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Friday, July 12, 2024

The New Revenue Sharing Summit: BILIE PRESIDENT-Engineer Amadi, BREAKS SILENCE

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The New Revenue Sharing Summit: BILIE PRESIDENT-Engineer Amadi,   BREAKS SILENCE: After 100 Years of the Union, what we need now is a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) and not a new REVENUE SHARING FORMULAR …

Engr Amadi
Engr Amadi

The Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission(RMFAC) is presently calling for memoranda from Nigerians as an input in the ongoing talks on the emergence of a new revenue sharing formular. The Commissioner representing Imo State in RMFAC,DR Casmir Anyanwu, recently lamented the indifference of Imo State indigenes in the submission of memoranda. In this interview, Engineer Amadi who is also the National President of BILIE Human Rights Initiative makes pertinent analysis and critique of the ongoing plan to forge out a new revenue sharing formular and how it affects the Indigenous People of Biafra. Please read excerpts below…

 

The committee on new revenue Allocation is touring the states in search of memoranda from all stakeholders in respect of the proposed new revenue sharing formular. Will BILIE submit a memorandum on the new revenue sharing formular?

Whose or which revenue are they sharing in the first place? From which source is the revenue coming? Is it not our God- given resources they are sharing i.e. our oil? What they are sharing in Abuja is the revenue generated from oil and oil is God’s gift to the indigenous people of Biafra land.

Does the commissioner representing Imo State in the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission know the origin of the sharing of the revenue?  If he did and he is representing Imo State there, he would have taken it upon him self to work out modalities with groups to prepare the memorandum on behalf of his people and submit to the relevant body. Immediately after the war, there were a lot of obnoxious policies put in place for the purpose of putting the Igbo man down and in fetters. The defeated People of Biafra were not part of those decisions. All these policies were made in order to checkmate the Igbo man with the purpose of demobilizing him further. In a paper delivered in a seminar in 1999, the present central bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamidi Sanusi, said that Ndigbo were  the cause of there being  placed where they were  today”. He said that Ndigbo knew the reasons why they were being oppressed. According to him, it was a problem the problem we brought on ourselves. So, what are those problems that we caused that will justify the incessant hostility on the Igbo man in Nigeria.

So, the so called new revenue formular will make no meaning. I can’t even see why Imo State or Ndigbo should embark on that exercise. I am convinced that the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, knows their tricks. That is why he is silent on the issues.

Do you not think that a new Revenue sharing formular is critical?

Listen, they want a new revenue sharing formular today in order to consolidate the initial agreement they are operating. Are you aware that the land mass is one of the indices used for sharing revenue? What has land mass got to do with sharing of revenue? Is the land mass generating any revenue to the Federal Government? Are you not aware that Local Government Areas play a critical part in revenue sharing? So, how many Local Government Areas do we have in the Igbo Nation or even the South of Nigeria? How many members do we have in the National Assembly (NASS)? Have you read the book of Harold Smith on how he truncated the census of this nation on the orders of British Government? Harold Smith was a former Colonial Governor of Nigeria.

The new revenue sharing formular is a way of sharing our oil and nothing more. Oil is the only basis for Unity in this Country. Are we sharing revenue from Cocoa? What of groundnut in Kano? Have you ever heard of the groundnut pyramids of Kano? What happened to them? What of tin that was mined in Jos such as gold, lead and several others. Individuals from those areas are allowed to mine these resources but oil is the one that must be shared in Abuja by the Federating units. Why is it so? How long will our people be in the dark? Why are our people not asking questions? Now, they are asking you to submit a memorandum on how to share your wealth and the Commissioner representing Imo State is asking you to submit memoranda. All of them are benefitting from the ploy; hence they cannot call a spade, a spade.

Since we are still part of the federation, can we opt out of the summit?

When this amalgamation started on 1st January 1914, 100 years was put as a period to review the union. Now 100 years is around the corner. They are in panic and asking us to make suggestions, on how to share our oil resources. Instead of deciding on whenever this union is still useful, they  are deceiving us to talk of a new revenue sharing formular in order to legitimize the elongation of the Union. The original pact was that after 100 years, the Union would be reviewed. That is what we expect and  not a talk shop on a new revenue sharing formular.

The  deadline of 100 years fall due  in  2014. They are now  in panic and coming with their deceit of a new revenue sharing formula. The commissioner   representing  Imo State l on the revenue mobilization body does not even understand the reasons for the move to set up a summit on new revenue sharing formula  at this point in time.What will Ndigbo be going there to do?

But Governor Okrocha would have arranged for a memorandum to the panel.

I think Governor Okorocha knows exactly their plot; that is why they don’t want to see him. They are all against him. Anybody who understands what is happening with the so- called new revenue sharing panel/formular will not take them  very serious.They are not sincere.The objective is to divert attention from the deadline of 100 years when the Union should be reviewed. So, let them go on with their system. There is northing we can contribute that can result in a real change in the revenue sharing formular. Governor Okorocha does not participate in any thing that is not useful or meaningful. So, his keeping quiet has a reason. But those who don’t know him may not understand. Governor Okorocha understands the game they are playing.

