2019: Niger-Delta states can take 100% of oil revenues, but… — Atiku

2019: Niger-Delta states can take 100% of oil revenues, but… — Atiku
2019: Atiku says Niger-Delta states can take 100% of oil revenues but not now
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has said he is willing to let Nigeria’s oil producing states have absolute control of crude oil revenues from their domains, but added he is reluctant to immediately implement such policies at this stage of national development.

The PDP candidate told The Africa Report that federating units once had considerable control of their resources, unlike the current federal laws that only allow 13 percent derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigeria’s sweet crude is extracted.

Seeing how easy it was for Mr Jonathan to sink the nation, the masses turned to General Muhammadu Buhari, a reality that has proved to be a consequence of shallow thinking by all whose frustrations at the cluelessness of the Ijaw man made them chorus Anyone But Jonathan (ABJ) only to restrict their choice to a member of the old brigade whose long absence from power had made way for all sorts of charlatans to build mythical images around him—a consequence of the people not coming to terms with the grim fact that since independence, countrymen have been made to bear the agony of a nation that spirals exponentially down south; and the country, the misfortune of being run by elements who have been demystified as beholden to their tribes and tongues, individuals lacking in self-restraints as to confuse their private dealings with public good. With a leadership recruitment process throwing up elements who are either faces of their tribes or religion, a nation whose strategic geography and rich cultures undoubtedly place her atop her peers is seen struggling in every sphere of human endeavour.

Although Mr Abubakar acknowledged the appropriate sharing formula might be difficult to say at this point — suggesting it would depend on ‘negotiations’— he recommended a limited role for the federal government in appropriating crude revenues.

Nigerian states “can get more because in the First Republic the regions had 50/50,” Mr Abubakar told The Africa Report in an interview published Wednesday. “I dont mind giving even 100% […], but I would tax those states to maintain the federal government.”

Like the ABJ anthem that unthinkingly restricted our choice to the APC (what some pundits called the lesser evil), the people are again deludingly restricting their justified repudiation of President Buhari to an embrace of the new lesser evil, the same Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who in 2015 was tagged the great evil, thinking that with a single pronouncement, the many failings of the Buhari administration will change the magnitude of evils the PDP and its poster boy embody. With an embrace of the hopelessly indiscipline PDP in just three years after it was stopped from completely destroying their lives, Nigerians appear to be entangled with the Sisyphus spell, foraying into a realm that got them into the pitiable conditions they helplessly long to exit.

But the former vice president recognised this is “not advisable at this stage of our development.”

“Even during the First Republic there was this derivation sharing between revenues and resour­ces, or between the regions and the federal government. So I think we could have a middle course. It would be unfair to ask me for specifics; that will depend on negotiations,” he added.

Of all the presidential candidates for the 2019 election, Mr Abubakar has emerged the most vocal advocate of restructuring, an ideological standpoint that canvasses more powers for states at the expense of the central government.

But in less than four years since he mounted the saddle, the chant of Anyone But Buhari (ABB) has found its way on the lips of the people. While Jonathan rode into office with massive and widespread goodwill, the masses were not as trusting of him as they were of Buhari, no thanks to the myths built around the latter. An example suffices: when Jonathan raised the pump price of fuel in 2011, the nation tottered on the brink. Millions of Nigerians went on protest until the price was slashed. Fast-forward to 2016 when President Buhari pulled the same plug, the citizens tarried, dousing the tensions soaked up amongst themselves in the hope that the sufferings such an action would bring was temporary.

He believes Nigeria’s subsisting Constitution, which recommends a federal system but implements a unitary one, should be urgently reviewed and replaced with a sovereign document that would engender a more peaceful and economically viable nation.

From health through education to security, Nigeria grabs the headlines on issues less endowed nations take for granted. Like organised religion which has found a home in Africa as a result of the sordid fact that a completely hopeless people will cling onto any fantasy however absurd to stay alive, Nigerians believed the mythical Buhari, propagating the lies built around his persona to advance his ambitions of governing the country. Faced with the existential challenges exacerbated by the cluelessness and corrupt antics of Jonathan, the Anyone But Jonathan anthem closed in on Buhari whose sigil was already adorned with the marks of decisiveness and accountability.

Oil revenues still account for over 80 percent of the Nigerian government’s revenues as of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, despite efforts towards economic diversification.

In the face of a floundering agriculture and services sector, reducing the federal government’s share of oil revenues to only taxes paid by about nine oil-producing states could be difficult to achieve soon.

