Our Ref: AIDN/S/2012/022
March 19, 2012
AIDN CONDEMNS THE NORTHERN LEADERS POSITION ON REVENUE ALLOCATION
Akwa Ibom Diaspora Network (AIDN), representing the overwhelming majority of Akwa Ibom people in the Diaspora across many nations in Europe, Asia, Africa and Canada, expresses concerns over the northern leaders' position on revenue allocation.
- It is unfortunate that some Nigerians, especially the Northern governors and elite, are taking turns to mendaciously bring forth provocative schemes and insulting rant against governors and people of oil producing states of the Niger Delta region. We are deeply sensitive to any provocation or insult against our leaders and people because, as stakeholders who have suffered over four decades of political marginalization and economic abuses from irresponsible leadership significantly or vicariously traceable to the North, there are still open socio-economic wounds to heal and blighted environment to deal with.
- Recently, the coalition of Northern leaders, academics, professionals and businessmen convened and derisively stated that financial resources available to the South-South States are far beyond their economic and environmental needs as well as executive capacities to manage. In particular, we note that the coalition's convener, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, is notoriously ignorant of material facts, arrogant and a deliberate instigator whose provocative and rambling statements exactly mirror what many Nigerians think of some Northern elites. Dr. Junaid Mohammed is notorious for blowing hot air. Consequently, joining issues with Northern Leaders position can become a distraction. But we are constrained to respond seeing some deliberate and troubling patterns of provocation by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Coalition of Northern Leaders, such patterns that can cause socio-political conflagrations and adversely affect the future of Nigeria if not contained.
- We call on that coalition to apologize to the governors and people of the South-South, warning that there is no longer any room to tolerate mischievous and slothful persons who have nothing to contribute to the Nigerian society but discord and resentment against the South-South people, classic victims of the Nigerian high wire ethno-politics. As Akwa Ibom citizens, we proudly assert that Gov. Godswill Akpabio's capacity for transformational leadership, showcasing an emerging culture of financial prudence and sound resource management, is largely responsible for making our State a national model for infrastructure development and fast economic growth. Ours is neither a bogus nor unverifiable claim; millions of Nigerians who regularly read newspapers or have visited the State recently can attest.
- Truth is that the present and past Northern leadership have never demonstrated intellectual or executive capacities to manage decades of political power, statutory allocations, mineral and human resources and translate them into sustainable development of the North. Incontrovertible records have that 80% ownership of oil blocs in the Niger Delta are traceable to Northern traditional rulers, business persons, and retired military officers. A vexing issue that must be resolved remains that the South-South owns the natural gas and crude oil reserves, yet few selfish elites hijack the lucrative oil blocs for themselves and run a racket to massively corrupt the entire oil sector. That is unacceptable! We call on the Federal Government to review all licenses with a view to sanitizing the sector, restoring the peoples' confidence, and protecting our commonwealth.
- Our positions are clear and our indignation is justified. For the record, we stand with the South-South governors' position demanding that both the revenue allocation formula and the 13% derivation formula should be reviewed upwards in favor of the South-South States, who are victims of ecological hazards. Our position also calls on the Federal Government to repeal the obnoxious law limiting 13% derivation to funds accruing from crude oil exploration above the 200 meters isobath. Additionally, we call on the South-South leadership and people to explore available legal options capable of making the Federal Government to adopt and implement the concept of true fiscal federalism.
- It is unfortunate that the national conversation about revising the revenue allocation formula and derivation principle is being driven down by desperado political elites who hardly have intellectual or leadership capacities to control the simmering and fast deteriorating North. Fabricating all kinds of lame excuses for decades of failed leadership, such excuses being disparity in revenue allocation and the 13% derivation fund to oil producing states, those Northern arrowheads are now looking to make scapegoats of South-South leadership and people.
- Truth is that only an upward review of both the 13% derivation fund and revenue allocation formula, in lieu of the adoption of true federalism complete with resource ownership and management rights, is acceptable to the South-South people. Let nobody remain under any illusion that an attempt to review downward or remove the derivation principle will mean well for the country.
- Truth also is that Northern elites now have a morbid fear of the future, being reminded daily of a largely illiterate and now restive monstrosity they helped create by outrageously neglecting to provide the talakawas with basic human needs while inordinately amassing personal wealth and political power. The Northern elites, who turned a blind eye on issues that led to the emergence of the terrorist group called Boko Haram, are neither creative nor resourceful enough to figure out ways against the looming anarchy in their land. Over the years, they have sowed in the wind of corruption and resource mismanagement. Now, they are reaping the whirl wind of organized terrorism, corrupt and visionless leadership in economically nonviable states engulfed in stinging poverty and a largely illiterate grassroot. Their feeble attempt to foist blame on the South-South leaders and people, rather than take responsibility for failures, will be spurned with briskness.
- Times have changed and other Nigerians now see through the Northern elites' desperation and inordinate addiction to resources from the South-South as means for survival. But, desperation must no longer be at the expense of the South-South leaders and people because all Nigerians are equal. Additionally, growing socio-political and economic indexes make the South-South a formidable force of stakeholders able to swing national opinion and stability away from any born-to-rule myth. It will be better for the Northern elites to wake up to the reality of a fast changing nation steadily coasting towards fiscal federalism.
- The Northern cabal can no longer count on dividing the South in order to manipulate and misappropriate the revenue that legitimately belongs to the Niger Delta to feed its ever increasing greedy appetite. The recurrent theme in the northern political shenanigans has always been that the more the revenue its leadership misappropriates, the more it asks for. Yet, they have nothing to show for it. The posturing of Dr. Junaid Mohammed and his co-travelers is a stratagem to divert the focus of the restive northern youths from the poor governance of their region. Northern youths must know the truth, and we will tell it as it is. There is no more hiding place for the cabal who has deprived the youths of their future.
- Mr. Clement Ikpatt, President
- Barr. Uduak Ukpeh, Secretary General
- Prof. Felix Edoho, VP Research
- Prof. Ekere Essien, VP Finance
- Ms. Mary Umoh, VP Communication