From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
As the issue of who owns the oil resources in the Niger Delta rages, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has declared former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is not a democrat.
Speaking in an interview on Arise TV Morning Show against the backdrop of exchange of letters between Obasanjo and foremost Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark, Attah claimed Obasanjo‘s concept of federalism is suspect.
Making reference to the former president’s dictatorial style inherited from his military background and actions in and out of office, he pointed out that Obasanjo carried out many undemocratic acts.
“Let me refer specifically to the letter written by Obasanjo. We all know that He is not a democrat. His letter talked about federalism, his letter talked about sovereignty. I would like to deal with those because those are the fundamental things that have taken us back as a country.
“I say he is not a democrat and I will give you my reasons. If you look at the frequency in which he changed the chairmen of our party. And the same applies to the presidency of the Senate. I think almost every Igbo senator became president of the Senate because if Obasanjo doesn’t want you, you cannot be president of the Senate. And the manner in which he was changing it was far from being democratic.
“But the worst aspect was after he left office, he now decided to come and take over the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees by muscling out Anthony Anehin. And the way he did it was far from being democratic. Now, when he doubles away from democracy and you begin to look at federalism, his understanding of federalism is very suspect.
“Anybody that subscribes to federalism could have done what former President Obasanjo did with the funds that belonged to Lagos State local governments. “That is one. Two, there is no way he would have understood and practiced federalism and would be able to assemble a few legislators from a state in Abuja and have them impeach a properly elected governor of a state. That doesn’t happen in federalism. Those are the things that really worry me when I hear him talk about federalism and the Federal Government and all of that. Because those things don’t just happen, there is a system by which they should happen and that system does not include what happened to me in my issue of oil wells. Look at the way he took the oil wells that belonged to Akwa Ibom State and distributed them to Rivers and Cross River states and decided that we were not oil producing state which is far from the truth. His concept of sovereignty is what worries me the most. He seems to think there is something called sovereignty that owns Nigeria.”
Attah, while insisting that Nigeria should revert to the 1963 Constitution and modify it to suit the present circumstances, maintained that the oil resources in the Niger Delta region belonged to the Niger Delta people.