Accepted paper:

“Give us freedom and we decide what to do with it”: the Ogoni notions of freedom and development


Samuel Udogbo (Maynooth University, Ireland)

Paper short abstract:

Despite the widespread criticism of Shell and the Nigerian government on the Ogoni situation, there is no end in sight to ferocious oil exploration and exploitation. Hence, the relationship between the corrupt system and the marginalised Ogoni society continues to be a major topic of debate amongst scholars.

Paper long abstract:

This paper gives a critical report on the outcome of my fieldwork research; the Ogoni quest for autonomy rather than submit to the increasing delusionary discourse on development in Ogoniland. The paper examines the approach of the Movement of the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP); a socio-cultural movement established to challenge the oppressive structures in Ogoniland. The research adopted the Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology with semi-structured, focus groups interviews and participant observations as methods for data collection. It shows how participants or marginal groups played active role in making informed decision through the research process for the primary purpose of imparting social change. It looks at the response of the Ogoni youth on the current socio-economic and political injustices in Ogoni land; strategies that leads to constructive social action; and how to build capacity for self-determination, socio-economic and political development. It is accurate that mainstream social movements pay more attention to the global north issues with little attention to the struggles occurring in the global south. However, the experience of African social movements differs; it is complex and often times contradictory. The paper will suggest practical implications that speak to scholars engaged in applied research with change-development initiatives.

panel I4
Global Development, civil society and environmental activism