Former Senator, representing Uyo Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State, Senator Anietie Okon has condemned the call by some Northerners for downward review of the 13%derivation accruable to Oil producing states to 8%.
Recall that the Kano State government and other Northerners during the public hearing on the 1999 Constitution Review organised by the House of Representatives demanded for the downward review of the oil derivation.
Irked by such demands, Okon who is the Pioneer Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP described such call as shameful, destructive and punitive.
Venting his reservations in a press statement obtained by our correspondent in Uyo on Thursday, the former Senator said such demand was alien in the practice of democracy as the downward review was not the panacea to the myriads of challenges rocking Nigeria.
He added that reducing the allocation of the concerned states would not only kill the economic and sustainable existence of those states, but the development and capacity building initiatives in the Niger Delta states.
Okon advised them to rather focus their dialogue on the adoption of true Federalism in Nigeria where all states would be given equal opportunities to explore and exploit resources in their territories and retain at least 50 percent from the proceeds of the revenue from such economic ventures as this would address the vertical revenue imbalance.
He said, “The decision by the National Assembly to consider the desperate efforts and heinous demands of some Northern elements for a downward review of allocations to oil producing states from 13 percent to 8 percent, is shameful and not acceptable in the practice of democracy nor a panacea for the myriad of issues plaguing Nigerians and Nigeria as a whole.
“Reductions in allocation to concerned states will kill the economy and sustainable existence of oil producing states, as well as development and capacity building initiatives in the Niger Delta, amidst the specter of environmental degradation and devastation poverty, impunity and under-investment an explication of the “paradox of plenty”.
“This demand is not progressive nor complementary to positive results, but destructive, odious, and punitive. This agenda undermines the existence of Federalism in Nigeria and puts Nigeria under the halo of a failed state as institutions and conventions are opposed and subverted in the regulation of various levels of interaction.
“This parasitic existence feeds inequality which fuels the sentiments of secession amongst federating units (states) as the Federal government continues to illicitly usurp and empower itself from the resources of states creating an absence of distributive justice and democratic dividends.”
He said the country may experience adverse consequences if states were not given the opportunity to manage their resources and diversify the economy in order to reduce over dependence on oil.
His words, “The nefariousness of this objection is a threat to the sovereign wealth of Nigeria and a clear indication of failure on the path of the Federal government and the states who have their claws stretching for the assets of the Niger Delta as regards the effective and efficient management of resources.
“This has resulted in a continuous flounder and free fall of the economy evident in the diminishing and debilitated value of our currency, hyper-inflation, the exodus of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), thus rendering the break-even analysis negative for economic ventures in Nigeria.”