Petroleum Industry Bill Isn?t the Panacea To Niger delta

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Diezani1

 or Nigeria?s Economic Questions?

The so-called Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will not correct the cheats and imbalances in the country?s resource development and revenue sharing or allocation palava. In short, there?s no resource development in Nigeria. What exist is Hausa Fulani and Yoruba, Igbo politicians and some business top notch, maybe few from Niger delta of late and international oil companies such as $hell, Agip and  Exxon-Mobil and their governments  influencing and controlling Niger delta oil and gas including the PIB to their advantage. The tripartite ethnic groups above have been commandeering Niger delta oil and gas for their development by first, using same to create multiple states for these ethnic groups. Therefore, to these exploiters the content of the PIB must protect this known status quo else there will be hot Hurricane Moses or war. It doesn?t matter to them whether the issues of injustice against Niger delta, the real owners of the land and oil are discussed, resolved and imbedded in the document or not. Meanwhile, it?s obvious some, especially Niger deltans will love to settle with the PIB as is, by claiming the embattled 10 percent set aside for the oil producing states and communities and other possible incentives is a good place to start, after more than 50 years of cheating, killing and environmental pollution.

If Nigerians, its rulers/politicians especially are honest and serious, and interested in national building, fair competition for development and growth, what will serve as panacea to the nation?s economic questions and also grant Niger delta its deserved economic justice, sufficiency and environmental protection is a national law projecting and protecting property and resource control. Such law has to protect the ownership of traditional, adopted and transferred land by individuals, groups or ethnic nationalities and states which have any kind of resource to cultivate, harness and use for their betterment (and can share but not by force) and contribute to a central poll as applicable in civilized world. Stopping all oil flow from Niger delta to allow the nation think from greed, divest and divert from a more than 90 percent oil-economy to multiple fronts will also answer the country?s economic and development questions and save  Niger delta and other groups or regions from economic predators, including such crisis synonymous with Niger delta. It?s absurd to hear most Niger deltans react to the revelation that Northerners own about 83 percent of oil blocs as though they didn?t understand what the region?s struggles have been about, thus didn?t know that the north controls the oil under their fore-parents? tombs. They?re acting as though they didn?t know why Isaac Adaka Boro and many others were killed by the Northern controlled Federal government or the reason Ken Saro-Wiwa and others were hanged by the same Northern controlled government. This revelation is the same old reason for the struggles of Niger delta?s resource ownership or control and management and environmental protection from the north and their allies.

Therefore, these Niger deltans who seems not to have been listening to the words and sounds of their own struggles should understand that this revelation isn?t new, rather it?s as old as the struggle and environmental pollution. It?s the same struggle for permanent and not incremental change, which most from the region could be settling for. It?s absurd to continue to allow the north and their Yoruba and Igbo counterparts cheat Niger delta of their oil wealth and fundamental rights, even when a Niger deltan is the nation?s president. But I understand the fact that the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan will not be able to do much, if he?s willing to do anything at all about this injustice. It?s clear the north and their allies are in majority in the National Assembly and so neither he nor Niger delta?s lawmakers have the leverage or voting power since politics is a game of number and calculation. It boils down to same injustice in lopsided state creation where the tripartite ethnic groups above used Niger delta oil to create multiplicity of states for themselves as a way to further siphon the oil resource. Notwithstanding, Jonathan can at least revoke all oil blocs with Executive Power as some have also suggested, open up for honest discussion, pursue legislation that doesn?t reallocate oil blocs but return the control of resources to the groups or regions which own them as was the case in the 50s before oil boom. The same ethnic groups fighting and killing for Niger delta?s resources decreed a 50 percent derivative share of proceeds from their region. So political calculation and expedience, assertiveness and  honesty, boldness is all it takes considering that this principle of 50 percent or more derivation will not be new to the country and it?s fair and just.

These lingering issues of resource development and revenue allocation still points to the need for Nigerians to open up for Ethnic Nationality Conference (ENC) otherwise known as Sovereign National Conference (SNC). This way all the about 300 ethnic groups forced by the British colonialists to form the Nigerian contraption shall have equal representation. This will be a departure from the insulting state-based representation that allows these three controlling groups to always have their way, trampling the rights of all others which are not less ethnic than them. No gainsaying the fact that the current Nigerian Constitution is an illegal document. It?s written by the military, thus no adequate and balanced representation brought it about. Only Ethnic Nationality Conference or Sovereign National Conference can bring a truly People?s Constitution that must be debated, drafted, reviewed and confirmed by the approved representation from these ethnic groups for Nigeria. As noted earlier, state representation is unequal and marginalizes the small ethnic groups contrary to what obtains in other federations. Of course, Nigeria is a federation of ethnic nationalities and not a federation of states like the case of America, etc.

