Former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has said he is willing to let Nigeria’s oil producing states have absolute control of crude oil revenues from their domains.
Mr Abubakar, in an interview with The Africa Report, published on Wednesday, said, “I don’t mind giving even 100% (to Niger Delta), but I would tax those states to maintain the federal government.”
The presidential candidate decried the current federal laws that only allow 13 percent derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigeria’s sweet crude is extracted.
“Even during the First Republic there was this derivation sharing between revenues and resources, or between the regions and the federal government.
“So I think we could have a middle course. It would be unfair to ask me for specifics; that will depend on negotiations,” he noted.
According to him, the country’s constitution which recommends a federal system but implements a unitary one, should be urgently reviewed.
Mr Abubakar noted that the constitution review should be backed with a sovereign document that would engender a more peaceful and economically viable nation.
“Oil revenues still account for over 80 percent of the Nigerian government’s revenues as of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, despite efforts towards economic diversification.
“It could be difficult to achieve reduction of federal government’s share of oil revenues to only taxes paid by about nine oil-producing states while floundering agriculture and services sector,” Mr Abubakar regretted.