Former Bougainville president James Tanis is calling for people to vote for independence from Papua New Guinea in the referendum which begins on Saturday.
Mr Tanis said he did not want people to listen to those who said Bougainville lacked the capacity to manage as an independent nation.
Bougainville is a resourceful region with resourceful people and a lack of capacity is not a permanent order in society, he said.
"But rather it is something that changes and it grows.
"The lack of capacity should not be used as an argument to discourage people from choosing independence because, from a personal level, what I know is that, yes, we do not have the capacity at the moment, but that should not stop the people from choosing independence."
James Tanis, who was president from 2008 to 2010, has recently been working in various roles preparing Bougainville for the vote.