The leader of the Pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has joined issues with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the debate on resource control.
Recall that Obasanjo had said that crude oil found in the South-South region and other mineral resources found in other parts of the country belongs to the Federal Government.
Speaking at a peace and security meeting convened by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa recently in Abuja, Obasanjo said crude oil in the Niger Delta does not belong to the zone.
Reacting to Obasanjo’s comment, leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark, disagreed with the former president, saying that the crude oil in the NigerDelta belongs to the region.
The PANDEF leader accused Obasanjo of showing hatred for the people of the Niger Delta for making such a statement.
But in a letter to the elder statesman, the former president said he does not hate Niger Delta, insisting that the crude oil or any mineral resources found in the area belongs to the government.
Speaking on the matter during a press conference on Wednesday in Lagos, Adebanjo countered Obasanjo’s claim, saying the Niger Delta owns the oil in the region.
The Afenifere leader described Obasanjo’s comment as provocative and mischievous, asking the former president to support the call for restructuring.
He recalled that there was peaceful co-existence among ethnic groups in Nigeria 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.”
Adebanjo said: “Nigeria does not own Niger Delta resources and the nation can only thrive if a change is made to the 1999 Constitution.”
“With my recent interaction with Gen. Obasanjo, I can appreciate his passion for a united Nigeria. But a united Nigeria does not exist from his perspective or understanding only.”
He added: “The provision of this Federal Constitution with some amendments was incorporated in the 1960 and 1963 independence Constitution. The residual powers in the Constitution are 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 per cent (Section 140, 1963 Constitution) to the region where the revenue was derived.”