The inability of the delegates at the national conference in Nigeria to reach a consensus on the revenue sharing formula and devolution of power is a sign of the short sighted nature of the politics of national development, a public affairs analyst has said.
After days of trying to reach an agreement on the contentious issues, the conference referred the issues to the President and adjourned until August 4.
While commenting on the outcome of the conference on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, on Monday, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse pointed out that the questions of devolution of power and revenue sharing formula had always been seen as key issues for the conference.
He said that the development was not a surprise to him, as he knew the issues would arise.
“I am not surprised that there is a deadlock. The conference has shown Nigerians and the world that we have a problem of unity as a nation.
“The conclusion of the conference was more political than it should be. Our politics for national development is so irresponsible and so short sighted that we should just keep talking about oil which is a wasting resource. Very soon, it will no long be viable because more countries are discovering oil and the developed countries are discovering alternatives,” he said.
The revenue sharing formula has divided the conference towards the end of the deliberations that started in March. While some delegates call for an increase in the revenue percentage that goes to the state where the resources is, others say status quo should be maintained.
For Dr Pearse, the development of Nigeria around oil should be reconsidered with focus shifted to other numerous resources in other states.
In his opinion, the state where the resource is should get between 30 to 40 per cent of the revenue; a situation he said would make other states begin to develop their natural resources in order to benefit from the revenue.
He expressed disappointment with the forwarding of the issue to President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that the delegates should have looked for a way of resolving the issue.
After the conference forwarded the issue to President Jonathan, the President, however, said that he would not have anything to do with the decision but decided that a specialised committee would be set up to look at the contentious issues and reach an agreement on it.
“The President has said that it will not be the executive that will decide on the issue. And that is his way of doing things. He is not a person that will want to bulldoze his way through an issue and that is why he has been able to survive the storm and challenges that his administration has faced.
“He is going to have a group of people that will advise him on how to constitute the committee which would be held responsible for their decision.
“There is no suggestion that will be acceptable to everybody but if the specialised committee comes up with a suggestion that meets the interest of a percentage of the conference, then if the President accepts the decision of the committee, he has to bear responsibility.
“The committee will consider everything that has gone on in the National conference and take a cue from there. They will not be acting in a vacuum.
“A smaller committee with people of impeccable character should be able to come up with a solution,” he said in optimism.
Apart from the last minute disagreement, Dr. Pearse said that the conference had also made some remarkable achievements, pointing out that it had established the spirit of dialogue and communication.
The conference has not been a total waste, as the issues on the unity of the nation must continue to be debated and discussed.
“The conference was not just talking about oil, it was about different resources in different regions. The most important thing is that people who had thought that they would be quick to talk about dividing the country and going their own separate ways realised that it was not that easy and that nobody is afraid of leaving the union. It is not in anybody’s interest to threaten to leave the union,” Dr. Pearse said.
He expressed optimism that the decisions reached in the conference would be finalised when the delegates reconvene on August 4.