Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has weighed in on the heated arguments about the ownership of natural resources including oil found in the Niger Delta region.
Adebanjo said Niger Delta owns the oil found in the region, faulting the claims made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that oil found in the Niger Delta region belongs to Nigeria constitutionally.
The New Diplomat had reported that Obasanjo while speaking Obasanjo at the forum convened by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa in Abuja, said oil is situated in Niger Delta region is resources placed in the soil by God and belonged to Nigeria as a whole.
Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ijaw National Congress (IJC), Chief Edwin Clark, had rejected the claims of Obasanjo, saying that his comments that the oil found in the Niger Delta region does not belong to the people of the Niger Delta represent his continuous arrogant stance and disposition against the Niger Delta Region.
“Natural resources found in regions were controlled by the people of the regions in the country as enunciated in Section 140 of the 1960 Constitution,” Clark had said.
But Adebanjo while speaking on the controversy wondered why Obasanjo based his arguments on constitution that was imposed on the country by the military government.
Adebanjo insisted that oil belongs to the Niger delta.
In his words, “I was shocked and highly disappointed that the General was quoting profusely from the military imposed a constitution on the country. A constitution that has been described as fraudulent and rejected since its introduction.”
Speaking further, the Afenifere leader said his group will not support any candidate in 2023 until the 1999 constitution is amended to suit the current realities.
Recently, one of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced his ‘lifelong’ ambition of contesting in the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking on the candidate his group will support in 2023, Adebanjo said the public discourse should be on amending the 1999 constitution and not on the 2023 General elections.
He continued, “We are not contending who is the president now because we don’t believe in the constitution until that constitution is changed, we will talk of who the president should be.
“We have no candidate now until the constitution is changed because I don’t want to go on an uncharted sea.
“You must agree on the constitution before you say you want to be part of it. I am not going to be part of a constitution that is a military constitution. That is the bone of contention, which Buhari has not disputed. The constitution we are operating a military constitution.
“Let us pray we should all be in 2023, the rest is speculation. That is our stand.
“We want a change of the constitution, if that constitution is not changed, I don’t discuss where the presidency should go to.
“Why do I say so? When I don’t believe in the 1999 constitution, why should I be telling you who should be the next president?
“The constitution we are working with is not acceptable, when we agree on the constitution, then we will decide who should be supported.”