Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State should be a bit more patriotic and should have a national outlook to the problems of Nigeria instead of raising issues that can cause disharmony, his Rivers State counterpart Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said in Abuja yesterday. He was responding to yesterday’s lead story in Daily Trust in which Kwankwaso called for a return to offshore/onshore dichotomy in the calculation of derivation funds.
Governor Amaechi spoke when he received a Media Trust Limited delegation led by the managing director Alhaji Isiaq Ajibola. Referring to Governor Kwankwaso’s call, he said, “I don’t agree with what he said. I don’t. He should look at the nation more than he is looking at Kano.” He added, “How will he do it? You need to amend the constitution for which you need 24 state assemblies. You must be able to convince the other side. I don’t think we should do anything that is not in the interest of the country’s unity. When the Niger Delta militancy was on, we were producing 960,000 bpd of oil. We are now producing 2.7m bpd, so if you do something to incite people and they go and stop people from doing their work then it will not be good for the country.”
Governor Amaechi also said “the Boko Haram problem whether the Federal Government likes it or not, unless we all come together and address the poverty in the North—I am not saying there is no poverty in the South—it will be very challenging not to have Boko Haram. Those who are committing suicide bombing, it is because they have no hope. The greatest thing a man can lose in life after God is to lose hope. If there is hope you can strive on, hoping that tomorrow will be better. So when a man commits suicide, he has lost hope and there is no basis to live. These children that are committing suicide are 18 to 21 years. Since they were born they didn’t see light, they didn’t see school, they didn’t see enough food to eat, they didn’t see water, they didn’t see anything. They have no hope of driving a car and they see people driving cars here and there and building mansions. These children are seeing them, and they think even in the next 21 years there will be nothing, so when somebody approaches them they go and commit suicide.”
He said “we must address poverty in the North just like we must not take those who produce the resources for granted. Equity should be the proper word.” Reminded that Kwankwaso may be expressing frustration with heavily lopsided Federation Account allocation to states, Amaechi said, “Does he realize that 80% of our agricultural production is gone? The oil that we produce, whether in water or on land, has damaged economic activities in our states. The only economic activities you see is oil companies. UNEP said it will cost $1 billion to clean Ogoni land alone. So imagine if you are trying to clean all the Niger Delta villages. There is oil production in every local government in Rivers State, so you can imagine the damage to the environment.”
He also said, “What about the fact that we must govern in such a way that the oil production is not stopped at all? Because we experienced it before. If not because of the Excess Crude Account, 2009 would have been a disastrous year for this country because oil prices came down to $39 and the production was 960,000 bpd. If not because the savings in excess crude augmented the allocations, we would have felt it very badly.”
He added that “we must not finish Niger Delta militancy and go to Boko Haram, then when we finish Boko Haram we go back again to Niger Delta militancy. Nigeria can’t afford that. We must govern such that every interest is protected. I sympathise with my colleagues that they want more money. But our focus must not be on offshore/onshore but on the proper revenue formula.”Daily Trust