The governors and federal lawmakers of the South-West geopolitical zone have resolved to tender a common position on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Electoral Act amendment bill and the review of the nation’s constitution.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the governors with Senators and members of the House of Representatives from their region on Tuesday night at Imo Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the South West governors and the lawmakers’ position on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law aligns with that of the Southern Governors’ Forum which rejected the proposed three per cent by the Senate and supported five per cent share of the oil revenue to the host communities as recommended by the House of Representatives.
The two chambers of the National Assembly had last Thursday passed the PIB, with the Senate approving three per cent and the House of Representatives settling for five per cent of Operating Expenditure granted to the host communities and 30 per cent provision for the Frontier Exploration Fund.
The southern governors also rejected the proposed 30 per cent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the meeting, which commenced at 8:11pm and ended at 10:15pm on Tuesday, the governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the meeting agreed to set up a committee comprising caucus leaders from both chambers of the National Assembly and commissioners of Justice in all South West states to further harmonise the positions of the region on the issues.
Akeredolu who presided over the meeting said they also resolved to present their position as and when necessary to the National Assembly.
He stated: “We met today to discuss so many areas of interest, but most importantly the meeting today deliberated on constitution amendment. We have resolved that we will present a common position as regards the amendment of the constitution.
“In order to achieve it, this meeting has set up a committee. The committee is made up of distinguished Senators led by the caucus chairman, members of the House of Representatives made up of the caucus chairman and Attorneys-general of the South West states.
“The committee will harmonise our position and present it as and when necessary to the two Houses.”
He added that the goal is to ensure that the South West’s input is incorporated in the amendments by the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the national coordinator of the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Comrade Mulade Sheriff, has said the reasons behind the struggle for self-determination by Ijaws are that ljaw areas which are the economic base of Nigeria are deliberately deprived and neglected educationally, politically, economically and otherwise.
He noted that the typical ljaw man is not really interested in self-determination if not for the attitude of the Nigerian State towards the peace-loving Ijaw people.
The Gbaramatu traditional chief in Warri South West local government area of Delta State regretted that Ijaw is deliberately being balkanized and its people scattered in various states of the country, making it a minority tribe.
The peace ambassador said, “Despite the fact that we are the fourth largest ethnic group, we have become a minority in Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Ondo, except Bayelsa State.
“It’s often said that freedom is not freely given to the oppressed by the oppressor except demanded by the oppressed.”