AN APPRAISAL OF STUDY ON THE RESOURCE CONTROL AGITATIONS AND POLITICAL STABILITY IN NIGERIA
This project is borne out of the desire to make a modest contribution to the quest for a political stability in Nigeria. It analyses the role of resource control agitations and its implication on the Nigerian federalism, while the south – south serves as a case study. It provides a background with an introduction in chapter one and an account the evolution of revenue allocation of the country in chapter two, and subsequently takes a critical look at the contending perspectives on resource control agitation particularly as a framework in chapter three. Chapter four is an analysis of the broad areas for harmonization within the federalism while chapter five focuses on summary and recommendations.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
To highlight some significant events and developments in response to a review of Nigeria as a federal structure, it is intellectually pertinent to present a brief survey of the past to understand the distinct phases through which the nation passed to arrive at its present political state and economic condition vis a vis revenue allocation or resource control. Some of these historical periods have enjoyed such degree of true federal structure, that in reference to revenue allocation and federalism, not only were great strides made in the promotion of social and economic development, the overall smoothness in the system at both the regional and federal (central) levels over shadowed the negative consequences of the power struggles, and by the late 1950s a myth of Nigeria as a “federalism” enjoyed considerable international credibility.
The revenue allocation issue in the political economy of Nigeria is as volatile as any other national question such as population. This means that how national revenue is shared among the different components of the federal structure is irretrievably tied to the national question. Hence no broadly acceptable national revenue allocation formula has been put in place since 1947 and which has not generated controversy but had to be made acceptable in the “interest of national unity” this controversy can be amplified with the outburst of Gov Victor Attah of Akwa-IBOM state in response to the supreme court ruling on the onshore/offshore dichotomy case.
According to him, if the judgment of the supreme court is implemented, it would mean that they would go home with nothing, where as those that have nothing to contribute, but have a large population and land mass which are the indices for revenue sharing from the federation account will be given the resources from our land to develop their land; and to them, it is not only unjust, it is also wicked and that is why it is unacceptable he therefore solicited the president to make as a matter of urgency a bill to the national assembly which would seek to abrogate the onshore, offshore dichotomy, as that will be in the interest of national unity. However, for many years now the revenue allocation has been interlaced with volatile, which attracted the attention of people within and outside the country. But the researcher is poised to make his own contribution to the effort towards bringing stability, peace and development in the Nigerian polity and to achieve national unity.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are problems with devising a scheme of revenue allocation that is nationally understood and widely accepted as equitable. Over the years, various formula as many as thirteen have been tested and each has received some criticisms and resentments from many quarters of the nation state. Succinctly, it has grown to the extent that it has assumed a thematic issue of national and international status. But there could be some reasons behind this and the following questions become relevant.
1. What is resource control?
2. To what extent can the issue of resource control be attributed to the lingering crisis in Nigerian polity?
3. What is the relationship between resources control and political stability of the nation?
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this exercise is to unearth the remote causes of dissatisfaction among the south-south in the revenue allocation formulae. Secondly, to identify the reasons why the allocation principles have defied every pacifying effort and finally, to explore why many units of the federation are demanding for the control of the resources collectively owned under Nigeria federal state arrangement. However, this piece of work hopes to give a lasting solution to the disenchantment among the components of the federation.