COALITION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCING
STATES OF NGERIA (COPPSON) DENOUNCES OBASANJO'S INVASION OF ODI, NIGER
14 December, 1999
We join hand with other concerned organizations in thanking all those who have in one way or another choose to show support for the ongong struggle by the people of Niger Delta. Though Coalition of Petroleum Producing States of Nigeria (COPPSON) is not advocating violence, we shall not stand in the way of those who choose this as an option. It is one thing to condemn an action but it's quite another to stop it. As far as Nigeria is concerned, no option is better or worse than the other. Nigeria government herself has utilized and benefitted tremendously from violence since the era of General Yakubu Gowon administration in 1970 when military weaponry was used to rob oil bearing communities of their God-given resources. This was, of course, an outright robbery. An action that was later sanctioned by the then General Obasanjo in 1978.
To us, the recent action taken by President Obasanjo is in line with the policy they have been ochestrating since 1970. There is no difference in this action and that committed by Saddam Hussein against the minority Kurds in Iraq. Indeed, Saddam at least was more humane, he spared buildings!!! He never reduced entire city to rubbles.
Ken Saro-Wiwa never used guns nor did he preach violence. At the end, he paid the ultimate price for his none violence option. If others have today learnt a painful lesson from that terrible deed, I think Nigerian leaders, if we have any, have themselves to blame because they've cultivated and nurtured an atmosphere of violence. They must watch it grow. As the adage puts it, he who grows the wind must surely reap the whirlwind. They are no two ways about it.
Frederick Douglass did not mince words when he said that "The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle...It must do this or does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one... but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will...The limit of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
The night is still young. I hope when President Obasanjo mentioned in his state of the nation essay in 1994 that Ogoni is a metaphor he really knew what he meant. I hope he now realizes that Odi is also a metaphor for the struggle of the people of the Niger Delta. Imagined being robbed of what used to be 50% ownership. In its place you're given 1.5%, then 3%, now they are arguing about 13% and hoping that NDDC will be the magic wane. Good luck.
Chairman, COPPSON Inc.