The recent viral news report that the drilling of the black gold – crude oil, which is now ongoing in Northern Nigeria has continued to generate mixed reactions from several sections of Nigerians. If Nigeria was not a country whose unity has been shattered and the faultlines exposed, it should be cheering news that one billion barrel crude oilfield and 500 billion cubic feet of gas reserves were discovered by the Nigerian state.
Given the fact that the product being chased is the blood that fuels the Nigerian economy and one of the biggest sources of revenue for the government, it is not surprising that the discovery has attracted strong interest from several divides.
What is now official is that crude oil has now been discovered in Northern Nigeria and if things go according to plan, in a matter of months or years, some Northern States will become ‘oil producing’ states in Nigeria. This discovery will certainly leave far-reaching implications on the controversial Nigerian polity and play huge roles in the dynamics that will shape future engagements as far as the relationship between Northern and Southern Nigeria is concerned.
The news of the discovery was received with wild celebrations up North and moodiness and indifference down south. For Northerners, the idea is that by the time full explorations begin in earnest, they were no longer going to be referred to as ‘parasites’ by their Southern neighbours while in the South, the feeling is that the news of the discovery is probable as it could be a ploy that was just geared at looking for a way to include some northern states into states that receive the 13% oil derivation.
One thing that must be clearly stated is that many decades of oil exploration in the Niger Delta have left the communities in the region devastated and environmentally prostrate. It is sad that most of the resources generated from these economic activities were not used for the good of the region but for the development of other regions and beyond that, from what we can see today, it is evident that it was also used to prospect for oil at the Kolmani river in Northern Nigeria.
The discovery of oil in the North will perhaps be the best opportunity for Nigeria on the spot over her hypocrisy with regard to how she has related with the people of the Niger Delta. Many people at the moment will be looking forward to what will happen in the North when oil spillage and environmental degradation become a cause for concern. It remains to be seen if activists like Ken Saro Wiwa will emerge and if the Nigerian State will murder them in cold blood. It remains to be seen if the land of Kolmani will be abandoned like Ogoni and the promised clean-up only remembered during electioneering periods. It remains to be seen if Southerners will own Northern oil blocks with ease even as they control the administrative positions at the Nation’s oil company – the NNPC.
Many people are looking forward to seeing how justice will be done to host communities where this oil has reportedly been discovered. For over 13 years, the Nigerians waited for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) only for it to come and it was nothing but a piece of horrendous rape and robbery of the resources of the people of the Niger Delta. It will be recalled that the rubber stamp Ahmad Lawan-led National Assembly simply gave the region a bloody nose with that Bill where it reserved only 3% equity shareholding for the oil-producing communities while allocating 30% for oil prospecting in the ‘North’.
This brazen robbery and social injustice went on almost unnoticed and the rape is not looking like one that is prepared to slow down soon. While the process of that robbery was on, many Nigerians will recall that the shameless thieves who call themselves northern leaders working for the Fulani Oligarchy were full of praises for Lawan the puppet chief lawmaker ‘for protecting the northern interest’ in the whole charade. What many southerners do not know is that, haven discovered oil in Kolmani, oil prospecting in the North will go on forever because the PIA has already guaranteed funds for such expeditions and the prospection can go on forever. The logic here is very simple: if there’s oil in Kolmani, there’s probably enough oil in Daura, Kano and Maiduguri, and who cares? The Fulani Oligarchy owns Nigeria.
Despite the often unity in diversity mantra mouthed by a few con-men politicians in Nigeria, all the regions in the country today coexist in mutual suspicion and distrust of each other. It didn’t start today and there are no signs in sight of its end. The quota system which is being practiced in the country today is a brainchild of that distrust. The quota system has continued to fuel the division in the country, yet the owners of Nigeria do not simply care. Before the coming of Buhari, the federal character was often the only available tool to check the excesses of the outdated quota system, but today, the present government in Aso Rock has simply destroyed it and relegated it to the archives. Today, nepotism has rendered the Federal Character Commission comatose and Nigeria’s perceived unity is bleeding profusely from it.
One fact that cannot be denied is the imbalance in the Nigerian system. Only restructuring can correct it and restore the country to the path of peace and progress. Somehow, it is a good omen that oil has now been discovered in the North as it is well known that one of the reasons why the North becomes jittery about restructuring is the prospects of resource control in the country. Well, now that oil has been discovered in Northern Nigeria, it remains to be seen if the region will welcome the idea of restructuring with open arms. One thing is certain, Nigeria will never develop if it is not restructured.
The oil discovery in Northern Nigeria is a good omen for many people who like seeing Nigeria display her stinking hypocrisy. It will be interesting to see if the oil in Kolmani and other parts of the North East will be treated like the gold in Zamfara and other parts of the North which is exclusively for the North and not the federal government or, whether it will be treated like the oil in the Niger Delta region which belongs to the federal government which all Nigerians always refer to as ‘our oyel’. It is an awesome opportunity for Nigeria to either showcase her hypocrisy further or right some of its numerous wrongs.