Few days ago, the Nigeria Senate passed a bill establishing the North-East Development Commission (NEDC). The proposed NEDC was meant to be an intervention agency that will facilitate the rebuilding of the North-eastern part of the country that was revaged by Boko Haram. While, I am not against rebuilding of the region, I am against the establishment of a commission to be funded by the people of Nigeria.
I am in shock that forty-seven Senators from the seventeen states in the southern part of Nigeria would assent to such unpatriotic bill that only favors the elite of a section of the country. I am also at loss with words that these same Senators joined their northern counterparts to oppose and reject the bill to grant Lagos a special status but saw nothing amiss in the so-called North East development commission.
NEDC Bill, An Unpatriotic Bill
The NEDC bill is the most unpatriotic bill since the advent of our democracy. Why should 3% of the Nation’s VAT revenue be channeled to just Northeast alone? Is the Northeast the only part of Nigeria that has witnessed insurrection and destruction in this country? Was there Eastern Development Commission (or South East Development Commission) after the civil war to rebuild the region that hosted the bloody confrontation between the separatist led by Ikemba Ojukwu and Nigeria State that lasted for three years and destroyed several infrastructures? Why is there no North-Central Development Commission to rebuild the region ravaged by those terrorists hiding as Fulani herdsmen?
Is it not ridiculous that the Senate is telling the Nigeria State and Nigerians to bear the responsibility of fending for the Northeast when the so-called Boko Haram could be traced to failure of the elites from the Northeast region to instill social responsibility on their young ones? Why should the South not enjoy special privileges considering that they are the people that chun out most of our revenue? Why should the Northeast, whose contribution to the federal purse is almost non-existent still enjoy 3% of VAT from the South as well as their regular allocation?
This proposed NEDC is the height of irresponsibility and unpatriotism.
Who Allowed Boko Haram Activities To Fester?
I believe Nigerians must be informed on what transpired with respect to the efforts of the past administration to curb Boko-Haram. When the Army led by Gen Ihejirika confronted the terrorists in Baga, in April 2013, the Northeastern elders and elite came out to “condemn the army” for killing their people, and even petitioned Amnesty International, crying genocide. In May 2013 when President Goodluck Jonathan declared State of Emergency (SOE) on the areas affected by Boko Haram, the same Northeastern elite condemned the declaration. The next month, June 2013 when the government of Jonathan proscribed Boko Haram, and officially declared it a terrorist organisation, the North, faulted the move. Specifically, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Youth Consultative Forum, and Northern Elders Forum faulted it. In July 2013, when the United Kingdom officially proscribed Boko Haram, non of these Northern elite were happy with the move. When the USA in November 2013 followed the step of the UK, the same Northern elite were nowhere to hail the move. So who allowed the BH activities to linger and cause so much damage? If they had cooperated perhaps Boko Haram would have been decimated before causing much damage.
I Am Not Against Northeast Development But…
If the Northeast in their wisdom believe that it is time to rebuild their region, why can’t they pull resources together to do so just like the governors of the then southeast did in rebuilding their region after the “uncivil” war? Why should they still expect 3% of our lean resources to take care of a problem that they (Northern elite) encouraged? Money that isn’t enough to take care of the needs of the people bringing the resources.
I am not against rebuilding the Northeast, but I am against robbing Peter to pay Ibrahim. You can’t continue to reject Lagos bid for 1% revenue despite being the highest contributor to our VAT; Niger Delta bid for resource control and increment in oil derivative, despite being the producer of the revenue, and then turn around to reward Northeast with 3% of our VAT despite the fact that their problem was self-inflicted and they contribute nothing significant to the national purse.
In fact, the northeast should rather be grateful to their southern counterpart for helping them fund the resources to prosecute the insurgency at the expense of capital development, as well as the continuous allocation they receive every month. They should not bother to get more than these.
The House Must Kill The Bill…
While it is unfortunate that the Senate threw patriotism out of the window to pass the NEDC bill with our own representatives down south playing the unfortunate role of willing tool. Thank God that the House of Representative is yet to decide on the proposed bill.
I believe that for the sake of patriotism and National interest, the House, specifically the contingents from the South must stand against this bill in its entirety. Doing otherwise will be interpreted as a complete sellout and betrayal of trust by our representatives.
If the northeast want to be rebuilt, they should by themselves pay the sacrifice by using their own resources to fix their mistake or they should seek funds elsewhere.
#sometimes, I wonder if our representatives from the southern part especially have their people that voted them in mind or just their for themselves and immediate families.