Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Procurement, Hon. Uju Kingsley Chima, has thrown his weight behind the clamour for Nigeria’s president of Igbo in 2023.
Chima said it would only be fair for the country to consider the zone that has not produced a president in the political equation.
The lawmaker who represents Ohaji Egbema, Oguta, Oru West Federal Constituency of Imo State, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, however, urged the south-east geopolitical zone to start reaching out to other zones in their aspiration to govern the country.
Chima who spoke to some National Assembly correspondents over the weekend also stated that Nigeria needed a president who would pursue the development of the country evenly.
He said: “I have always said that the clamour for Igbo presidency is not a bad one. We support the clamour and at the same time, we enjoin the Igbo leaders of both business, political and even student extractions to go out there and lobby other zones of the country so as to partner with them on the project. No single region can produce the president of this country. So, what it means is that there must be a symbiotic effort in order to produce the next president of Nigeria.
“In all fairness, every Nigerian is very eminently qualified to run for the president of the country but whether you are from point A, B or C, we don’t want to have a president of Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa. That’s the dream of we, the youths of this country. We are praying to have a president of Nigeria with a national interest in national development. And that when we shall say that we have gotten it right 100 per cent.
“And such a president shall be vested with the interest of developing this country no matter where you come from. Whether you are from the East, West, South or North, you will see Nigeria as your Constituency. We don’t want a president that will see this country as just one small or big zone. I don’t succumb to this cheap argument of one village producing president. Mind you, we have over 100 ethnic groups in this country. What it means is that the ethnic groups will be laying claims to the president.
“But then, I strongly believe that if we will have our way, we want the president of this country to come from those areas that have not produced the president and that will actually give some level of unification to the entire country. That’s my take on this one.”
Speaking on the necessity of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, Chima, a member of the ad-hoc committee on the bill said the passage of the piece of legislation would enhance development and give returns to oil host communities of the Niger Delta region.
“Let me be very frank with you on issues of PIB, public hearings and the anticipatory acceptance of the bill by both the Nigerian people, the 9th national assembly and the general public.
“If we are allowed to actually pass that bill into law, the oil-producing communities of Nigeria will be peaceful. There will be developed there and that will actually increase revenue for the country. Check the record of DPR, you will see the volume of the loss of crude oil as a result of either theft, militancy or whatever name you can call it. But with this PIB, it becomes a participatory governance regime. What I mean by this is that it will be a regime where the host communities will see the dividends and fruits of their God-given resources.
“They will manifest in the way of the management of these resources and let me tell if anybody canvassing that the host Communities should not be given more revenue accruable from oil, it is not the best for us at this time. A lot of people canvassed earlier for it. That was in 1999. They called it to resource control and all forms of agitations and in the magnanimity of the immediate, I think, Yar’Adua administration that gave room to the peace we are having today because of the promises given to the Niger Delta people, I will still canvass that the PIB should be supported by Nigerians, my colleagues in the 9th assembly and the host Communities.
“I have spoken with some of the host communities from the 9 states and I think within a short time, I think they have resolved the issue of who speaks for them.
“What matters is the ability of the national assembly to give you your due in the PIB. We have what we called the national oil company which is coming on board with the PIB. We have the percentage for the host communities. We will constitute a governance regime board. That will give impetus to the effective management of the derivatives to the Communities. One good thing about it is that Communities will actually nominate who represent them in this board and that where if you are a thief from the community and you are being nominated to the board, after a period of time, your attitude will be displayed and the community will actually ostracize you. What I mean by this is bringing people who are directly impacted by oil exploration will give some flesh to the developmental drive of these communities.”
On the host communities kicking against the government recommended 2.5 per cent as compensation, Chima said they could get more than the figure if they rally round the lawmakers.
“That’s why it is a bill. It’s not rocket science. Why we are members of the PIB Committee is to enable us to go through the proposals of the Executive arm of government and if 2.5 per cent is not enough, our duty again is to look into it and see how we can upgrade it. But I know it will never go down. It’s a matter of input coming from the members of the national assembly and that’s why I advise the host communities and other States of the Niger Delta region, there is no need fighting yourselves. Come and discuss on the table with the members of the national assembly to see how you can have improvement on the percentage allotted or coming from the Executive bill so that it can be upgraded.
“It is not a matter of fighting yourselves It’s like you fighting for resources when it has not been given to you. You don’t control the Resources. It doesn’t make sense but I can assure you that the committee will come up with a bill and act that will better or give quality lives to the people of the Niger Delta area”, he said.