A Niger Delta activist, Asari Dokubo, says should President Muhammadu Buhari have his way, the Niger Delta region would have got nothing as equity shareholding in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB to host communities.
He stated this during an interview with Punch.
The PIB, which has now been signed into law, makes a provision of a three per cent equity share for the oil-producing communities even though the region had pushed for 10 per cent.
Reacting, Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force, stated that the three per cent equity stake for the region is an insult.
He, however, said he was not surprised with what the President had done based on his (Buhari's) antecedents.
He said, “It is one of the greatest insults that have ever befallen the region. I am not surprised with the character of the (President Muhammadu) Buhari regime. Even the three per cent earmarked for the region, I am sure Buhari is not satisfied with that. If he had his way, he would have wanted us to have zero per cent.
”That is his antecedent. That is the way he behaves. I am not surprised. Anybody can read him perfectly. The so-called political elites are totally captured. They are so afraid and lily-livered that they cannot say anything.
”He (Buhari) has sent it back for an amendment, (admitting) that it doesn’t have geographical spread. Do his appointments have geographical spread or respect Federal Character?
“So, in the midst of these things, one does not want to talk any longer, because the people you are talking to do not even appreciate what you are saying. The analysts will come and call you all sorts of names. I am now part of the ‘siddon look’ group.”
Speaking further on the issue of restructuring, Dokubo said such a concept will not thrive under the current Buhari administration as things may likely do from bad to worse.
He suggested that rather than the calls for restructuring, Nigeria should rather return to the Republican constitution of 1963 which he described as a people-centered constitution.
Dokubo stated, “Why would you put all of us under one frail-looking old man called Buhari? Buhari restructure? If this is a country that practises democracy, no journalist would have asked that kind of question. Buhari does not have any power to restructure anything. It is in the hands of the people to agitate for what they want.
”What is restructuring? Nigeria in 1960 was created as a federation. There is nothing like restructuring or anything else. All these other constitutions are from the military and they are illegal.
“They do not emanate from the people. Imagine the 1963 Constitution, which emanated from the people. If we go back to this constitution, it would be very clear. But people do not want justice. They want oppression. When you push people to the extent that they cannot pass through the wall, they will turn against you and fight.
“So, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we reach that point, nobody will talk. For me to say Buhari should restructure…Buhari does not have the capacity to restructure, because it is not in his hands, and I will not even be where Buhari is restructuring anything.
“If he restructures, he would restructure us to one dollar to N600. Go to Lagos-Benin Expressway and see the restructuring that Buhari is doing there. Is it in our educational system, where people score as low as 80 points in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations and they are admitted into the university?
“That is the sort of restructuring that Buhari can do. We had legal documents that were available. Let us go back to the 1963 Constitution. That is the constitution that can lead us, and we can use that as a starting point.”