Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Politics of Resource Control and Revenue Allocation: Implications for the Sustenance of Democracy in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Politics of Resource Control and Revenue Allocation: Implications for the Sustenance of Democracy in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

The agitation for the control of resources by the oil producing states in the Niger-Delta area is one of the major challenges confronting the nation and our nascent democracy. This controversial issue has re-surfaced during the recently concluded National Conference held between April and August 2014. The delegates from the oil producing states (south-south) demanded for between 25.5% to 50% derivation funding, which was not approve by the conference members. This paper analyses the nature and scope of this agitation and its implications for the sustenance of democratic federal system in Nigeria. The problem of mass poverty and unemployment among youths in Nigeria coupled with collapse of infrastructure, environmental degradation and pauperization of land in the Niger - Delta due to the activities of oil companies were the factors responsible for the trend. The main thrust of the recommendations hinged on ensuring a reasonable and fair sharing formula for the country's resources, and making adequate compensation to the people of the area through infrastructural development by both governments and the participating oil companies.

Keywords: resource control, revenue sharing, sustenance of democracy, Nigeria

1. Introduction

The quest for a reasonable and fair sharing formula for Nigeria's resources has remained a burning issue since independence. The current debate over resource control in the country centers on the question of whether the Federal Government should continue to have total control of the proceeds obtained in the Niger-Delta area or that the oil producing states should be allowed to take greater percentage of the wealth from their land. The debate has also raised the question about whether government at the federal and states level and the participating oil companies are doing what were expected, in terms, of the provision of goods and services and infrastructural facilities to cater for the needs of the people in the area that suffered from ecological destructions and soil degradation. This appears to be one of the major challenges facing the present civilian dispensation in the country and with which it has to contend for democracy to thrive in the country. The answer to the problem of resource control should be sought partly in the principle of fiscal federalism which provides functional responsibilities and fiscal relations to be performed by the different tiers of government and financial resources that can be raised for provision of collective goods and services (Dunmoye, 2002; Abdullahi, 2013).

2. Theoretical Consideration

In order to understand the nature, and dynamics of the agitation for resource control in Nigeria, this paper adopts the theory of pluralism as most appropriate in the explanation of the subject matter. In political theory, pluralism is a concept that describes the heterogeneity of groups that share power in public policy making. According to Dunmoye (2002), the cultural pluralism model was best used by famous scholars like (Nnoli, 2000; Egwu, 2003), to describe the heterogeneous nature of the Nigerian state. From this model we understand that Nigeria is a nation state made up of many ethnic groups (over 300 ethnic groups). This model focuses on the social structure and identifies the socio-cultural forces that influence the political process and determine the political and other relations in the society. This led to increasing fears of domination and marginalization among small groups by the larger, stronger groups. It also created among various groups the desire to gain or exercised control over their own resources which will give them the opportunity to have greater say in the nation's politics (Kwanashie, 2002). This brings into focus the conflict in the relationship between the center and the component units in a federation like Nigeria. More so in the case of Nigeria there had not been any serious attempt at any level between these groups to integrate among themselves and evolve into coherent nationhood. …

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