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#Frankly Speaking: The Oil Deception.

Recently, the President of Ijaw Youths Congress, Eric Eradiri  revealed that President Buhari has indicated interest in personally leading negotiations with Niger Delta stakeholders that will include, governors, traditional rulers, activists and some key militants and ex militant leaders.

President Buhari is only taking the same steps that Presidents, Obasanjo, Yardua and Jonathan all took. But these are the same temporary measures that allows the federal government to continue drilling oil while empowering a few in the Niger Delta.

In the next few weeks after the negotiations , bribes will be released to some strong men of the creeks in the form of ransoms fees and the pipeline vandalism will reduce while critical issues like true federalism and even the host community funds will not even be considered .

In the next few years, the future Presidents of this country will also face similar crises and take same steps by empowering the 'strong men' in the Niger Delta while the majority of the people will wallow in abject poverty.  New strong men will emerge by their ability to create maximum chaos in the oil industry.

Remember it was the Presidential Jet reception to Dokubo Asari and Tom Ateke that inspired new strong men like Boyloaf, Boma George, Osama Bin Laden , General Africa etc.

Nigeria will fruitlessly, keep trying to develop critical infrastructure for 200 million people, with 2.2 million bpd as our project funding system of building a 3km road in three years will continue.

The next two presidents after PMB will still come and offer to provide electricity and build roads. Nothing much would have changed. Insecurity will continue as we'd still have a lower security budget than even groups like Hezbollah.

There is something deceptive about  Nigeria's so called oil wealth. We just know we produce oil , but what is our comparative advantage with oil when you take into consideration the number of people the oil money is meant to cater for?

For example, with a a population of less than 2 million people, Qatar produces 1,240 barrels of oil per day for 1000 people. Saudi Arabia produces about 371 bpd for each 1000 people. Kuwait produces about 1,100 bpd for each 1000 people. United Arab Emirates is about 663, even Angola that we produce more oil than produces 139 bpd for each 1000 people while Gabon produces 167 bpd for 1000 people.

Nigeria on its part produces 17 barrels per day for each 1000 persons, making her the poorest OPEC country in terms of Oil Per Head, far below the OPEC countries average of 371 bpd.

So we can see that the difference between a country like Nigeria and a country like Gabon is the difference between having three cubes of sugar placed in a 1000 litre tank and having one cube of sugar placed in a tea cup.

Who has more sugar? Of course the person with three cubes. But who enjoys the effect of sugar more? Definitely  man with one cube in a tea cup.

The easiest way to move forward and diversify from this mono economy is to entrench true federalism as this will freeze the feeding bottle in Abuja and states like Jigawa, Ebonyi and Ekiti will realise that they have much more resources than the black gold.

This deceptive assumption of having so much wealth led us into numerous wasteful policies like subsidizing petroleum products until situations forced President Buhari to solve that problem .

Universities can't function autonomously by fending for itself with the fees that students pay, but will depend on hand outs from the education ministry which is never enough and we now have glorified secondary schools as universities. All because we think we are an oil rich nation.

In some states in Nigeria, the government even funds little things like refuse disposal. People are not even allowed to posses the individual responsibility of paying for their own refuse to be disposed. At the end , it's never effective and the state is gradually becoming a garbage city rather than a garden city .

The government will continue to be slow in generating income tax as FIRS remains a less serious income generating institution than NNPC .

Is it not ironical that we have oil wealth and have a per capita income of $2,600 while little countries like Belgium with little or no mineral resources have a pet capita income of over $40,000.

In a country like the United Arab Emirates, States like Dubai manage their oil resources and pay about 2% only to the emirate in Abu Dhabi.
Today, with an Oil production of 60,000 bpd , Dubai have built their city, diversified her economy and developed her human resources to a level where oil now accounts to about 5% of their foreign earnings while Nigeria foreign earnings remains above 90% oil based.

The reason is simple .The wealth of a nation lies more on her human resources rather than on her mineral resources.    

This is why mineral based economies like UAE, QATAR etc are rapidly transforming into knowledge based economies like Israel by rapidly diversifying.

This is why Nigeria with crude oil will continue to import refined products from countries without crude oil like Singapore and South Korea.

Until we move away from this feeding bottle federalism of drilling oil in Abua and sharing the proceeds in abuja, Nigeria will continue to produce leaders that are destined to fail no matter what they do.


#FranklySpeaking is a new political segment on Thelma Thinks written by a friend of the blog who prefers to remain anonymous. 


  1. The powers that be will never open their minds to possibilities. If a president of 5years who is from the core south-south couldn't have enough conviction to provide an avenue for such growth in the south-south, I wonder how we can expect a northerner as president, regardless of how effective he may be, to truly follow that line.

  2. Uyi, I think it doesn't matter where the person might come from. Anyone who loves Nigeria will entrench true federalism. Its not just going to benefit the south south alone as we have seen from the article that the richest countries aren't actually oil rich countries.

    1. You need to be a spoilt child, literally, to understand the standpoint of Nigeria as a state. You are telling spoilt children(govenors) that they should go and be inventive in making money when their daddy is a billionaire. Even when daddy isn't making much, they would still feel entitled to whatever is left.