Alas, such a hope has proved to be a mirage, for President Buhari has shown an incapacitation at doing things differently. From the very first day he assumed office, he has found it difficult to exhibit an iota of quality that distinguishes a 21st century leader from a Palaeolithic relic. In both his mannerism and dealings, our president appears to be losing the battle to wrestle his soul from the lifelong inclinations of command and control, a complete antithesis to the approach the buoys representative democracy whose practice is solely responsible for letting him have another chance to rule the nation.

“It is a good thing that the former vice president said he cannot go ahead with giving the Niger-Delta total control of oil income right now,” Busola Odukoya, an economist, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning. “The only problem here is that it could cause some people in the region to resume violent agitation for resource control, especially if Mr Abubakar is elected.”

Seeing how desperate Nigerians were to get rid of the sodden hatman, economic leeches like Bola Tinubu and Bukola Saraki whose clash of interests with the Jonathan administration caused them to long for the centre joined the Buhari train, deploying the press, (Lagos-Ibadan especially) already in their payroll to further the propagation of the Buhari mythology. With that, the myth that was hitherto confined to the sterile minds of many core northerners was spread down south, causing an already disenchanted populace to latch on the voices of anticorruption and security echoed by the septuagenarian.

Ms Odukoya said it would be difficult to predict any negotiation that would result in allocating up to or more than 50 per cent of crude earnings to the states.

Seeing how the people rose in unison to demand that he be made acting president upon the vivid incapacitation of Umaru Yaradua, Jonathan saw himself as invincible. Unthinkingly, he did not bother himself with questions that would have kept him on his toes, for the people who queued behind him in 2010 did not do so based on his brilliance or track records but due to their yearnings to have the laws of the land respected and the newness his ascension to the highest office represents.

“Apart from the offshore oil revenues which the government in Abuja can easily control, the crude lifting within states’ borders in the Niger-Delta cannot be shared even 50/50 with the centre,” the economist said. “The negative impact on some states in the northern or central parts of the country can only be left to imagination.”

“You have to allow decades of regular economic growth, some of which I have seen the candidates talk about this year, before you can be thinking of cutting oil revenues from federal government,” she added.

“It could be difficult to achieve reduction of federal government’s share of oil revenues to only taxes paid by about nine oil-producing states while floundering agriculture and services sector,” Mr Abubakar regretted.

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Mr Abubakar, in an interview with The Africa Report, published on Wednesday, said, I dont mind giving even 100% (to Niger Delta), but I would tax those states to maintain the federal government.

– Atiku said he doesnt mind given 100% revenues to the oil-rich region, adding that he would tax the region to maintain the federal government

Oil revenues still account for over 80 percent of the Nigerian governments revenues as of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, despite efforts towards economic diversification.

Nigerias former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said he is willing to let Nigerias oil-producing states have 100% control of crude oil revenues from their domains.

The presidential candidate decried the current federal laws that only allow 13 percent derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigerias sweet crude is extracted.

He, however, added that he is reluctant to immediately implement such policies at this stage of Nigerias development.

The PDP presidential candidate told The Africa Report in an interview published Wednesday, November 14, that federating units once had considerable control of their resources, unlike the current federal laws that only allow 13% derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigerias crude oil is extracted.

Even during the First Republic there was this derivation sharing between revenues and resour­ces, or between the regions and the federal government.

Atiku admitted that appropriate sharing formula might be difficult to say at this point but recommended a limited role for the federal government in appropriating crude revenues.

According to him, the countrys constitution which recommends a federal system but implements a unitary one, should be urgently reviewed.

I dont mind giving even 100% […], but I would tax those states to maintain the federal government.

Even during the First Republic, there was this derivation sharing between revenues and resources, or between the regions and the federal government. So I think we could have a middle course. It would be unfair to ask me for specifics; that will depend on negotiations, he added.

Atiku is a vocal advocate of restructuring, agitating for more powers for states at the expense of the central government.

He believes Nigerias subsisting constitution, which recommends a federal system but implements a unitary one, should be urgently reviewed and replaced with a sovereign document that would engender a more peaceful and economically viable nation.

Oil revenues still account for over 80% of the Nigerian governments revenues as of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, despite efforts towards economic diversification.

In the face of a floundering agriculture and services sector, reducing the federal governments share of oil revenues to only taxes paid by about nine oil-producing states could be difficult to achieve soon, Premium Times notes.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Atiku said his commitment was to fix the ailing Nigerian economy.

Abubarka said this on Wednesday, November 14, during a meeting with Igbo leaders in Enugu. He said that he was worried about developments in the country as well as the future of the country and the legacies that would be left for generations unborn.

My commitment is to fix this country. I think of the future this country will have, if I do not struggle to fix it. Our economy must be fixed and you can trust me and Mr Peter Obi to do it, he said.