This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Tambuwal - North Will Not Develop Unless the Reckless Killings Stop

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has said unless there is an end to the reckless killing of innocent people in the North, the region cannot develop an economy that can withstand the loss of oil revenue.

Speaking at the inauguration of the newly-elected officials of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday in Kaduna, Tambuwal said the glorious days of oil were over and it would be naive for anyone in the country to depend on oil.

According to him, the world is gradually divesting itself from the influence of oil as a commodity and finding alternatives to petroleum, pointing out that the time had come for the North to pay serious attention to the agricultural sector.

"The truth is that the glorious days of oil are over and they will never come again. The world has moved on and we must move with it. It is naïve for anyone in this country to continue to think of the 'game plan' in terms of depending on the power of oil to sway all other considerations, or to look at issues solely from the stand point of the making and sharing of oil revenues. The issues are now larger.

"60 years since the first oil rig was drilled at Oloibiri in 1953, the time has come for the North to take back its leadership of the Nigerian economy. I believe that with the right commitment, focus and hard work, we can do it again," he said.

According to him, years of massive oil revenue had made northerners intellectually lazy, reduced the place of hard work, compromised morals and caused more troubles in the region.

"The truth is that the glorious days of oil are over and they will never come again. The world has moved on and we must move with it. It is naïve for anyone in this country to continue to think of the 'game plan' in terms of depending on the power of oil to sway all other considerations, or to look at issues solely from the stand point of the making and sharing of oil revenues. The issues are now larger.

"I know that a future without oil which provides most of our external earnings is not a future to be contemplated lightly. I know that as things stand right now, without the money from the Federation Account, most of it derived from oil, practically every state in Nigeria, not just in the North, will collapse" Tambuwal said.

He noted that: "In a federalism like ours, the constitution guarantees the federating units equal rights to all revenue accruing to the federation account subject to laid down conditions" stressing that there is no where the constitution prohibits regions from pursuing their economic interests." "Nothing stops any region from developing at its own pace by choosing its areas of expertise and doing all it can in the pursuit of same."

"First we must stop paying lip service to agriculture. I know that our dear governors complain of dwindling resources from the federation account but that is the more reason we must avoid frivolity and focus only on the things that will impact on the majority of our people.

"There is also the need to make quality education a priority. This is the region with over 10 million children out of school. There is no way we can contemplate the future of the northern economy free of oil revenue without first making sure our people get the kind of first class education that is needed to provide the kind of expertise that such a future demands," he said.

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