Obasanjo to Edwin Clark: Oil belongs to Nigeria not Niger Delta


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the crude oil in the Niger Delta region belongs to Nigeria.


He said the country will not make progress if citizens sacrifice state for tribe.


In a letter on Tuesday and addressed to Edwin Clark, Ijaw leader, Obasanjo said tribal allegiance must be suppressed for a state to emerge.


The former president was responding to comments credited to the Ijaw leader. Clark had reportedly said Obasanjo’s “hatred against the Niger Delta people is disappointing”.


The Ijaw leader’s comments came after Obasanjo allegedly attacked Ebipamowei Wodu, national secretary of Ijaw National Congress (INC), over resource control at a recent peace meeting.


Clark said section 140 of the 1963 constitution provided that a natural resource found in a region is to be controlled by the people of the area.


But the former president said the provision did not imply that resources found in any region belongs to the people there.


 “My dear chief, where in this constitutional provision is it said or implied that minerals located in any part of Nigeria belongs to that location? For emphasis and to further buttress the point, the provision is even in the exclusive list – exclusively reserved to the federal government,” he said.


“Let me proceed with the most basic constitutional fact that you cannot have two sovereign entities within a State which is what your position of Niger Delta ownership claim of the crude oil found in that location amounts to. All those who purchase crude oil from Nigeria enter into contractual relationships with Nigeria not with the Niger Delta.


“I have always stood for equity and justice in our federation and, for me, tribe has to be suppressed for the state to emerge. And until the state emerges, Nigeria will not make the desired progress as tribesmen will always sacrifice state for tribe. This has always been my position and it will remain my position until I breathe my last.


“There are many important points that you easily or conveniently left out in your letter.


“Let me now separate the Global Peace Foundation meeting of December 13, 2021 at the instance of Bishop Onuoha and where I participated from the second meeting of CGN which followed on December 14, 2021. We believe that the conclusion and the report of the meeting of December 14, 2021 hold the best position for realistic and pragmatic action for taking the country forward as possible actionable amendment to the constitution before 2023 elections.


“Some of the languages you have deployed to describe me in your letter are offensive, uncouth and I totally and completely rejected them. I am not inconsistent, hypocritical, unstatesman and nor am I anybody’s lackey. You use your own yardstick to judge others.


“I fear God and I respect those who respect themselves and I hope it is about time you change from a tribesman to a statesman of character. That is what Nigeria and indeed the region you profess to love demand of you at this stage.”

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