KAGOTE, the apex socio-cultural group in Ogoni comprising the four councils of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme of Rivers State, has said that Ogoniland cannot be developed without government’s support.
Factional president of the group, Emmanuel Deeyah, assured that the group would continue to protect the Ogoni from all forms of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and injustice.
Deeyah spoke in reaction to a statement by a faction led by Mr Innocent Barikor, who claimed to be the factional president of KAGOTE.
Barikor had stated that the challenges confronting Ogoni could only be resolved by the people.
He regretted that some individuals in Ogoniland, instead of consulting Ogoni people on how their problems could be tackled, would prefer going to the Government House to present them.
Arguing that the problem of the Ogoni could only be resolved by the, he called for unity among leaders and stakeholders in the area.
But Deeyah insisted that no community could develop fully without government’s support, noting that most of the developmental projects like roads and bridges going on in the area were approved and funded by government at the federal and state levels.
He maintained that the group had continued to remain the unofficial link between Ogoni people and any government of the day to advance development in the area.
While insisting that Barikor’s group could not speak for the Ogoni, as it was not recognised, the KAGOTE leader explained the president of Ogoni Supreme Council of Traditional rulers, King Godwin Gininwa, introduced the new executive members of KAGOTE led by him and the interim leadership of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) to the Ogoni people in Bori on January 4, this year.
“The group would provide a forum to seek solutions to cultural, social, economic and political wellbeing of Ogoni people. We will protect Ogoni nationality against all forms of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and injustice and articulate and promote the views of the Ogoni on all issues of public interest at local, state, national and international levels”.
When contacted, Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, said the only recognised KAGOTE is the one led by Deeyah.