National Assembly Politics

Chris Ekpenyong Blasts Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Makarfi, Others Over 13 Per Cent Derivation’

Chris Ekpenyong Blasts Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Makarfi, Others Over 13 Per Cent Derivation’

Chris Ekpenyong Blasts Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Makarfi, Others Over 13 Per Cent Derivation’

But for the determination of a former Akwa Ibom State Governor Victor Attah against pressure from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some northern governors, the Southsouth would have lost out on the 13 per cent oil derivation funds.

The senator representing Akwa Ibom Northwest (Ikot Ekpene) District, Christopher Ekpenyong made the claim yesterday.

Ekpenyong, who was Attah’s deputy between 1999 to 2005 said, the state capital, that Obasanjo and some former northern governors bullied SouthSouth governors into silence on the 13 per cent derivation.

In his view, the derivation arrears are the fruit of Attah’s labour, adding that the former governor was persecuted for agitating for the abrogation of the onshore/offshore dichotomy and payment of the 13 per cent benefits as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

His words: “Governor Attah sought the payment of 13 per cent and people misconstrued him. It was just that the 13 per cent was entrenched in Section 164 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“That provision was not adhered to by the then President and that led to Obong Attah pressing for President Obasanjo to sign it. God in his benevolence stood by us and Governor Attah became a hero.

13 Per Cent Derivation’
Sen. Chris Ekpenyong

“It even got to a point that we went to seek a legal interpretation of the 13 per cent. I think that case was won. I had the opportunity to know a lot about the matter because Obong Attah sometimes delegated powers to me to perform certain functions.’

According to Ekpenyong, some northern governors used to plead with him to discourage Attah from pressing on with the agitation.

“Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State then, who is now running for President, came to Akwa Ibom State and called me, even Governor Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna, they asked me whether we want to secede from Nigeria, I said ‘no.’ They said because you are agitating for resource control, it’s like you want to secede. I told them that they are getting him (Attah) wrong. Credit must go to Obong Attah for standing firm,” Ekpenyong said.

The senator praised President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the release of the funds and suggested that an increase would be good for Niger Delta states.

“Let’s believe that an increase on the 13 per cent will come to pass. I sat with Obasanjo at one time and we talked about an increase in derivation to about 25 per cent. I remember one day while I was worshipping with him, he told me he would have loved to do that, but that the northerners would not agree but that he can persuade them to allow him to increase it to 17 per cent”, he said.

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