Acting leader of the pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has faulted the assertion by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that oil in the Niger-Delta belongs to Nigeria, saying rather, the resources belong to the people of the region.
The elder statesman also wondered if the former president was suggesting that God created the resources in Niger Delta when Nigeria came into existence in 1914, or if it was there before the amalgamation.
Obasanjo had said in a newspaper report that oil in the Niger Delta belonged to Nigeria and attempts by Chief Edwin Clark to put the record straight were rebuffed by a statement by Areas Consultative Forum (ACF) supporting the position of the former president.
Chief Adebanjo gave this position on Wednesday at a press conference which took place at his Lagos residence and attended by other leaders of Afenifere, including Senator Femi Okurounmu, Chief Supo Shonibare, Professor Ebun Sonaya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Chief Lanre Anjolaiya, Alhaji Abdullahi Adebayo Inaolaji, Ms Nike Olujemibola and Jare Ajayi, the Afenifere spokesperson.
The Afenifere leader cited the 1960 and 1963 constitutions which touched on the revenue allocation and is now referred to as resource control, saying that the 1963 Constitution allowed for payment of 50 per cent in Section 140, to the region where the revenue was derived.
“It was a two-tier federal system with the state government being coordinated and not subordinate to the Federal Government,” Adebanjo said.
“This was the peaceful coexistence 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,” added.
The elder statesman, who maintained that the country needed to be restructured ahead of the 2023 elections, appealed to former President Obasanjo to join hands with 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 of 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.”