 

Do we then continue with the present revenue formula?

No. If any body is interested in discussing the issue of a new revenue formula, the first thing to do is to convoke a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) so that we can agree that this union will continue or not. That is what was agreed during the amalgamation in 1914 and nobody should sweep it under the carpet now. It is in the SNC that such a critical issue as new revenue sharing formula can be discussed and resolved and not by picking a handful of misguided elements to discuss an issue they don’t even understand its implications. Of what use is the new revenue sharing formular if Nigerians decide that the Union has overstayed its welcome? It is not by submitting memorandum on such a critical issue as new revenue sharing formula that we can resolve the crises facing us as a nation. We need a Sovereign National Conference to handle such an issue.

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Why is Bilie not networking with other Igbo groups like Ohaneze, Ikenga and others?

Why the duplication of groups? Aka Ikenga, Ohanaeze, this and that. What for? If Ohanaeze is there representing the interest of Ndigbo, there would not have been any need for splinter groups. These splinter groups exist because they feel the real things are not being done. In fact, these various groups in Nigeria do not yield any meaningful dividends in the long run. For such groups to make impact, they must come together and pursue a common agenda.Ohanaeze has been watching helplessly while our people in the North are killed daily? What have they done to checkmate this? Each time they come up with empty threats

Governor Fashola apologized to Ndigbo recently for deporting some Lagos residents to Onitsha on the grounds that they were IGBO people who constituted a menace to society. Any comments?

 

 

 

The apology of Governor Fashola does not mean anything. What he did shows that we are not needed in the country. Governor Fashola is getting his own country ready in case of any development tomorrow. So, Governor Fashola is asking you to go and develop your own country. I don’t blame him because we, Ndigbo, have built Lagos, Abuja and several other cities. Yet the sources of funding those projects come from here. Yet, they cannot give us even enough to develop our own cities. Are you aware that money used to build the Mainland Bridge alone  can give you the whole flyover and roads you need in Imo State? Governor Fashola knows that Lagos has been developed to a level that in does not need the the monthly revenue allocation to survive.

Today, one person has been given licence to build a mega refinery which they say will be the biggest in the continent- a refinery that will run into billions of dollars and yet the ones owned by the same government are dead. Is this not a tactical way that some groups are using to prepare for the future of their zones. Now all these moneys they got from the removal of oil subsidy, what have they done with them? They said they would build new refineries, power plants and others. So, have you seen the promised projects? All we are now hearing is that an individual will build the largest refinery in Africa, even when the government cannot manage   her own refineries. So, the leaders of this country must be careful in what they are doing. So, their plan to embark on talks for a new revenue sharing formular can be understood. They want to use the ploy to legitimize the elongation of their control over our resources. What we need now is a Sovereign National Conference and not a summit on new revenue sharing formular.This formular was overdue for review for over 20 years. They did not review it.Now that the 100 years life span of the Union has arrived, they are suddenly running around in search of ways to legitimize the continuity of the Union. If BILIE gives them a formular for sharing the revenue, will they listen? So, you journalists have a lot of role to play in opening the eyes of our people. Most of our politicians are more interested in the monthly allocations which they share in Abuja. They have abandoned their responsibilities to the electorate who voted them into office.

Under the Independence Constitution, the revenue sharing formular allocated 50% to derivation. Why is it 13% now?

Thanks for this brilliant observation. Yes, it was 50% when the resources were groundnut, tin cocoa. But now oil is on board, they reduced it to 13%.Is that not very provocative and painful? That time people mined their resources and paid tax to the Federal government. Even today such other resources are mined by individuals in the other states but here every body goes to Abuja every month to share money that belongs to another people. In the face of this provocation, somebody is accusing the People of Imo State of not sending memoranda to that effect. Everybody is focusing on oil. Today people burn monsters, monkeys because we have continued to mix with all manner of people. But if we go back to God and seek his face, God will hear our prayer and deliver his people from bondage, All these strange things will persist until we get our own nation .We must remain prayerful

Why is BILIE not networking with groups like OHANAEZE,AKA IKENGA and several others in Igbo land?

Of what use is the duplication. If Ohanaeze is actually representing the interest of Ndigbo, there would not have been any need for other splinter groups. These splinter groups exist because they feel the right things are not being done. What has Ohaneze achieved for Ndigbo since its creation? Each time our people are killed, the Ohanaeze will issue empty threats not matched by action. Even the so-called apology by Governor Fashola of Lagos State means nothing. What Governor Fashola did shows that Ndigbo are not needed in his state. It is evident that Governor Fashola is getting his own country ready in case something happens tomorrow. He has told Ndigbo to go and prepare for their own country instead of trooping to Lagos state. Ndigbo ought to learn some lessons from the Fashola episode and I don’t blame Fashola because Ndigbo have developed Lagos, , Abuja and several other cities in Nigeria while  ignoring  our own cities in  Biafra land. The moneys used in developing those cities come from here yet, they can’t give us 10% of it to develop our own infrastructure in the South East zone.

