You’re wrong, crude oil belongs to Niger Delta, Adebanjo tells Obasanjo
Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Leader Ayo Adebanjo, has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was wrong to claim that oil in the Niger Delta belongs to Nigeria.
Recall that newspaper reports had quoted Obasanjo making the claim.
Also recall that when confronted through the media by some Niger Delta leaders on the matter, Obasanjo had replied by justifying why crude oil in the Niger Delta region belonged to Nigeria and not to the people of Niger Delta.
However, speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday and attended by Senator Femi Okurounmu, Supo Shonibare, Professor Ebun Sonaya, Tunde Onakoya, Lanre Anjolaiya, Abdullahi Inaolaji, Ms Nike Olujemibola, and the Afenifere spokesperson, Jare Ajayi, Adebanjo faulted Obasanjo’s position on the ownership of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
Adebanjo said: “I was shocked and highly disappointed that the General was quoting profusely from the constitution imposed on the country by the military. A constitution that has been described as fraudulent and rejected since its introduction.
“The attempt by Elder Statesman, Edwin Clark, to put the record straight was rebuffed in a statement by Arewa Consultative Forum, supporting the statement by General Obasanjo. Before the issue degenerates, therefore, into disputation between two respectable elder statesmen. I owe a duty to our founding fathers to throw some light on the historical constitutional evolution of the country to help us move Nigeria forward.
“With my recent interaction with Obasanjo, I can appreciate his passion for a united Nigeria. But a united Nigeria does not exist from his perspective and understanding only.
“Our colonial masters brought the various ethnic nationalities together through various constitutional reforms under a unitary form of government from 1914 to 1950 under the MacPherson Constitution, when Nigeria was divided into three regions, namely Northern Region, Western Region and Eastern Region. The MacPherson Constitution, which was supposed to last five years under a unitary system, collapsed in 1953, following a motion by the late Anthony Enahoro for self-government for Nigeria in 1956.
“The then Colonial secretary, Sir Oliver Lyttleton, later known as Lord Chandos, summoned the political leaders, our founding fathers – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo – to Lancaster House in London. It was at this conference that the defect in the MacPherson Unitary Constitution was dissected, and they settled for a Federal Constitution, which became operative in 1954, with the establishment of the three autonomous regions headed by a Premier each. The provision of this Federal Constitution, with some amendments, was incorporated in the 1960 and 1963 Independence Constitution. The residual powers in the constitution were reserved for the Federating autonomous regions.
“Revenue allocation was agreed to be on derivation which you now refer to as resource control with the payment of 50% (section 140, 1963 Constitution) to the region where the revenue was derived. It was a two-tier Federal system with the State government being co-ordinate and not subordinate to the Federal Government.
“This was the peaceful co-existence position of the Unity of the ethnic groups until 1966 when the military took over the government and abrogated the constitution agreed to by our founding fathers and set up the present 1999 constitution. The obnoxious provisions of this constitution have been the cause of instability in the country.
“When General Obasanjo asserts that the Niger Delta Resources is not owned by Niger Delta but Nigeria, is the General suggesting that God created the resources in Niger Delta when Nigeria came into existence in 1914, or it was there before the amalgamation?
“I will, therefore, passionately appeal to General Obasanjo to join hands with the other patriots to bring pressure to bear on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the change of the present fraudulent constitution by restructuring the present unitary constitution to the Federal system agreed to by our founding fathers before the 2023 elections to enable the nation to move forward peacefully in unity and progress.”