…Adjourns Till August 4
…South/South Delegate Cries Foul
By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The hope of South- South delegates to secure an increase in derivation formula was dashed Monday as the National Conference ended its plenary session in Abuja retaining the existing 13 percent derivation principle.
The Conference however proposed that President Goodluck Jonathan should set up a technical Committee to look into appropriate percentage for oil producing states and setting up Special Intervention funds to address issues of reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by insurgency and internal conflicts.
It would be recalled that debates on the proposed new derivation principle created sharp division between South and North, with the former asking for increase in the derivation principle while the latter pushing for status quo to be maintained, a development which forced the conference to adjourned abruptly twice.
As soon as the Conference resumed on Monday, Justice Kutigi said: “I’m still of the view that the Committee that is handling the matter of coming to a compromise will still do their job.
“We couldn’t have the meeting on Friday. So, I am proposing that we give them two hours to meet with us.” He then invited the “Fifty Wise Men, Committees Co-chairmen, Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen to meet now in our usual place.”
Immediately after the meeting, Conference chairman who conveyed the decision of the leaders to delegates at resumption of plenary said the consensus group recommended that President Goodluck Jonathan should set up technical committee that will decide on appropriate percentage for oil producing states and areas destroyed by insurgency in the country.
Although some delegates kicked against the decision lamenting the irreconcilable positions of the delegates from both sides, majority of them agreed that the decision was not just a compromise position but a reasonable one in view of the technical nature of the revenue allocation infrastructure.
Ann kio Briggs while speaking expressed dissatisfaction with the resolution of the Conference, saying, it failed to address the problem of Niger Delta people who have clamoring for increase in derivation to oil producing states.
Also, the former governor of Ogun state, Mr. Olusegun Osoba said that a technical committee would be in best position to determine the exact percentage of derivation that will go to oil producing states in the country.
Osoba added that the recommendations of the conference if implemented will go along way in developing this country.
The Chairman while announcing that the ending of the Conference said that the conference will reconvene for adoption of the reports on August 4.
The Resolution reached at the meeting of the leaders and principal officers of the Conference reads thus:
Having critically examined the issues in contention, Conference recognizes the need to:
a) Review the percentage of revenue to states producing oil (and other resources)
b) Reconstruct and rehabilitate areas affected by problems of insurgency and internal conflicts; and
c) Diversify the Nigerian economy by fast tracking the development of the solid minerals sector;
The Conference also notes that assigning percentages for the increase in derivation principle, and setting up Special Intervention funds to address issues of reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by insurgency and internal conflicts as well as solid minerals development, require some technical details and considerations.
Conference therefore recommends that Government should set up Technical Committee to determine the appropriate percentages on the three issues and advise government accordingly.