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.