Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba
C’River to get compensation for loss of Bakassi
Jude Okwe in Calabarâ€¨
Lobbying and negotiations, which are the hallmarks of the presidential system of government, will be deployed to ensure that the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) does not suffer a still birth, Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba, said yesterday in Calabar.
Obviously reacting to the gang up against the bill by northern legislators at the National Assembly owing to pressure from state governors and political leaders of that zone, Ndoma-Egba pledged that since the bill holds the key to the envisaged reforms in the petroleum sector, everything would be done to make it see the light of the day.
He said the two chambers of the National Assembly, with a membership strength of 469, was an amalgamation of different interest groups each fighting to protect its own interest but with a bill like the PIB seeking to unbundle the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the lobby will be exploited to see it through for the good of all.
“For me, am not surprised that the north is agitated, but the zone has not said it is against reforms in the petroleum industry. This bill is very relevant to the oil sector.
“At the appropriate time, we shall go into negotiations and horse trading and arrive at a compromise for the bill to be passed into law,” he said.
Ndoma-Egba maintained that the advantages of the bill far outweighs its disadvantages hence Nigerians should see the need to have a bill that would make investors come in to set up refineries, encourage competition in the sector, which in the main, would self regulate the price of petroleum products and create jobs for the unemployed.
All the 469 legislators, he noted, were politicians with interests to protect besides law making, but that since the presidential system of government thrives on persuasion, even though designed for conflict, sponsors of the bill would adopt diplomacy to convince those opposed to it.
The senate leader expressed optimism that 2013 may be better for Cross River State as the Federal Government was likely to compensate the state for the loss of Bakassi Peninsula given the criticism over the way the state was treated ever since the oil rich island was handed over to the Republic of Cameroun.
On the zoning of the office of governor of the state, he aligned himself with the position of state Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, who had some months ago revealed that under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) arrangement, his successor in 2015 would come from Cross River North Senatorial District, adding that the agreement reached with the north on this has not changed.
“The governor of the state is a leader of the party. During the February 25, 2012 governorship electioneering campaign, it was agreed that the north would not field a candidate so thatit would support Imoke to succeed him in 2015.
“The arrangement still stands. am not aware of anything to the contrary. Since the governor has spoken on this issue, that’s it,” he stated.
Commenting on Imoke’s absence as a result of his vacation abroad, the senator said there was no vacuum in the governance of the state as he transmitted power to his deputy as required by the constitution before leaving the country and that the governor was in good health contrary to rumours that he had passed on.
“I have met with the governor. We joked over rumours of his death. The Imoke that I saw was not on a sick bed. He had earlier said he was on vacation to rest having been working without going on leave for some years,” he said.