For making comments considered to be insulting on them, Ogoni people have descended heavily on Asita O. Asita, a former deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Rivers State.
The former House of Representatives member had announced at a function in Ogoni land, that it was not the turn of the Ogonis to produce the next governor and that they should not allow a hungry man(an apparent reference to Senator Magnus Abe), to deceive them.
Asita was in Ogoni to represent transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi. His speech has continued to attract condemnations, with most Ogonis demanding an unreserved apology from him. But the man said in a radio interview on Monday morning that he was not in the mood to offer any apology to the Ogonis.
Among those who have condemned Asita is the Progressives Alliance For SMA. A statement by Prince Akekue, President General of the group said in his facebook post that “going by this statement, Asita ostensibly was consciously describing any Ogoni who is genuinely seeking justice after more than 50 years of political imbalance as 'hungry people'. It's blasphemous for Asita to assume the position of God when he also presumed in his statement to know when it will be Ogoni turn to be governor.
“The big question is; how will Asita know, when it will be the turn of a people to become governor of a state, which since its creation had never been governor, deputy governor, speaker or chief judge? How will Asita consider those genuinely pursuing their political rights as "hungry people"?
“Sadly so, this undemocratic utterances coming from a supposedly former federal lawmaker is to us demeaning, provocative, denigrating, most unfortunate, unacceptable and should be condemned by all well meaning Rivers people.
“To us the Progressives Alliance For SMA, this is certainly not the best way to "build the party" as they deceitfully profess. We view the statement of Asita on Ogoni as divisive, insensitive and a general insult on the sensibility of Ogoni people.
“Such dangerous statement if not checked, posses high security risk and is capable of instigating inta-tribal acrimony between ethnic nationalities in the state.
“We call on Asita to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the good people of Ogoni over his unwarranted insult on the collective integrity and sensitivity of the people and Ogoniland in general.”
Also commenting on the issue, Mr Charles O Aholu said “Asita may not have intended what he said but like a canon of fart released from the buttocks, the statement he made today has travelled far and wide and appears irretrievable. It is presently setting the social media ablaze and shredding the last remnant of affection currently sustaining Rivers APC.
“Asita should apologize to ogoni ethnic nationality and the APC for this flip-flop. There is no reason why he should refer to a senator representing the region as hungry. That statement is unacceptable, vexacious and provocative.
“It is high time Rivers APC comes to the realization that 'the heavenly bliss of roasted meat is made possible by the cooperation between the firewood, fuel and akupe'.
From Ndume Green came this reaction: “In 1914 Frederick Lugard described the Ogoni as "primitive" when he received a telegram that the Ogoni people had fought against the imposition of colonial rule and then a native court on them months before.
“Years before then, a patrol led by one captain E.H Smith had been fought fiercely against at Botem and Gwara where members of Akpaka had mobilized against the British. They did not want British rule in Ogoni.
“In 2018, a prominent politician in Rivers State is describing the Ogoni as "hungry"; Same kind of word used by Lord Lugard in 1914.
“Yet history has it that no Ogoni man was ever sold to slavery for money. It is even a taboo to be hungry in Ogoni as land is a key part of the people's heritage, primarily kept for farming, the main reason why Akpo Bari Celestine fought Amaechi's banana plantation. There is no single beggar in the whole of Ogoni, not even the strangers amongst us are allowed to beg. How is it that a politician of his weight does not even know the anything about history?”