This Day (Lagos)

14 December 2012

Nigeria: Akpabio Warns Against Reintroducing Onshore/Offshore Laws

Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has warned that the plan to reintroduce the onshore and offshore oil laws in the country will break Nigeria, stating that the law is obnoxious, outdated and can cause hatred within the country.

Also, the former national Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okwesileze Nwodo, has blamed godfatherism and imposition of candidates as the reason most governors and elected public office holders are not performing in office, just as the party's National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, said the era of imposition of candidates during elections in the party's primary election was over.

Both Akpabio and Nwodo spoke Thursday in Uyo, during a PDP retreat on capacity-building for zonal and state publicity secretaries and organisation staff of the party.

Speaking on the issue, Akpabio said: "The planned re-introduction of the on and off shore laws is an evil wind that will not blow the country any good. The 19 Northern states are using the opportunity of the constitution review to champion the cause for the abrogation of the on and off shore oil laws that were abolished in Nigeria during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Northern governors have gone to the extent of setting up a committee of state attorneys-general to come up with a bill that would be sent to National Assembly."

According to him, "the planned re-introduction of the off and on shore laws will introduce a heightened vandalism of oil pipelines and militancy as well as hatred. I don't know why we should be contemplating the introduction of laws that will divide us as Nigerians."

The governor said: "Nigeria is blessed with numerous natural resources", citing the example of Australia that was dependent on mining, asking why states like Nasarawa State that is blessed with natural resources will not concentrate in the development of its natural resources.

"Every state has something in its soil. This is the time to do something. What we are looking for in Sokoto is indeed in our shokoto," he said.

He also reiterated the call by the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) for an amendment of the revenue sharing formula, explaining that the current revenue sharing arrangement was not in the favour of states to ensure developments in their respective states.

On his part, Nwodo said: "The only true way a party can produce its best for party leadership or candidates for general election is by the practice of robust internal democracy. Leadership produced by this practice has social contract with the people. In their conscience, they know they have promises which they must try to fulfil. They know that they need to go back to the people to renew their mandate."

In his address at the retreat, Tukur said: "One thing that we are not ready to compromise is our stake on internal democracy and that we are not ready going to yield any ground in our determination to ensure that fairness guides our internal party practices... permit to repeat, as I have said at some other occasions, that the era of imposition of candidates is over... That the era of parallel lists of congresses is also over.

"I wish to state further that the era where the wishes of the people are whimsically annulled as far as our leadership of the PDP is concerned is far gone forever."

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