ON TOP D MATTER: Weeks 7&8 of the National Confab

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In light of the recent Boko happenings, our ON TOP D MATTER episode did not feature for last week. However, you did not miss much. Delegates are still in their various committees trashing out peculiar issues and hopefully will have resolutions to present the full house at the expiration of the committee meetings. Here is a Premium times report for some very ‘juicy’ – so juicy it’s oily – gist still hot from today’s proceedings in one of the committees. Enjoy…

 

The northern and southern delegates in the Committee on Devolution of Power of the National Conference again, on Monday, failed to agree on the issue of revenue sharing and derivation fund.

After several hours of a closed-door session, the Committee merely took contributions from its members, which would be discussed on Tuesday with a view to taking decisions on the issues.

While the northern delegates demanded the reduction of derivation fund to five per cent from 13 per cent and should be limited to only onshore, their southern counterparts, particularly from the South-South geo-political zone, asked for its upward review to 50 per cent.

The fund is paid to the nine oil producing states in the country in accordance with Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution. The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Imo and Ondo.

 

The northern delegates also called for the scrapping of interventionist institutions and agencies like the Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Amnesty Programme for ex-militants and the c-Component of the SURE-P.

The co-chairman of the Committee, Victor Attah, told journalists after its session that it would announce its resolutions and conclusion on some of the issues on Tuesday.

“Every member of this committee has now made his or her contribution to the discussion on resource control, including the two co-chairmen,” Mr. Attah, a former governor of Akwa Ibom, said. “We have given ourselves assignment of what to go and look out for. By tomorrow, hopefully, we will reach a conclusion on those matters and we will be able to announce resolution and conclusion.”

A member of the Committee, Eddy Erhagbe, said during the stormy discussion there was a gradual move towards consensus on the retention of the 13 per cent as derivation fund to the oil and gas producing states.

He, however, said a committee was constituted to harmonise the contributions of the members and present reports to it.

“Everybody has now spoken on the issue of revenue sharing and on the matter of derivation. There were different positions by members of the committee but the two chairmen have summarised. The situation now is that we are most likely going to agree on a number of issues. The extremes have been narrowed down to a large extent,” Mr. Erhagbe said. “Some issues that have to do with the sharing formula have been agreed upon both the horizontal and the vertical and a small committee is going to make recommendations as to monies that will be put aside for development. But on the critical issue of resource control, as regards 13 per cent for now, there is gradual move towards consensus on it. It is expected that we are not going to go below where we are now but there could be the possibility of going up while other provisions will be made to make sure that other sections are taken care of.”

 

Juicy gist, I said…as our good ol’ crude oil continues to be an issue. Till next week, good readers. Don’t slip on the oil!

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

ON TOP D MATTER: Week 6 of the National Confab

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The delegates at the National Confab have been on deliberations in the 20 committees they had been split into. Interesting news coming from tabloid reports inform me that Nigerians did in fact respond to the request by the National Conference Secretariat to send in memoranda embodying the different areas of life they wished committees to deliberate on.

 

The secretariat reportedly received a total of 319 memos; the breakdown according to an exclusive report by Saturday Vanguard is as follows:

Radical restructuring of the Nigerian polity – 70

Devolution of power – 42

Politics and Governance – 34

Citizenship, Immigration and Related matters – 23

Social Sector – 22

Political Parties and Election Matters – 20

Religion and Law – 15

Judiciary – 15

Human Rights/Legal Reforms – 15

National Security – 14

Environment – 10

Agriculture – 10

Trade and Investments – 10

Transportation – 5

Public Service – 5

Public Finance and Revenue – 5

Civil Society – 4

Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters – 4

Energy – 1

 

I do have a couple of questions for this week…

MY QUESTIONS:

1. Why is it that the broken down numbers of memoranda sum up to 324, 5 more than the reported total number of memoranda?

Surely with the rate at which authorities and media confuse numbers these days we all must now know the importance of carrying a pocket calculator!

2. And this one just occurred to me; are the delegates allowed to recommend a cut in the emoluments of government officials, or is that an untouchable?

 

Meanwhile, I was privy to a sneak-peak into the venue of one of the committees’ meetings. Two things were clear to me at the expiration of my peeping allowance:

1. Adults are not very much different from children as far as juvenile idiosyncrasies are concerned, and I mean this in the most grey-haired-loving way possible;

2. A lot of delegates seem unconvinced on the workability of a state police in the Nigeria of the near future. It remains to be seen if this skepticism extends to other matters or not.