Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has urged Ogoni to embrace the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Governor Wike stated this during the book presentation -‘Witness to Reconciliation: My Personal Journey Towards Reconciliation in Ogoni’, authored by Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah in Port Harcourt on Friday.
The governor, pointed out that the incidences that culminated in the lost of lives in Ogoniland in the 1990s, which later precipitated the setting up of the Justice Oputa panel by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, remain painful.
“It behoves on us to know that it is for the interest of ogoni people to allow peace to prevail in Ogoniland. There is nobody that will lose even if it is a chicken that it will not be painful. We agree, but for how many years now, where are we?”
Governor Wike regretted that efforts aimed at fostering peace in Ogoniland by the likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili and others, have been pathetically frustrated by Ogonis themselves.
“You know every effort made to achieve peace, there is always one faction here that will come against this. You put this other effort, this other people will come from this place and make sure there is no peace.
“Accusation and counter accusation. Blackmail and all kind of things, at the end of the day, who is losing? We must tell ourselves the truth that we need peace in Ogoniland in order to move the Ogoni people forward.”
The special guest of honour, former President Olusegun Obasanjo noted with dismay that the situation in Ogoni’ had gone from bad to worse after the setting up of the Justice Oputa panel.
President Obasanjo, who harped on the need for genuine reconciliation, said the failure to attend to issues that require urgent attention is the bane of most human conflicts.
He stressed that there is no human disagreement that cannot be resolved through dialogue. To this end, he enjoined Ogoni people to continue to strive for peace and reconciliation.
The Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, lauded Ogoni people for the support accorded him when he was saddled with the responsibility of driving the Ogoni peace process.
He also commended governor Wike, who launched the book with the sum of N50M, for hosting the presentation and unveiling of the book in Port Harcourt.
Special Assistant (Media) to Rivers State Governor
May 26, 2023.