Questions & Answers – Restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?

“Federalism” and “restructuring” and related terms are all political jargon. This means they are not so easy to understand by non-specialists and are widely understood by assumption, not fact. Nigeria is a federal republic that practices federalism on paper but is a unitary state in reality because it lacks the provision of autonomy for subnational or federating units. All advanced nations have undergone several phases of restructuring for political, economic or social reasons at different stages in their existence. Many Nigerians are oblivious to the fact that the creation of Lower Niger protectorate by the British, the amalgamation of North and South Nigeria, the institution of the four colonial constitutions for Nigeria and ultimately Independence in 1960, where all cases of restructuring. Oil appears to be the only reason restructuring or federalism looks strange to some Nigeria. I shall now answer the questions raised in response to Restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?

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Restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?

“Restructuring.” Its meaning is debatable and for many, it is about oil, resource control. Surprisingly, many see resource control as the receipt of an increased top-up percentage of “derivation” by oil-producing states from oil revenues issued by the federal government (FG) as fiscal allocations. Where is the control in receiving a token part of the revenues from resources mined under your jurisdiction? Derivation no matter the percentage is not reducible to restructuring. A synonymous concept to restructuring is “federalism”, the structural devolution of power from central government to federating units [granting them autonomy] within the national structure. If achieved in Nigeria, restructuring will effectively end the unitary system of government introduced by the military government since 1966. Very little is said about the “ownership” of natural resources in the mainstream Nigerian debate on restructuring. Is ownership a taboo word when it comes to oil and federalism?

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