By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Asaba
FORMER National Chairman, Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, HM Charles Ayemi-Botu, said President Muhammadu Buhari was amused at stakeholders asking him to restructure the country because doing so will allegedly make him lose the political power to manage oil resources in Niger Delta.
HM Ayemi-Botu, who is the Pere of Seimbiri Kingdom, Delta State, told Vanguard on phone: “The people of the South-South and other geo-political regions in the country are calling for restructuring, arguing they want true federalism and control of their resources, but President Muhammadu Buhari is sitting there in Abuja laughing at them because he is busy managing their resources, while they are shouting they want to control.”
“He knows that without political power, you cannot manage resources, so he has left them to continue shouting restructuring while he manages the resources. You can call from now till he finishes his tenure, Buhari is not ready to listen, he is building in the periphery of Nigeria in Niger a gas pipeline and a refinery in Katsina state. He is also building a rail line from Kano to Niger, where is the money coming from?
“We do not even have a network of federal road linking the oil-producing communities, like from Akwa Ibom to Rivers to Delta and Edo states. The rail line from Cross River to Lagos rail line is a fluke. I can tell you that restructuring of the country will not happen under Buhari because he wants to continue to control of Niger Delta resources.
“If we restructure, where he is going to get the money to do what he is doing, we should forget about restructuring because he is laughing at anybody, saying where they expect him to get money to do airport and refinery in Katsina. Look at the AKK, the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project, where is the source of the raw material, imagine over 24 million or billion dollars to do the project and we are taking loans to do these things, yet the source of getting the money is Niger Delta
“And when a God-fearing and patriotic man Rev like Kukah speaks, they want to crucify him. Nigerians should wake up and stop keeping silent when their collective destiny is at stake.
“There is no truth in Nigeria, if you are an APC man, whatever Buhari is doing, you condone it. The restructuring will never be accepted by people of the North because when it was agro-economy, the principle of derivation was 50-50 ratio but now that it is petrodollar, black gold, that good for the goose is no longer good for the gander
“Even the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been hijacked by the Federal Government and the 13 per cent is stagnant. There is a great disparity between agronomy and crude oil because those who have political power use it muscle the economy of this country and it has become a winner takes all.
“We are talking about Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, do you know that that somebody appointed Akpabio, The truth is that Presidency is neck-deep in the hijack of NDDC and he (Akpabio) is only used as cannon fodder. Formerly, it was the Secretary to the Federal Government, SFG, which NDDC reports to, now it has changed.
“Buhari cannot in any way wash his hands off what is happening in Niger Delta, he is using political power to control economic (resource) power of Niger Delta,” he asserted.