By Akanimo Sampson
IN pursuit of their political quest for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Nigeria, the Oil Governors of Southern Nigeria have tactically started to shop for a presidential candidate who will seriously address the country’s problematic national question and free the federating units from excessive central control.
They have also roundly rejected the Executive Bill on the management of waterways President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly transmitted to the National Assembly for legislative action.
Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, said in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after their meeting on Wednesday that they were working with like-minded Nigerians to reshape the country.
According to the oil governors, ‘’everyone is aware of the ongoing clamour for devolution and a return to essential founding principle of this great country. We, in our meeting resolved as we have been speaking over sometime that we associate fully with the clamour for restructuring, for the clamour for true federalism and for the clamour for devolution of powers that are so concentrated at the centre to the federating units.
‘’We have agreed to support ongoing moves in that direction by working with like-minded Nigerians who mean well for the country so that we can all have a stable, prosperous and peaceful nation’’.
The governors are also demanding for 13percent derivation from the Federal Government on the $1.00 billion to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to fund national security matters.
Dickson said the governors resolved to officially communicate to the appropriate authorities for the constitutional provision of 13 percent derivation to be applied and respected.
In attendance at the meeting were: Bayelsa State Governor, Rt Hon Seriake Dickson, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt Hon Philip Shaibu.
According to the Bayelsa governor, ‘’we took the collective view that with respect to the Federal Government’s effort to withdraw $1.00 billion for national security, our position in this zone is in line with the constitutional provision on derivation.
‘’While we have no objection to the Federal Government spending money on security, including security of this zone, we believe the constitutional provision on 13percent derivation be applied and fully respected.
‘’We will communicate that to the appropriate authorities so that whatever amount that is withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account, being proceed of crude oil sale is subject to the 13 percent principle enshrined in the constitution. ‘’
On the Executive Bill forwarded to the National Assembly, wherein the Federal Government seeks to control the management of waterways, they want it withdrawn. ‘’We also agreed that the bill currently making rounds in the National Assembly which we understand is an Executive Bill on management of water resources. We are of the view that the provisions of the bill are offensive and obnoxious.
‘’We disagree with the centralised control of water resources as we are already dealing with the problem associated with over centralisation of our country and we have agreed that the bill should be immediately withdrawn by the Federal Government and further consultations be made on that’’, the governors said.
At the meeting were: Dickson, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, and that of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel. While Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State was not there, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu was in attendance.