By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Co-Chairman of the National Conference Committee on Power Devolution, Obong Victor Attah today implored delegates from the North and South to leave their extreme positions on the issue of resource control in the interest of peaceful coexistence of every region in Nigeria.
The former Akwa-Ibom governor who gave the charge at the commencement of the committee sitting said the seeming grandstanding by delegates of the North on resource control does not show a fair appreciation of the challenges those in the oil producing areas face.
He dismissed the arguments of some delegates that the South South had the highest per capita income among the six zones, stating that there was no guarantee that such statistics would remain in perpetuity given the depleting nature of oil revenue.
He said that there were evidences which showed that every region had resources that could be developed for the benefit of the people and the country. He however wondered why the solid minerals in the North and bitumen in the South West have been left lying fallow.
“Let me say that the people of the Niger Delta are very conscious of this and indeed this has been their greatest fear. Time will come when the oil will dry up completely, then what will happen to the people of the Niger Delta? No farmlands and no fishing in the polluted waters,” Attah said.
“But that is not the only fear. When the time comes, everybody will laugh at us, bid us goodbye and tell us that there is no more Nigeria and they will go home and enjoy their own resources. These fears must be allayed and assurances must be given. We must negotiate and reach a consensus,”