Senator Okon condemns calls for review of 13% to 8%

Pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Anietie Okon has described the call for a downward review of allocations to oil producing States from 13 percent to 8 percent as destructive and shameful.

This was contained in a statement signed by him and made available to Journalists in Uyo yesterday in reaction to the the demand of some northern elements particularly the Kano State Government during the Public Hearing organised by House of Representatives Committee on Review of the 1999 constitutition.

According to him, the relevant dialogue should be the adoption of a true federal system which would address the absence of true fiscal federalism and the relegation to pseudo federalism where states and local governments are financially dependent on Federal allocations.

He stressed that the dialogue should ensure creation of equal opportunities for states to explore and exploit resources in their territories with retention of at least 50 per cent from the proceeds of the revenue from such economic ventures as a solution to the vertical revenue imbalance, where the federal government appropriates more than its fair share from the Federation Accounts.

“The decision by the National Assembly to consider the desperate efforts and heinous demands of some Northern elements for a downward review of allocations to oil producing States from 13 percent to 8percent, is shameful and not acceptable in the practice of democracy nor a panacea for the myriad of issues plaguing Nigerians and Nigeria as a whole.

“Reductions in allocation to concerned states will kill the economy and sustainable existence of oil producing states, as well as development and capacity building initiatives in the Niger Delta, amidst the specter of environmental degradation and devastation poverty, impunity and under-investment an explication of the “paradox of plenty.

“This demand is not progressive nor complementary to positive results, but destructive, odious, and punitive. This agenda undermines the existence of federalism in Nigeria and puts Nigeria under the halo of a failed state as institutions and conventions are opposed and subverted in the regulation of various levels of interaction.

“This parasitic existence feeds inequality which fuels the sentiments of secession amongst federating units (states) as the federal government continues to illicitly usurp and empower itself from the resources of States creating an absence of distributive justice and democratic dividends”.

Okon attributed the recurrence of the argument on revenue allocation in the country to greed and lack of circumspection exhibited by certain elements who have historically presented themselves as meddlesome oppressors living and breathing inequality, hostility with the alarming desire to control and crudely dictate every aspect of existence in the country.

He warned that if states were not allowed the use of available resources which abound in their territories to explore, develop and invest in revenue generating operations to diversify their economy and reduce dependence on oil , it would lead to adverse consequences for the country.

“The nefariousness of this objection is a threat to the sovereign wealth of Nigeria and a clear indication of failure on the path of the federal government and the states who have their claws stretching for the assets of the Niger Delta as regards the effective and efficient management of resources.

“This has resulted in a continuous flounder and free fall of the economy evident in the diminishing and debilitated value of our currency, hyper-inflation, the exodus of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), thus rendering the break-even analysis negative for economic ventures in Nigeria”, he stressed.

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