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Resolving the Niger Delta Question; True Federalism
May 14, 2016

Resolving the Niger Delta Question; True Federalism

The oil producing states of Nigeria have Ministry of Niger Delta, NDDC and 13% derivation. Yet the Niger Delta people have remained poor, their infrastructures remain insufficient and their economic progress can be described as stagnant. Their cities and villages have no electricity, there are little industries, little jobs and worst still, their future has remained uncertain, just like the rest of the country. What could be the cause?

First, oil producing communities do not need Ministry of Niger Delta, NDDC, 13% derivation or even the PIB! These are all unitary-military ‘feeding bottle’ institutions designed to favor the elites of the Niger Delta. These institutions have no relationship with the local communities. Right from the top, these institutions assume for the communities what they need, award the bloated contracts, execute the substandard projects and then demand for more money from Abuja. The jetty NDDC built for my community is useless to the community both during the rainy season and the dry season. The water projects are poorly planned that it cannot serve more 3% of the community and the water is as dirty as the lake water. Most of their projects follow the same pattern. These institutions actually do not exist for the poor people who are suppose to be the real owners of the institutions. They exist for the elites, they exist as settlement institutions for political loyalists. They exist for the purpose of awarding contracts without solving problems with the contracts.

13% derivation is controlled by the state governments (governors). The states governors are the mini-military rulers of their domain. They are unitarist in nature and they are the thieves and oppressors at the state level. They reflect the Abuja version of unitary-military central command at the state level. They decide which community should get a water project, why and when. They are oppresors and their powers also need to be devolved.

The Federal Government should therefore stop creating all these elitist institutions and assuming that it is doing the oil communities a favour. Nigeria is a skewed and corrupt state, every institution created by Nigeria under the present system will become skewed and corrupt. All the existing federal and state institutions are not serving the interest of the local communities. They are serving the interest of political elites.

During the reign of Goodluck Jonathan, NDDC was like a personal company of his wife and his PDP political associates. Today, NDDC is now like a personal company of Rotimi Amaechi and his APC political associates. This trend will not change as long as we continue to practice this skewed, corrupt, unitary ‘feeding bottle’ federalism.

What then is the solution? Its quite simple.

Give back the land and the resources to the communities (not state), allow the communities run a democratic government at the community level and also allow the communities to have fiscal responsibilities. The govt should remain as a regulator and finally the govts should gets its share of the resources by imposing high taxes on the profit of the exploration. The communities should have a sense of ownership so they can no longer hold the govt responsible for their underdevelopment. This is how it is done in other parts of the the world. The FG should repeal the land use act and give back the land and the resources to the rightful owners. You cannot alienate a people from their resources and not expect them not to revolt.

NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta, 13% derivation and even the PIB are all unnecessary. These are all criminal institutions designed to settle the political elites while the local people suffer. Giving these institutions more money is like giving our present states and LGAs more money. Its a waste. These institutions are not accountable to the people. They are top-bottom institutions. Nigeria needs bottom-top institutions.



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