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Oil parasite controversy: Why Northern govs fail – Ex-dep governor

Posted by By DESMOND MGBOH, Kano on 2008/08/16 | Views: 1246 |

Oil parasite controversy: Why Northern govs fail – Ex-dep governor

Immediate past deputy Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia has dismissed as flawed a blanket accusation that successive governors of the Northern region had not lived up to expectation.

Immediate past deputy Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia has dismissed as flawed a blanket accusation that successive governors of the Northern region had not lived up to expectation.

Hassan said in an interview with Daily Sun in Kano that the suggestion of complicity in the failure of the Northern region to reach certain expected development benchmarks, made recently by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav lacked merit and without proof. He also condemned leaders of the Niger Delta region who described Northern people as oil parasites.

The ACF had in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani blamed the successive governors for their failure to develop the North.
Similarly, Tsav, former Lagos Commissioner of Police accused the former governors of North of failing to develop agriculture in the area and turn it into a foreign currency earner.
But Alhaji Hassan, a respected legal practitioner countered the criticisms, which, he contended were done in error by people who did not appreciate the peculiar challenges of leadership in the North.
While admitting that chances were that some of the previous governors in the North had misplaced their priorities and were not sincere with their people, the former deputy governor argued that, “Some (of the governors) too have done fairly well and deserve some kind of decent exclusion from these sorts of unfavourable comments from members of the public.”

Hassan maintained that it was unfortunate that Nigerians thought of leadership in terms of just money and resources that could help change the economic prospects of the people without due regard to other fundamental variables that made for a successful administration.
The former deputy governor observed that the performances of some of the governors in the North were affected by the absence of the right kind of expertise and man power. He said: “For instance, as a governor, you have to have the right kind of people, people who share in your vision and are ready to help you pilot your vision to reality. Unfortunately, in some of the states in the North, there exists an apparent shortage of highly skilled human resources, to help these governors implement some of the technical issues in governance.”

He added that even where the state had the human resources, some of the dynamics of the political arena in Nigeria did not permit for the proper harnessing of the expertise. Hassan cited issues including party interest and political divides as constituting obstacles to the governor and denying him the opportunity to recruit the best hands available in the state.

Hassan noted that even in such scenarios where the governor had shown the interest to invite such an expert, chances were that the person in question might decline because of his sympathy for the other party. He said such political consideration, with dire consequences once breached, also hindered some of the Northern governors from recruiting experts from outside their states of origin to help them deliver on their promises to the people.

Turning to the people of the Niger Delta region, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan berated them for their perceived culture of laziness and also for their unfair attack on the people of the North. He reasoned that the people of the Niger Delta region had, over the years, failed to add any significant value to the oil in their area and had contributed far less to the national wealth, apart from the fact that the oil was explored in their land.

He asked: “What other value have they added to oil, apart from the fact that it is farmed in their area? How many of them are involved in the extraction of this oil in the first place? How many of them are gainfully employed in the oil production process, if we should take it from this simplistic viewpoint? If today we ask all the oil serving companies to leave with their personnel, I tell you they would not be able to source, among them, their people, who can hold forth in the sector for even a day.

Hassan said the Northern region had been playing a significant role in national development saying that oil was a national asset, just as agriculture was a national asset before the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta region, and was used for the overall development of the country.

The ex-deputy governor advised Nigerians to channel their energies toward the possibility of discovering alternatives to oil as the mainstay of the nation’s economy, instead of the present wrangling over the ownership of the nation’s oil or over who is surviving on the resources of the other region.

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