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Okunnu, Attah flay Obasanjo over resource control, true federalism

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Femi Okunnu

A former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Femi Okunnu, has blamed ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for the inability to achieve resource control and true federalism in the country.Joining in the blame was a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah.

Okunnu flayed Obasanjo for solely midwifing the 1979 Constitution, which destroyed true federalism and turned Nigeria into a unitary state, even though the country had rejected it in the past.On his part, Attah expressed discontentment over the way Obasanjo fought against the recourse control, adding that the ex-president also vilified him for being the initiator of the idea.

Okunnu and Attah spoke yesterday at a book launch of the former governor titled: “Attah on Resource Control (Revised).” Veteran journalist, Dele Sobowale, edited the book.

The former commissioner, who was the chairman of the occasion, urged Obasanjo to stop parading himself as a democrat, as the current crises in Nigeria are traceable to the flawed1979 Constitution.He said before then, the system gave the producing states 50 per cent of their resources, while the remaining 50 per cent was shared between the centre and the federating units.

“This was what was enshrined in the 1963 Republican Constitution, which the 1978 Constituent Assembly recommended, but was rejected by Obasanjo. “Nigeria ceased to be a federation in 1979 and it wouldn’t be out of contest to say that Obasanjo’s military regime truncated true federalism. He has been a problem to Nigeria and not a solution.”
He said under the military regime of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, both the late Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia of Midwest and Commander Rufus Diette-Spiff of Rivers State enjoyed 50 per cent derivation from oil revenue throughout their time.

Attah said if Obasanjo had been a democrat, Nigeria would not have been where it is today, saying that the former president didn’t only opposed the concept of resource control, but also brought back the out-dated concept of dichotomy.

Attah said resource control is not just for the Niger Delta: “It is beneficial to the entire country. We must establish true federalism by restructuring Nigeria; we must discuss resource control in the context of true federalism and that is the only way that the country can make progress.”Supporting, former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, said agitations for resource control would not end.

He said: “What had been settled was the offshore/onshore political solution. Every single person in the Niger Delta supports the advocacy for resource control. Even today, we are holding onto the idea that one day, there would be paradise.”

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