November 9, 2022 was a day set aside to mark the 27th Remembrance of the hanging of the Ogoni 9, an annual event done to give honor to those that it is due, in particular, the great, yet ever living hero, Ken Saro Wiwa (in full, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa), by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People, NYCOP.

We will recall that, since the setting up of the tomb of the great sage, Ken Saro Wiwa in Bani, only Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Rivers Accord Governorship candidate, has deemed it fit to go and honor the departed sage with the laying of wreath at the tomb, a move propelled by his love for the hero, and the sacrifices the great sage made for the benefit of Rivers people.

So, having looked forward to this day of remembrance, that he may again honor this hero, on whose sacrifice Rivers people know their rights of freedom today, Dumo Lulu-Briggs paid a visit to Bori, to join the National Youth Council of Ogoni People, so that together, in one Accord, the fallen heroes of November 10, 15, will be honored at the Ogoni peace and freedom centre, Bori.

On arrival, he was highly welcomed, and addressed as an Ogoni son who has consistently prioritized all that concerns the Ogoni people whenever the need arose, and has never failed in that regard. Comrade Leekia Christian the leader of the group said Dumo Lulu-Briggs is an Ogoni man, and a man whose touch has restored great destinies that were almost destroyed, and that, he is one man that is detribalized and ready to give his all for humanity to flourish.

Addressing the NYCOP members and the impressive congregation that had assembled at the Ogoni Peace and Freedom centre, Bori, Dumo Lulu-Briggs spoke: “First, I want to thank your President for finding me worthy of your presence, and for inviting me to come and heal with you. Because the Theme of this year’s message is that the ‘Process of Healing has to Begin’, I will say, ‘to heal with you’ because, I have always said that, ‘we are only as strong as the weakest amongst us’, and all of us are a people of a common Future.

“Growing up, as a child, in Rivers State, and running around, and coming to Bani girls for excursions and all that, we didn’t know who was Kalabari, who was Ogoni, who was Ikwerre, who was Ekpeye. All of us were seen as Rivers people. Rivers people was one big family, and that is how we must remain, ONE BIG FAMILY. So that what happens to me has happened to you, what happens to you has happened to me. That is the only way I can take you seriously and you will takes me seriously.

“That once something happens to me, you will feel the pain, once something happens to you, I will feel the pain. That’s the Rivers State in which I grew up.

“So, today that we are gathered here, we are saying that, “let the healing begin”. I want you to know that you’re not the only ones who are paining, All of us are paining, and so All of us are going to heal together.

“We shall all heal together. Our late Sage, Ken Saro Wiwa, was not a great man, he was a very great man! If you say he was a great man, you call him a great man, you will miss the point. He was a very great man, he was larger than life, and the oppressors cannot contain him, and so thet have to find a way to extinguish him.

“He was a very great man, and the day it happened, we knew that something massive has been thrust out hearts, the people of Rivers State.

“But well, as we all know, in life, we will not mourn forever, because everyday we face challenges, both existing and new challenges that came up, and so we must learn to quickly pull together so we can face the world as a strong, united and committed people.

“All of the struggles, all of the message here is that, “the Nigerian State should honor, and not to have demonized our fallen Heros, It is what we shall fight for!

“The Yorubas fought at a time the Nigerian State don’t want to hear about Abiola. But the Yorubas fought, and fought, and fought, and fought. Today, Abiola has been recognized almost as a past President, because the highest Honour in the land is now affixed after his name, GCFR. That’s a man the Nigerian State at some point felt this was a great villain, we could not deal with him, we will not recognize him.

“Today, they have recognized him and given him the highest Honour, Because the Yorubas came together and fought for it. Rivers State must come together and fight for our fallen Heros.

“Personally, I will take it as my responsibility and by the special Grace of God, as Governor of Rivers State come 2023, I shall fight for it with the full weight of the force of the Government of Rivers State, and I can assure you that it shall be done.

“Today, most of the things we are enjoying, even though we are not. Because, they can’t give you what belongs to you; what’s your own is your own, they can’t dash you what belongs to you. But even some of the things they have allowed to happen to us, is as a result of the struggles of our fallen Ogoni Heros.

“Therefore, it’s important that in the administration of any Government in Rivers State, we reference the Ogoni struggle by ensuring that we bring serious development to Ogoni land and Ogoni people.

“Since i was a little boy growing up, we heard of Bori, Bori, Bori, Bori, Till today, Bori is still a glorified Municipal council. By the special Grace of God, when we form Government, Bori shall become a City. Hold me to it! That shall be one of the first things that will start, it must be one of the first things that will start.