  3. I like the cubes of sugar example.


  4. I beg to disagree that true federalism would be the panacea to Nigeria's problems. We've seen states and other smaller governance units make a mockery of the responsibilities and resources that are fully at their disposal and even worse some of them have had to approach the federal echelons to solve disputes that were supposed to be in their purview of influence. A look at many of our lower courts would find numerous disputes between family members, kinsmen, ilks and other supposedly closely bonded people having major altercation over issues that are meant to be trivial, essentially underscoring the point that when trusted with bigger responsibilities like running their immediate societies, these schisms would come to the fore.

    Learning to live as a community and entrenching values that support this proposition would see us achieve more in our quest for national development. We don't necessarily need to see one another as brothers, just learn to tolerate the next person. Perhaps if we ran true democracy with a strengthened court system and rule of law that would serve as a check on other arms of government (legislature and executive) and vice versa, we could further appreciate how concentrating seemingly unlimited powers in one arm of government, the executive, as is the de facto experience in Nigeria, could corrupt the governance process and hinder developmental efforts.

    1. Although u have a point,i still believe ur point of view is influenced by our history. We've been under the military most of our independent life. 16yrs of democracy and we still believe the buck stops at the president's table even when we shld hold our state gov'rs liable, we blamed the FG.
      Like I said, Nig is wiser now than it was in 1999 when we were transitioning to democracy. Today we ask questions, expect transparency and accountability (although that is fast disappearing with this new administration).
      Nigeria and it's states are artificial creations created/carved out for political reasons. States like Zamfara have no business being a state cos their only value to the country is collecting monthly FAAC.
      What consolidation did to banks is what true federalism wld do to states. Hold ur state accountable. The FG takes care of some while they tell others to meet their State gov'rs. If it means reverting back to regions/zones,so be it. This self-deceit has lasted long enough.
      As we've been following the international news, Britain left the EU,i see no reason why we can't revert things that aren't working for "EVERYONE" as opposed a privileged few...

    2. The issue I have with true federalism is that it explicitly assumes Nigeria is primarily divided along the major ethnic lines and thus would fare better if we magnify that distinction. In reality, I don’t believe this is the case. Nigeria is divided along many lines and repeatedly, we have had instances of intolerance within ethnic groupings. With ‘true federalism,’ I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of smaller and less reckoned ethnic group lay claim for a representation in the proposed regional structure of government or resulting political landscape. This wouldn’t serve the intended purpose of what a true federalist society is meant to achieve.

      Also, it is only in theory that ‘true federalism’ exists, what we would have in reality would be federalism whose daily experience wouldn’t be much different from the same set of leaders (who happen to be devoid of the requisite leadership competencies), a broken down system of governance and many other ills that would hamper the gains of this system of governance. Furthering my stance, states have proven to also be as lacking in effective governance as the ineffective centre. Apportioning more powers to states wouldn’t serve the desired goal of good and effective governance.

      Although, we ask questions, expect transparency and accountability and inevitably, are more wiser than when we were in 1999, that hasn’t yielded much positive benefit. Most of these inquiries and expectations have been met with some form of filibustering. This phenomenon is also prevalent in the states. While I would concede that the in this current dispensation of democracy, the centre (executive) seems to be too powerful and the associated ills of absolute power ascribed to this arm of government has inhibited effective governing, I reason that strengthening the other arms of government (legislature and judiciary) would make for a more beneficial governing of the Nigerian society.

      Britain left the EU mainly because of the net loss in accepting other EU citizens into their society. They needed to be assured that they and they alone can be the primary factor in determining the future of their nation. It is a starkly different happening from the federalism discussion in Nigeria.

      And yes, my point is influenced by our history, but, I believe it is majorly influenced by an objective reasoning that seeks an approach whose aggregate effect would be wholesome for the Nigerian society.

    3. Whatever system of government we are running (cos I clearly donno anymore) is clearly not working and you knw what they say about doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result?

      We can't run from our history but we can and should learn it and make the necessary "changes" asap.

      Lol,u clearly accused me of digressing in ur 4th paragraph (why do y'all do that tho? Lol)
      I mentioned Britain and EU because in life, nothing is permanent. So if Britain can leave the EU and Scotland is considering leaving the UK,it means we in Nig shld sit among ourselves and find a long-term solution to our problems. So whether true federalism, false federalism, return to military rule,or whatever, whatever we decide shld favor at least 80% of Nigerians.

    4. Yeah, I agree that Nigeria’s version of democracy leaves much to be desired. I believe that if the founding fathers of democracy – America’s democracy – were still alive, they would be appalled with how much we have corrupted this beautiful system of governance.

      Perhaps, the primary motivation for this ‘federalism cause’ is the sheer amount of power ascribed to the centre and more specifically to the President. This is majorly because of a failure of the necessary checks and balances (the legislature and judiciary). We should be clamoring for a strengthened triple arm of governance.

      I opine that it is the novelty of a relatively new approach that propels this federalism cause not necessarily a thorough understanding of the suitability of this new approach. For example, we have had a ‘change’ government in power for over a year, I don’t think Nigerians have fared better with this new party in power. We haven’t really practiced democracy, and till we do so, trying another system of governance would be precipitous.

      I also get carried away in arguing my stance and present trending happenings as supporting facts that are not necessarily related to the argument. Although this happens more often in verbal argument. Perhaps, you should be clearer with the aspect of the trending happening that you are trying to draw a parallel from.

  5. Chris and Sasha bone have made good points.

    Lol@ the reference to Zamfara state. I don't know anything about the state. Now, I'm quite curious.


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