Let me tell you now: the money that was used to build third Mainland Bridge Lagos will be enough to build all the roads and flyovers in Imo State. Lagos has been developed to a level that it no longer needs the monthly allocation of funds to survive because it is self- sufficient. Today ,Dangote is building the largest refinery in Africa. One person is building a refinery worth billions of dollars even when those refineries owned by the federal government are not functional; that shows you that some people are carefully preparing themselves for any eventuality. Is it not curious that a federal government whose own refineries are virtually dead would issue a license to an individual to build the largest refinery in Africa? The Flour Mill which    Dr Alex Ekwueme tried to build in Anambara State has since gone moribund while industries are springing up in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and most of these industries are financed by the Federal Government.

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Where are all the moneys they made in the removal of fuel subsidy? They told us that they would use it to build refineries, power plants and others. Have they delivered on their promise? Where has all the money gone? So, my brother this country has to be careful in what they are doing.

Under the independence constitution, derivation was 50 Per cent but now it is 13 per cent. Why is this so?

Thank you for remembering that. It’s because that time the revenues earned were from tin from Jos, groundnut from Kano, cocoa, and so on. Since oil became the major foreign exchange earner, they reduced it to 13 per cent. Can you see that they are not sincere? So, you journalists have a lot of work to do to create awareness among our people because most of our people are no longer thinking? There is no year they will not amend that constitution. What type of constitution is this? They should put it aside and let us now come together to discuss on how to solve our problems; we have even passed the stage of these little discussions, we are now ready to go home and take care of what resources God has given to us in order to develop at our own pace.

 

Governor Fashola dumped 72 abandoned people in Onitsha. A few days ago, another four Anambra indigenes that were killed in by the Boko Haram were buried and Peter Obi was said to be crying. Any comments on this aberration?

Does Peter Obi not know what to do to stop this particular menace? Let him call the legislators of the south eastern zones and tell them what to do. They can put up a Bill and get it to become a law. If they are making governance very difficult for President Jonathan who is merely of Igbo extraction, what will happen if a hardcore Igbo becomes President? So, that seat is not meant for an Igbo man as far as one Nigeria is concerned.

Do we still need the national youth service programme?

You realize that some people are earning a lot from the NYSC programme. If you want to scrap it, they kick against it but for me as an individual, the NYSC has outlived its usefulness and should be scrapped.  What are we benefiting from the Youth service Scheme- a scheme in which most of our young graduates are repeatedly killed like fowls by people who have enjoyed their services? They use it to reintegrate themselves. I think the programme is overdue for scrapping .If you read Lamentation from verse 1-22, you see that these things are happening because we have forsaken God. Today, our virgins are being disvirgined, our women are being forced to marry them and now people are giving birth to monkeys and monsters because we have mingled with the idolatry system in worshipping God. Today, thank God that few of us still remember that God is supreme. If we go before God any ask for forgiveness, he will forgive us and show mercy and we will no longer be playing second fiddle in this country.

 

You seen to be very scriptural, the way you cite biblical passages in your analysis.

Well God created people and said we should honor him. If you trace our origin, we are part of the Jews. God has special love for us and we are claiming it. God gave us series of warnings you can remember when the Israelites were under bondage for many years. Now, there is no way you can achieve anything meaningful without believening in Christ with honesty, you know the road to heaven is very narrow and that is why some of us are retracing our footsteps because we might have erred in the past. God warned us that whenever we went astray, God would visit us with wrath that is unbearable. That is why I referred you to the Book of Lamentations in the Bible. So, read it and you find out that whatever we are suffering today, we caused it because we have gone astray form God

Can we ask Nigeria for Reparation as was done in Europe when the Second World War ended?

That is international law because the whole world fought against Biafra. They will not repay anything because if the pay reparation today, you will become a very wonderful nation. How do you compile it? How much did they take from Biafra land? How much of our parents’ bank deposits did they confiscate by paying a mere 20 Pounds to every bank depositor, irrespective of what was your actual account balance. How about the indigenization policy which enabled them to buy all the shares in big companies when we were fighting in the Civil War and we were ravaged by Kwashiorkor and all manner of suffering from various challenges?. Is it the 20 Nigerian Pounds they gave you that you would use to buy shares in the stock market? In spite of all these factors and because of our lineage, God has always been with us. So, the God who spared us from the war can still revive us if we seek his face. So, reparation does not count now; if they would have done it, they would have done so immediately they said no victor, no vanquished. It took those over 20 years to rehabilitate Onitsha / Owerri and Enugu / Onitsha highways. Enugu airport was transformed to a international airport just last week just last week-over 40 years after the war. We don’t have sea ports. You have to go to Lagos to clear your goods and while you clear the foods, they position their boys on the roads to search and search your luggage in order to create more hardships for you.Calabar wharf is not functional and we know their reasons. It’s only Lagos that they have allowed to be functional. That wharf alone is enough to sustain a nation.

How do people get in contact with you?

As you already know, I am the National President of BILIE Human Rights Initiative and my operational base is Owerri. I operate an open door policy in my relationship with people in regard to my official functions. I can be reached through my GSM LINE NO 08033391126

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