Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
True Federalism, Resource Control And The North
Itse E. Sagay
culled from VANGUARD, June 23, 2005
The Northern position regarding True Federalism and Resource Control has undergone an unbelievable and monumental somersault since petroleum became a major source of income to Nigeria. Prior to independence in 1960 and the emergence of petroleum as the mainstay of our economy, the northern elite only accepted conditions amounting to confederalism rather than federalism for associating with South as one country.
When a constitutional crisis erupted in 1953 over the Southern demand for immediate independence for Nigeria, the minimum demands of the North for continuing to remain as a part of Nigeria were:
*“Each region shall have complete legislative and executive autonomy with respect to all matters except the following: defence, external affairs, customs and West African research institutions.
*That there shall be no central legislative body
and no central executive or policy making body for the whole of Nigeria.
*The Central Agency shall be at a neutral place,
*The services of the railway, air services, posts and telegraphs, electricity and coal mining shall be organized on an inter-Regional basis and shall be administered by public corporations.
These corporations shall be independent bodies covered by the statute under which they are created. The Board of the Coal Corporation shall be composed of experts with a minority Representation of the Regional government.
*All revenue shall be levied and collected by the Regional government except customs revenue at the port of discharge by the Central Agency. The administration of the customs shall be so organized as to assure that goods consigned to the Region are separately cleared and charged to duty.
*Each Region shall have a separate public service.” (See Daily Times, Friday May 22, 1953, pp1&3. Copy reproduced below on this page.)
The only explanation for the extra-ordinary u-turn of the North in favour of a strong, almost unitary constitution, in which the Federal Government owns everything including the mineral resources in my backyard, (and we all know that Federal Government means the Arewa North) is what Professor Omafume Onoge has aptly described as “Niger Delta's Oil and Gas proceeds cupidity”.
This obsessive love for the proceeds of the
Niger Delta's Oil and Gas proceeds has to be curbed and strongly restrained.
It is now time all the states in this country looked inwards to their own resources for self-sustenance. Otherwise, not only shall Nigeria continue to practice distorted federalism, our development will remain stunted.
In any case, the burden of carrying other states on its back has become too much for the Niger Delta, and we must return to federalism before the Niger Delta Camel's back is broken.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.