By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
Northern delegates at the on-going National Conference have said the failure of leadership at all levels in the country is to blame for Nigeria’s problems, not the lack of resource control.
The spokesman of the Northern Delegates Forum, Anthony N.Z. Sani said that what was required of Nigerians is to make judicious use of their democratic rights and ensure that their votes count ,so that the ensuing leaders at all levels will be accountable and strive to deliver on the promise of democracy, because according to him, feckless leaders are often elected by those voters who do not turn out and vote.
“That the economy of Nigeria is not diversified today is not due to lack of resource control but due to cheap oil money which drives away productive money, and that is why the groundnut pyramid and textiles industries have collapsed in the North and the South which gave Malaysia the palm oil seedlings is nowhere near Malaysia in production and export of palm oil.”
He debunked the argument that resource control had made non-oil producing states not to be viable, noting that apart from Lagos state, no other state of the federation pays salaries without federal allocations.
“I do not believe only northern delegates are against resource control. Most delegates do not subscribe to resource control. And there are reasons for this:
First, resource control goes against the concept of nationhood, which presupposes that the people come together and helped to unlock their synergistic potential for the good of all,” said Sani.
He argued that allowing constituent parts of the country to develop at their own pace goes against the universal notion that wide gaps in incomes or wide inequality among groups in a country is manifestation of imperfections in leadership.
Said Sani: “Resource Control would make Nigerians live as if they are in different continents. What is more, for constituent parts to control their resources and pay taxes to the central government will tilt the country to confederation with a weak centre, with dire consequences for the unity and oneness of the country.”
It is because of this, he explained that solid minerals, oil field and natural gas had been in the exclusive list in 1960, 1963, 1979, and 1999 constitutions.
Sani noted that while oil producing states were pushing for resource control, even oil producing communities in these states were hankering that their own share of money for derivation be given to them directly because their state governments short change them when they use derivation for construction of fly overs, five star hotels and airports in the state capitals to their detriment, thus asking the question: “How far down can resource control go?”
After days of back and forth by members of the National conference’s committee on devolution of power, they rejected resource control by states last Wednesday.