By Kelvin Ohoror
The Anglican Bishop of Oleh Diocese, Rt. Rev. John Aruakpor has charged the Federal government to enthrone fiscal federalism where the regions should be allowed free access to their natural resources and taxes be remitted to the centre.
He made this known during the delivery of his charge to the 3rd session of the 7th Synod at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Oyede, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State.
According to him, “If true federalism is practiced in Nigeria, the cry of disintegration and secession wouldn’t have been stringent, persistent, and vociferous as it is today. We must put it on record here that disintegration and secession is not the best option or solution to the myriads of problems confronting us as a nation”
Bishop Aruakpor also stated that, “For some years now, there have been vociferous agitations on restructuring. This is because some of the federating units in Nigeria feel shortchanged, and are dissatisfied with the way and manner the resources of the country are being allocated”
He noted that the genesis of the lopsidedness of the revenue sharing stemmed from the country’s over reliance on oil as economic main stay which made Nigeria a mono economy, saying that, this shift had adverse and deleterious effect on the exploration and mining of other natural resources that are in abundance.
He however commended the effort of the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the visit to interface with the people of Niger-Delta region, , praying that the visit should lead to proper restructuring of Nigeria with far reaching solutions.
He lamented the insecurity that has bedeviled the country, stating that, “We have cried out against the religious and ethnic killings all over the country, especially the Northern and Central Nigeria. The leadership of the country seems to be enjoying the horrorful drama hence no show of political will to stop the dastardly act”
The Anglican Bishop also called on the unity of Isoko nation, that if there is anything that has bedeviled the Isoko nation is lack of unity and the attitude of “Pull Him Down”, adding that until our Political, Economic, and Religious leaders come together on a round table to talk things over, Isoko nation will still continue to lose out as a people.
On communal and inter- communal crises in Isoko nation, Bishop Aruakpor stated that, despite the much the Isoko Development Union has achieved in the area of peaceful coexistence, there still exist pockets of threatening situations around.
He therefore asserted, “Violence has never at anytime done any people good. We shall keep loosing promising young people, making children fatherless and women widows if the trend is not arrested. We are therefore calling on all warring communities to sheath their swords and embrace peace by cooperating with the relevant Government agencies saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring peace”.
He also called on Isoko sons and daughters to industrialize Isoko, to think home like Engr. Daniel Omoyibo, Hon. Eta Enahoro and many others, who are desirous of the industrialization of Isoko nation.
On the provision of electricity, he urged the government to modify it policies to make it easy for private companies to come on board with the much gas being flared to be converted to energy, and that the problem of electricity will become thing of the past.
He however call on the Delta State government to partner with the Church in the area of empowerment and education, that the government should see the Church as a veritable partner in all facet of development, saying that the Church have involved in various empowerment programmes in the area of Agriculture.
He added that the Oleh Diocese have five hundred million naira empowerment plan for members and the Church is also committed to standard of education for all and has gone to establish school aside the ones which the State government returned to her.
Also speaking at the 3rd session of the 7th Synod, the Chief of Staff, Delta State , Olorogun David Edevbie stated, “I have been in the forefront of restructuring, if you open Google you will see my article I wrote in the year 2000 on why Nigeria need to be restructured. It is amazing we are still talking of restructuring. It is surprising it has taken this long”
“I was among the people that fought for 13% derivation formula, then I was the Commissioner for Finance Delta State and also a member of the committee that came up with the compromise after the Supreme Court ruling on the onshore/offshore dichotomy”
Olorogun Edevbie reiterated that, “I am fully in support of restructuring; we are not asking for much, all we are saying, give us what belong to us. The bulk of the resources is from the Niger-Delta region. The other part of the federation should be encourage to look inward towards the development of the economy and as a country we will be stronger, that is what we are asking for”.