Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday called on Northern Governors to drop their demand for a reversal of the settled issue of onshore/offshore oil dichotomy, saying that it would spell trouble for the country.
The governor stated this in his address at a meeting of the reinvigorated South-South Peoples Assembly, SSPA, in Warri, just as South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, called on South-South governors to tackle their northern counterparts, who had been pouring all kinds of vituperations on the region.
Uduaghan said he had noticed a subtle attempt by some leaders to repudiate the political solution that was brokered on the onshore/offshore dichotomy with the intention that if they succeed, they would demand the reduction of 13 per cent derivation to oil-producing states.
He said he was aghast as to why some people were bent on stoking fire when the tension and crisis generated by the issues that led to 13 per cent derivation and accord on the current onshore/offshore dichotomy were still too fresh to be re-opened.
His words: “I worry when some leaders overlook the obligation placed upon them in not applying restraint in the position they take, such as on this issue of derivation. I say so because, the tension and crisis over derivation, in particular over on-shore/off-shore dichotomy, is too recent in our collective memory to be reopened by anyone for debate.
“The fear in many quarters is that if they succeed in reopening and reversing this settled issue, then we can be sure that before long they will ask for reduction of 13 percent derivation. I say to all those agitating for reversal of onshore/offshore dichotomy to drop it. Drop it because it is a move that will do the country no good”.
According to him, the South South was asking for a return to the first principle of derivation, which was 50 per cent as was the case in the first Republic. He therefore charged SSPA and the people of the region not to relent in the demand for 50 per cent derivation.
Speaking, Chief Clark noted that the 19 Northern governors under the auspices of the Northern Governors Forum “recently attacked the six governors of the zone, accusing them of corruption, ineptitude and incompetence in the supposed huge sums of money that they collect form the Federation Account for the benefit of their people, while they, the northerners receive a paltry sum.
“They have called for the abrogation of the 2004 Act, which abolished the onshore-offshore dichotomy, castigating their legislators for their earlier support of the Bill, they now want a restoration of the Supreme Court judgment of 2002″.
“They believe that the insurgence of Boko Haram is as a result of the 13 per cent derivation being received by oil producing states of the country. Sections of the press have joined in instigating hatred against President Goodluck Jonathan, as a result of him being a minority person form the South-South with no right to be there at all”, he asserted.
He asked the South-South governors to reply their northern colleagues, as they were becoming very arrogant and provocative in their comments, saying what while he was not holding brief for Dr. Jonathan, he should be given credit in areas where he has excelled.
“I want to implore the SSPA at this juncture to urgently intervene in the current disagreement between Cross-River and Akwa-Ibom states over oil wells before it degenerates further”, he added.