WHO TOLD YOU YOUR OIL WEALTH IS BEING UNFAIRLY GIVEN TO THE NORTH? Stop It! Neither Biafra nor Arewa, nor Oduduwa Nations owned the oil! (Dr Ope Banwo examines one of the myths in the current debates about Nigeria)

I am always mystified when the Igbos and the Yorubas say they want their own nation and then give as part of the reasons the unfairness of oil wealth distribution being produced in their states being unfairly distributed to the people in the north

I am also amused at how many Nigerian youths and agitators have swallowed this myth as reality.

The verifiable truth is that the oil monies being shared to different parts of Nigeria do NOT come from or belong to the Igbo Nation or Yoruba nation or Arewa nation based on how they have all defined themselves

Truth is the money being shared and distributed in Nigeria actually belonged to people or nationalities that are SEPARATE AND DIFFERENT from what we see as Biafra, or Yoruba or Arewa Enclosures

Yet nobody seemed to be including those peoples (who ironically with any of the major tribes) in the debate.

Don’t believe me? Here are the FACTS concerning oil derivation from Nigeria:

Nigeria’s petroleum products are the mainstay of the country’s economy. They provide the country’s main source of foreign exchange, making up more than 90% of total exports. Petroleum jobs account for 20% jobs in the country. It is hard to deny as it is obvious that petroleum (oil) has made Nigeria one of the economic leaders in Africa

Yet the oil is NOT produced by Biafra or Oduduwa or Arewa though they all keep fighting for control of what does not belong to them.

Here is the list of the TOP 9 oil producers by percentage

1. Akwa Ibom – the largest oil producer with 31.4% (504,000 BPD)

2. Delta – 21.56% (346,000 BPD)

3. Rivers – 21.43% (344,000 BPD)

4. Bayelsa – 18.07% (290,000 BPD)

5. Ondo – 3.74% (60,000 BPD)

6. Lagos – 2.64% (40,000 BPD)

7. Edo – 2.06% (33,000 BPD)

8. Imo-1.06 % (17,000 BPD)

9. Abia-0.68% (11,000 BPD) (Nigerian bureau of Statistics 2017)

As you can see, Just 4 states: AKWA IBOM, DELTA, RIVERS AND BAYESA produce 92% of the oil we are all gleefully sharing but peoples in those stares don’t belong to any of those peoples who are claiming ‘our wealth’ is being shared to the north.

Fact also is may of the states agitating for independence currently have no reasonable IGR to sustain them if and when they do become a nation. As of today most of those states are NOT viable and cannot survive right now without that free cheque they all go and collect in abuja every month

Contrary to all the posturing, It will take any breakaway states years to develop the huge IGR to sustain themselves like the Awolowos and Zik of yester years did.

In the meantime, after the Awo and Zik years, our Population has exploded while our sources of IGR income for the states have declined and died sources many years ago. They will have to be rebuilt by these states who do not have the oil if this nation is broken up

Let’s stop the emotional agitation and deal with cerebral issues . Even if we are going to break up this nation, let’s do it in ways that will not lead to even worse situation

So, please let’s stop this parochial approach to a serious problem and let’s have an intelligent discussion on how to deal with the anomaly of Nigeria as 1 country with many nations.

Our #1 problem remains our visionless leaders and selfish leaders who refuse to use their collective brains to provide solutions to our problems

As a way of diverting our attention from their abysmal failures, they are now fanning the embers of tribal breakaways

Let’s come back to the real issues which will not disappear no matter how we divide this country

– Constitutional Amendment especially the Exclusive and Concurrent Lists (in my opinion most of our problems can be solved just redefining this list and giving more lists to the states)

– Incompetent Leadership

– Better and fairer Revenue Allocation

– Land Use Law (land use is a major friction now )

– Better management of our resources at local , state and federal level

– Security for the entities

– Better Management of diverse nationalities within one country in a way that is fair and just

Dr Ope Banwo