Therefore, the nation must reach maturity if it wishes to solve its problems and tap from the abundance of resources in the different regions for the people?s betterment.  It?s against all positive economic reasoning to continue to suck resources or blood  from one group or region while the sacrificial lamb gets nothing but harassment, imprisonment, death and environmental degradation as reward and the rest of the country reaps great-positive benefits for development. Those in leadership, especially politicians must grow up, face reality and be honest to ask for what all the groups and states in the country can contribute to national development, unity and security, happiness and not what the rest can get from Niger delta oil and gas. It?s time to scrap states which can?t create and manage a budget of their own, but wait for allocation from Niger delta oil, an inglorious action that has allowed the perpetration of cheating and Northern grandstanding which has the tendency of boomeranging. No matter how stupid Niger deltans currently looks or any other group, it can?t continue to be business as usual; things must change either by discussion and peaceful resolution based on honesty, fairness and respect or by force. This is especially for Niger delta where many have been killed for seeking justice and the environment rendered useless by the combined greed of multinational corporations and the hegemonic groups above.
Not taking a bold step to think through and resolve these lingering issues of resource development and revenue allocation, but following a piecemeal strategy such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will only be a way of dressing the sides of a wound and not really cleaning and healing the surface and base. This will thus postpone the evil days by protecting the status quo, broad-day robbery of Niger delta resources and killing of the people who shall ask questions or resist the affronts.  Of course there will be no development, but the situation will add to what currently exist: educational backwardness and hurts, near zero capacity building and lack of empowerment, hence acute poverty. In addition there shall be continuous bigotry, hatred, ethnic and national inequality, disrespect and no sense of national unity and unending crisis.    In known federations, USA, for instance, Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Mexico and Louisiana, which produces oil and gas, will not buy this Nigerian greed and stupidity from the rest Americans. According to reports, about 30 states in America produced more than 57 million barrels of oil in 2011. This isn?t added to the off-shore Federal government?s extractive fields or wells. These states extract their oil and pay taxes to Federal government. While Texans don?t pay state tax due to the presence of oil (as the top oil state which invest in other ventures too), most other states pay state taxes, engage in oil and gas exploration and production despite small quantities. They invest in other ventures and get subventions from the Federal government, etc., and not wait only for money from the central government as practiced in Nigeria. Individuals think and create in America alongside state and Federal government?s imagination, innovation and development strategies.

Can Nigerians see why America is prosperous, the richest, great and most people, including Nigerians want to travel and live their?  Can you see that all the state contribute their quotas no matter how small or big; does this not sound like the true meaning of federation where power is devolved, including power to source fund and develop the states-people? I believe Nigerians can get to this point if the so-called major or big groups kill their greed instead of killing those seeking their rights, and apply themselves. They can also explore their regions for resources-every group has some kinds of resources including human resources which are the most sought and outstanding. All it takes is thinking, innovation, creativity, investment and dictum of management wisdom. Nigerian rulers must learn among other things cited, how to invest in people by giving incentives and creating conducive environment for innovators, bloodless competition for growth if they truly wish to solve the nation?s fund sourcing, development and oil or Niger delta resource crisis.

Everything Nigeria is doing currently in the name of oil and resource development and management is against the laws of nature and international law, especially those dealing with property and ownership which includes land and indigenous peoples? rights. In all honesty and going by current knowledge of Nigeria, global connectivity and interactions, international law, human rights and world peace. Niger deltans should be blamed henceforth for their travails. If the people don?t know their rights is a different thing. In this case they know their rights, but have decided to sit tight and accept half measures then continue to complain looking like victims when they?ve all it takes that may not last, to stop all flow of oil and control their land and resources therein, deal with whatever consequences that comes including being completely free from Nigeria?s cheats if they choose. Meanwhile, how long will that so-called presidency last, and how many Niger deltans but the president, politicians and their family, friends and business associates will benefit from the insanity known as Jonathan?s ascendance to power used as bait to stop MEND from stopping the flow of oil to pave way for the  redemption of Niger delta and resource control?

I?m weeping for Niger delta; weeping for Adaka Boro and Saro-Wiwa, et al; I?m equally weeping for MOSOP and MEND! But there?s another chance which if abused and missed there may not be any other. This chance isn?t PIB or any other sharing formula, because it?s evil, preposterous and stupid to continue to allow strangers share your own property for you and giving you and children the beggar?s portion with impunity. There?s no rationale in doing so or allowing such. This is against all good measures and civilized doctrines and must be resisted to a standstill. The new and last chance is rather, a refined, sound and strategic, serious struggle of intellect and by all means necessary and available for total resource and environmental control or total emancipation from the British contraption known as Nigeria. Betrayals must be warned! Yes, Niger delta lawmakers can start this new deal as the PIB debate proceeds. That is, demand complete return to the 1950s derivative formula or principle, where 50 percent revenue was decreed by the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo for their natural resources of groundnut, cocoa and palm produce?s land, or Niger deltans will shut down their oil.

This will be to open up for a once and for all discussion and possible resolution if other Nigerians cares, and prove that Niger delta land and oil or gas  isn?t and can?t be owned by all Nigerians, whereas the land and resources of all other Nigerians, especially those exploiting and killing Niger deltans aren?t for everyone. If Niger deltans and their lawmakers, leaders refuse to seize this moment of PIB debate, the disrespect, cheating, killing and pollution will continue while Niger deltans keeps playing second fiddle or acting as victims in their own land and for their resources. Prosperity, nemesis will never forgive them!

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