“Because, we have to reference that struggle; the people have struggled, they have fought, they have died. Then a few things have been released to us as a result of that effort, and the only way to show that we recognize that struggle is to bring the weight of the Rivers State Government to develop that area, and we shall do it from Day ONE.

“I am here with your Sister, Princess Mrs Hilda Tambari Dedam, . By the special Grace of God, the next Executive Deputy Governor of Rivers State. When I say executive deputy Governor of Rivers State, I mean the Executive Deputy Governor of Rivers State.

“You know, that means that, as executive deputy Governor, she will have executive powers to carry out responsibilities. We will have to empower the office of the executive deputy Governor. So, this your sister, your daughter and mother, will not be just another deputy Governor, this will be a Deputy Governor with a difference.

“Her father was the immediate past paramount ruler of Bani. Bani is also the place where the late Sage, Ken Saro Wiwa came from. So, you can see that, I am taking to remind me of what has happened to the Ogoni people, so that I will work for the Ogoni people from Day ONE, when we get into Government. So, I want to tell you that I am with you,

“I want to thank my brother, Leekia Christian. Leekia and I have worked very closely together. He was my Director of media, so, all of these you see, The DLB media, and all that, the foundation for a of these things were laid by this man (pointing to Leekia). Also, he supported my cause, because he knows, he knows my Heart.

“Even in our private conversations, because of my antecedents, he calls me an Ogoni man. So, even when he was pushing for me to be Governor, people were saying, “I thought you want an Ogoni man to be Governor?” he said, “this man is am Ogoni man in spirit”. Nothing has changed.

“Even now, as I am running for Governor, and I was going to choose my Deputy, (which is what I have always done each time I try to run for Governor, I have always picked someone from Ogoni as my running mate) I have to pick someone from Ogoni. I have never changed, I have always picked someone from Ogoni as my running mate.

“Because I know that the privilege I have and I seek, to become Governor of Rivers State, the Ogoni people also have that right and privilege to become Governor of Rivers State. I cannot come here and stay here and say, No! it’s the turn of me the Kalabari man to become Governor of Rivers State. The Ogonis too, they have never produced Governor, the Kakabaris, they have never produced Governor. So, it’s also your turn to produce Governor, it’s our turn to produce Governor. We cannot claim it as our own, it belongs to all of us Now!

“Therefore, I have always felt that, if an Ogoni is Governor, the Kalabari should be Deputy, and if a Kalabari is Governor, the Ogoni should be Deputy. So, once you’re done, it must go the other way; once the Kalabari is finished, the Ogoni must produce, and once the Ogoni finishes, the Kalabari produce. Because Ikwerre has produced, now if the Kalabari produce, Ogoni produce next. So, what I try to do is to be fair and just in everything that I do. Not to be political, but to be fair and just.

“When I was going to decide on my running mate, which we have said has to be a woman, because we have had a female deputy Governor of Rivers State, and I want us to see the first real female deputy Governor of Rivers State, because the deputy Governor should have powers.

“So, we thought that women should also form part of the Government we want to form, and we must lead by that example. The next thing was where to pick the Deputy from, and people said, No! it’s political suicide, Don’t go to Ogoni, Ogonis have people who are going to run for Governor, so if you go to Ogoni, it’s going to be wasted votes, wasted effort, all the people from Ogoni will go and support that one. I said No! for me, it’s not the politics of the matter, it’s for the Justice or the matter!

“So, whether Ogoni people vote for me or not, the most important thing for me is that I have done Right by choosing an Ogoni person. Because, we must share that Government House with an Ogoni person, it will not be right to be inn that Government House and an Ogoni person is not in that Government House.

“But because you know that I love you, and I am an Ogoni son, and what I will do for Ogonis, Ogoni people will know that yes! I am an Ogoni son. I have told anybody who cares to listen, To watch, “The Votes that I will get from Ogoni will not be less than 50%, the votes that I will get. Because by the time we gett inti the campaigns and you see our activities, you will all be convinced that this man is an Ogoni man, Let’s go and vote for him.

“So, well, we will start here today, By the special Grace of God, having consulted with my friends and all that, the first thing that we would do when we leave here is to consult with the leadership of Ogoni youths leadership and see how can at least paint this place, after which we shall change this table, so that we can hold our meetings in Dignity. Thank you once again, and I appreciate you for this privilege given me”.

“It was indeed an honor given to a man worthy of it all, he will never be forgotten, for whether we like it or or not, we today enjoy such knowledge in freedom because he boldly made the sacrifice that we couldn’t stand up to.

“May the sacrifices of our heroes past never be in vain, and may no oppressor rise again in Rivers State, save that only good men and good leaders like Dumo Lulu-Briggs whose hour has come will be put in the corridors of power”.

Iyene Douglas
State Publicity Secretary,
Rivers Accord.

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