Voices from the Daily Trust Dialogue floor
Category: 10th Annual Trust Dialogue Written by Abdul-Rahman Abubakar
Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua:[He commented on Ms Ann-Kio Briggs’ speech which focused on revenue sharing in the country and her questioning why Bayelsa State has 8 local governments while Kano has 44.]
I just want to put the record straight. Local governments are created based on population and land mass. In the Senate states are regarded as same. Whether big or small, each state has three senators. The only state in Nigeria that has 44 local governments is Kano State and that state has more that 12 million people and look at the land mass.
Last year I did mention that those of us from this section of the country are not afraid for the country to be divided. We are willing, anytime. I want people to understand something, the total revenue from oil to this country; the people who are using it are not more than 3 percent. A poor man in the north is the same as poor man in the south.
A poor man in my state Katsina or extreme north, Sokoto or Kebbi, if the poor man is not a useless man he is better than a poor man in the Niger Delta. The reason is that he has his land, he has rivers, he can farm and make money. Most poor men in the south-south have lost their livelihoods to oil exploration. They have lost their rivers which hinders them from doing their main occupation which is fishing.
Whenever our colleagues from the south-south are talking, they talk as if the whole Nigerians are using oil money, no. Oil money is being used by not more than 3 percent of the people. We the elites are the ones stealing and wasting the money not the ordinary Nigerians.
Mr. Anthony Sani, publicity secretary,
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF):
Some sections of the country have been talking about true federalism without defining what constitutes true federalism. There are some who have come out to say the system of government has to change because presidential system is too expensive. They forget that the presidential system is working in US, parliamentary system is working in UK and the combination of the two is working in France.
They also forget that as far as this problem is concerned, we have to change our laws and attitudes because many of the people say that the problem is power but the laws of this country are too many. Some of us the elite don’t even understand them.
Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice President of the
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC):
[He responded to Ms Briggs who said “there is nothing to celebrate in 100 years of amalgamation of this country.”]
I was encouraged with the way Bishop Kukah changed the narrative. We need to play up some of the positive aspects of our history before we can move forward. I think we should commend Daily Trust for leading the cause of dialogue for a decade. Since everybody says the way out of our crisis is dialogue, I think you need to get consultancy.
Adam Ja Idris, a 300 level student of the
Nasarawa State University, Keffi:
I disagree with the second speaker [Dr. Sule Bello] who was saying that our problem in Africa is the influence of the western world, that we are not free to take decisions. I am saying that our problem is within us, I mean our leaders who don’t have our interests at heart. If they have their nations at heart, what is their business with Western influence? Please we should emphasise on how to solve our problems.”
Institution building is the corner stone for nation building. For example, SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] is an institution that is facing crisis in Nigeria. The present profile of investment in the country is going down. The National Assembly passed a budget and decided because they don’t like the face of a single person even though the person may have his or her own problems, they did not give budget allocation to SEC. So we look at bureaucracy by individual; if something is happening it is Obasanjo or Jonathan. Nigeria should be above all of us.
Rep Zakari Mohammed, chairman of the
House Committee on Media and Publicity:
[He responded to Ambassador Onoja].
The House of Reps made provision for SEC in the budget with a caveat. The caveat is that until and unless the leadership is changed that budget should not be touched. We are saying that since she is not qualified to be the DG, she should not touch that money but if a substantive person comes, a qualified person, that money can be touched.
Human beings are the active factors in nation building but in Nigeria today we have 12 million children of school going age that are out of schools.
What nation are we talking about? Whatever you build these 12 million kids when they reach adolescence, they will be the ones to destroy the country.