North is ungrateful - South-South

Tribune Newspaper

In their reactions to the demand by the North for a reallocation of oil resources, some key South-South figures described the call as insulting and a further proof that the North is ungrateful to the South. Below are their excerpts of the reactions:

Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, founder of the Niger Delta Peoples' Volunteer Force (NDPVF)

"I have said it before and I will continue to reinforce it; Nigeria is a forced union and such cannot stand the test of time. Very soon, we in the Niger Delta shall commence what we call Operation Occupy Niger Delta Resources; once that starts, we shall lead a protest to the President with a warning that no dime of our oil money should henceforth, be sent to the north which has all these years, criminally manipulated the Nigerian state to the extent of claiming more population than the south, a situation that has resulted in the parasitic accumulation of our resources to their desolate local government areas which are mere structural entities without human beings.

It is now time for both the UN and the AU to come to Nigeria and conduct a scientific population analysis of the country; I make bold to say that Kano state is not more populated than Bayelsa not to talk of Lagos state. This is the fraud they have used to criminally determine the sharing of resources. As it stands today, we are getting very close to the point that we shall inevitably be on a collision course with our brother, Jonathan because we shall not fold our hands and allow this provocation to continue beyond now. Let the north go its own way and the others should also determine their future. To say the least, the outburst of the northern governors is not only a lazy and parasitic one, it is highly provocative and we are close to the situation where each region will control its resources."

Professor Itse Sagay, Constitutional Law expert"
"I have been following the debate like others; unfortunately, those who speak on behalf of the Niger Delta on the issue have failed to hit the nail on the head. They should be bold enough to ask their northern colleagues, where does the nation's revenue come from-instead of caressing the issue rather cautiously.

The northern part of this country does not contribute anything to the national purse. If the area that produces the resources has just a token of 13 percent, the remaining 87 percent is free gift to the entire nation, particularly the North that has nothing to show for its existence. At the Political Reform Conference in 2005, we went to the Federal Ministry of Finance to get figures and facts about what each of the zones contributed to the commonwealth. What we saw was amazing; the North-West brings nothing, the same with the North-Central and North-East. The South-East and South-West brings minor but the South-South contributes 91 percent.

The posture of the northern governors is the height of ingratitude and insult on the people of the oil-producing areas because they would have been bankrupt if not for the revenue that has been accruing to them from the proceeds of oil and gas.

This is a wake-up call on the people of the oil-bearing region. For instance this is the time to come together and fight intellectually for the anomaly in the uneven allocation of oil blocs in the country. You will observe that because of the long stay of the north in power at the centre, they manipulated the process and cornered these blocs to the disadvantage of the south; today, you have all juicy oil blocs in the hands of the north. Now that Jonathan is there, I would not want to sound being immodest by calling for a revocation of the blocs allocated to the northern businessmen, but from the look of things, they have decided to take the entire South for a ride, so Jonathan should ensure that he corrects this imbalance by allocating more oil-blocs to people in the South to make up for the inequity in the sector."

Professor Godini Darah, university don, resource control advocate"
"It is an outrageous provocation, an act of ingratitude; for over years, oil has been sustaining the development of the north, yet they are behaving like imperial masters.

Nigeria should be a federal republic with people controlling their resources. Now that they have provoked us, we will insist on nothing less than 100 percent. In 2005, we advocated and demanded a compromise of 50 percent which was the position at independence before the so-called northern power mongers manipulated the political process and stole our resources and rights of ownership in an innocuous and disdainful Section 44(3) of the constitution that oil found anywhere in the country belongs to the federal government.

That particular section of the constitution should be abrogated and a new clause inserted so that there will be 100 per cent ownership of resources by the people. This is very equitable and just; the North will also benefit from such arrangement because it is rich in minerals. Nasarawa and Plateau have at least 21 of such minerals. Let oil and gas found in the continental shelf belong to the coastal states. We are only inspired by this arrogance of the north and we will not rest until we achieve the resource control goal"

Comrade Joseph Evah, Chairman, Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG):

"My opinion on this matter is very different; I am very happy at the way the northern governors have come out to call the entire south-south governors and politicians fools, that is what they have done and I am happy about it because the same set of politicians will go to them at night and beg them for one position or the other why won't they think they own Nigeria? If you look at the way even the governors of oil-producing states are responding, they are talking with only one lip of their mouth because they are afraid to say something.

Some of them are already thinking about their future election or what they intend to get from one northern leader. I won't be surprised if the northern governors have their way because they have a way of getting their goals because of the gullibility of our political leaders from the south-south.

Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni, former Transport Minister, former Chief of Naval Staff:

"We are close what some of us have for a very long time, advocated. We need to sit down and discuss our terms of existence and co-operation as Nigerians; I am not talking about a Sovereign National Conference but a National Dialogue whose views form the basis for a better national direction".

Festus Keyamo, Lagos Lawyer:

"I think their clamour for more funds lacks moral merits because they only need to look more inwards and get more revenue, possibly more than the south itself. To be candid, the over-dependence of the north on oil revenue is not good for them at all".


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