Keyamo lends voice to Niger Delta ‘resource control’ agitation
By Jonathan Asikason
The minister of state, Labour and Employment, Festus Kayemo, has lend his voice to the calls for restructuring and a review of the country’s revenue allocation formula manifestly seen in the renewed agitation for resource control.
This admonition came against the backdrop of federal government’s indifference to the brewing protest of many Nigerians that Zamfara cannot be allowed to mine and manage gold and other solid minerals in its domains, while Niger Delta states are restricted to do same.
Speaking at the parley with South/South governors and stakeholders early this week, Festus Keyamo said: “It’s not because we are here today, we will come back home tomorrow and any Niger Delta son that does not support resource control and fiscal federalism is a bastard of the region”
The minister added: “So, we support restructuring, but I must caution that it must be a collective effort, do not think that it is the fault from this government, it has always been there; our son was president, a southerner was president as a Yoruba man. Luckily, for us, the deputy senate president is the chairman of the constitutional review committee, let us take our demands there; let’s go and fight our case there. Nobody should fall for the narrative that it is President Muhammadu Buhari that caused the problem why they have not amended the constitution. Let’s take all our demands there and let us go and fight it there.”
Orient Weekend reported that South-South leaders made a seven-point demand from the federal government, which included the relocation of the headquarters of all subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the region.
Presenting the regions seven-point demand during the parlay, the chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and Governor of Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa stated: “For us in the South-South, the #ENDSARS protest is a metaphor of almost all that is wrong with us, our refusal to properly understand issues, and imbibe and entrench the virtues of justice, fairness and equity.
“The previous system of true federalism was jettisoned and it created a powerful center controlling and distributing all the resources unevenly. There was now a strong desire to restructure the country in order to guarantee peace, security, stability and progress of the nation.
“The region demands true federalism and devolution of powers to the states, including creating and managing their own police and security architecture, true fiscal federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each state,” Gov. Okowa said.
In the meantime, many Nigerians have taken to Twitter to react over Minister Kayemo’s comment. Seyi observed that “Resource control and true fiscal federalism is key but I am yet to see any south south son demand for resource utilization as little as it seems they collect.
Peter Chukwudi noted the insincerity of the minister. “You will still go back to help your pay master to frustrate every plan put in place to achieve the said objective.”
Black Tega was hopeful that the actions of South-South leaders will be fruitful. “Thank God that the south-south leaders have waken up from their slumber. Chief James Ibori and Late DSP Alameisegha were victimised because of resource control struggle and nobody supported them.”
Oluwatimilehin Kolade in his tweet doubted the possibility of the minister walking his talk.
“It is one thing to state the obvious on social media it is another to walk the talk. You should promote the interest of the people even if it will bring your loyalty to question. Your ultimate loyalty should be to the people not your political party or the godfathers.”