence Council in other to regulate activities of village self-defence councils.

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