Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, yesterday called for a renegotiation of the 13 percent derivation formula, describing the principle as a mockery of the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta.
He argued that the 13 percent derivation was not enough to radically change the face of the region, insisting that the complex nature of the area makes it difficult to develop with the way the formula is currently enforced.
A statement issued by Dicksonâ€™s spokesman, Mr. Francis Agbo, said the governor made the assertion yesterday during a live media chat in Ijaw language in Government House Yenagoa.
Dickson argued that only restructuring would guarantee sustainable peace, stability and development in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.
He lamented that the people of the region particularly the Ijaw were being treated as second class citizens in the country as their God-given resources were expropriated by the federal government and its agencies.
According to him, â€œI have said it often that the 13 percent derivation they are giving to us can never be enough to tackle our development needs at the pace we want. Restructuring is the only veritable means to achieve sustainable peace, stability and prosperity not only in this our region but throughout the country.
â€œFor how long will the federal government and indeed all the supporters of this great injustice continue to treat us as slaves? What they call oil blocks are our ancestral lands but we are the people who are excluded from the ownership and use of this our God-given property,â€ he said
â€œTake Bayelsa State for instance where the federal government is doing almost nothing to support our developmental effort. We are the ones building all our schools, hospitals, roads and bridges to link our communities in the state. Is that fair?
â€œThat is why I expect every right thinking Ijaw or Niger Delta person and true Nigerians to support our clamour for restructuring because that is the right thing to do so that every part of our country will have a sense of belonging,â€ the governor said.
On the ongoing state public service reforms, the governor restated the need for the people of the state to discountenance the propaganda and blackmail orchestrated by detractors, stressing that no genuine worker would be adversely affected.
He said through continuous verification and other measures, his administration has pruned down the over bloated wage bill of about N6 billion it inherited at the inception of his government to N3.8 billion at the end of last month.
Dickson who urged the people not to see civil service as the best occupation, assured them of government preparedness to assist them go into commerce and other private businesses, which he noted, are more lucrative.