Posted by thephctelegraph on
The people of Ogoni in Rivers State have taken their case for the creation of an Ogoni State to the outgoing President....
The people of Ogoni in Rivers State have taken their case for the creation of an Ogoni State to the outgoing President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Ogonis who paid a visit to the president in Abuja where they asked him to support the aspiration of the South-South people to produce Dr Peter Odili, Executive Governor of Rivers State as the next president of Nigeria said they earnestly wanted to have an entity of their own.
His Royal Majesty, King Giniwa in tabling the Ogoni demand said for years the Ogoni have dreamt as part of their quest for greater autonomy and control of their wealth to be carved into their own state and appealed to the president to consider their request.
Giniwa acknowledged the strides recorded under the Odili administration in dealing with the Ogoni problem, saying that the Ogoni question has been relatively addressed because of the commitment of the Rivers governor to peace.
He equally noted that as a result of the genuine intervention of the governor, the Ogonis were now on the verge of allowing the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to return to the rich oil fields in their area after years of major differences with the oil firm.
The Ogoni monarch spoke of the need for the South-South to be given the opportunity to produce the next president of the country.
He said that the geopolitical region had made great contributions to the nation through the resources exploited from it, but said sadly enough the region has never tasted power.
Giniwa urged President Obasanjo to look favourably on the quest by the South-South people to produce his successor and urged him to put his weight behind the resolve of South-Southerners to ensure that Governor Odili whom he described as experienced and capable becomes the president in 2007.
Responding, the President thanked the Ogoni for their visit.
He noted in reaction to their appeal for an Ogoni State to be carved out of the present Rivers State that under a democracy the power to create a new state does not lie with the president.
President Obasanjo explained that state creation strictly falls within the sphere of influence of the National Assembly.
The president believed by opponents of his administration to be secretly rooting for an Odili presidency said he would support whomever that emerges as the presidential flag bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party through the forthcoming party convention
The president's comments, which received wide publicity on national television, have opened a Pandora box, with many people left guessing.
Several groups particularly dissatisfied with the way he has handled things and the changes that are taking place within the PDP have tried so hard to paint a lurid picture, which suggests the president cannot be trusted to be neutral in the unfolding drama of who would succeed him.
From information that is reaching our news desk, his critics particularly in the North were not as satisfied by his remarks.
Said one prominent Northerner, "It is all politics. After the third tenure thing that he continued to deny, how can we trust him?"
The thinking in key Northern circles according to some of our sources is that the president was simply playing games.
They say the president sought to relax them and to draw attention away from himself while he fine tunes his agenda to bring a successor possibly from the South-South region to replace him.
Thus far, Governor Peter Odili has not formally declared his intention to run for the office of president, but he is under considerable pressure from all over the country to take a plunge into the forthcoming race that would be first decided by delegates from the PDP and later by a greater number of Nigerians.