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Over-dependence on oil revenue killing northern economy – Sagay

By Michael Eboh

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Professor Itse Sagay has chided the Northern states and politicians from the region over their clamour for a review of the sharing formula for the country’s oil earnings.

Prof. Sagay said with the over dependence of the Northern region on proceeds from oil revenue, they have given up the entitlement of their whole region to productivity, self-sufficiency and economic independence.

“It would appear that for the short term gratification provided by Niger Delta Oil proceeds, these Northern Politicians are prepared to surrender their freedom and independence to what has clearly become a severe addiction,” he said.

Sagay, who was speaking on a paper, titled, ‘Good governance and enforcement of law and order at the Management Day Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Management, NIM, in Lagos,’ said, “This is why I feel sad whenever Northern Politicians, Governors and their intellectual elite demand an equal share with the Niger Delta States, of the oil and gas proceeds of the latter.”

He said that the total dependence on Niger Delta Oil proceeds by the North is ultimately a great misfortune.

Sagay further stated that great export earnings crops with which the northern region was known for in the past have all disappeared, while major industries have all closed shops due to neglect and over-dependence on monthly federal allocations.

“The great export earning crops like groundnuts, cotton, gum arabic and many others have disappeared.  Industries like the great textile, leather and many others have died – all because of monthly hand outs from Abuja,” he noted.

He maintained that the far North could rival Argentina in the production and exportation of chilled beef, adding that developing the beef market in the north could have helped drive the economy of the region.

Sagay said, “But unfortunately, as long as there is oil and gas in the Niger Delta, that sort of major industry initiative which could propel the North into wealth and development will never see the light of day.

“How long will Fulani herdsmen continue to drive cattle on foot from the far North to the South, clashing in conflict with farmers all the way?

“When will their State Governments introduce a life changing detour that will see these men metamorphose into beef industry barons, and their environment into a 21st century modern society.


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