From Tony John, Port Harcourt

A coalition of youth groups led by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has declared support to President Bola Tinubu in his commitment to end the long-suffering of the Ogoni people, especially with the plan to resume oil exploration in the area.

The coalition said President Tinubu’s commitment during a recent visit of the Ogoni delegation to him in Abuja, would provide a lasting solution to several questions that have not been answered about Ogoni’s demands.

Briefing journalists in Bori, Khana Local Government Area, on Sunday, NYCOP President, Mr Barinuazor Emmanuel, said the visit to the president was purely traditional.

He added that no politician from the state was among the team to avoid politicising the move.

Emmanuel explained that the aim of the conference was to “review the situation of the Ogoni people within the Nigerian Federation, bearing in mind the current socio-economic, socio-political realities, the need to mobilise support and social license for economic rebirth in Ogoni.”

The NYCOP President said the socio-economic conditions of the Ogoni people have significantly deteriorated as a result of systematic repression, marginalisation, neglect and underdevelopment imposed upon communities by successive governments.

He said the worst was the leadership gap created in Ogoni by the killing of their leaders, including the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others by General Sani Abacha’s military regime.

Emmanuel continued: “I was among the delegates that visited President Bola Tinubu at the Villa in Abuja. It was one of the best because it was a pure natural, traditional visit. We didn’t go with politicians because they have in the past years disappointed us.

“The delegation was pure on Ogoni people’s over 30 years of request. Don’t allow these people to divide you. Mr. President has assured us that our oil will be operated by the Ogoni people to ameliorate the age-long suffering of the people.”

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He added: “To put the records straight, Ogoni youths embraced President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to ameliorating the age-long suffering of Ogoni people in our quest to provide lasting answers to the Ogoni un-answered questions.”

He said Ogoni youth stakeholders trust President Tinubu, his message and plans for Ogoni’s economic rebirth.

According to him, the president has a comprehensive idea about the evolution of the Ogoni struggle as their supporter in the NADECO pro-democratic movement.

He urged: “We appeal to our royal fathers, political elite and leaders to close ranks and rise beyond sentiments and greed to unite and collectively confront socio-political and socio-economic realities facing Ogoni people.”

Also speaking, an Ogoni activist, Solomon Ndigbara, insisted that the Ogoni delegation to the presidency was not for personal gain, but to press home the Ogoni message of liberation, and called on the youths to remain calm.

“Let everybody be at peace, people have been going to the Villa without any message. We didn’t go there for money. We went there to talk about the struggle and we promise you that we will do things that politicians couldn’t do in Ogoniland.”

On his part, a leader of ex-agitators in Niger Delta, Mr. Nature Kieghe advised Ogoni youths to unite for the success of the struggle.

He also called on Ogoni leaders to accept the message of the traditional rulers who visited the president.

“We speak to our leaders to leave the people that went to the Villa and listen to the message and see if the message is the mind of the people. We have suffered so much and this is the time to benefit from our struggle.”

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