Open Letter to Gov. Bello: Reserve 30% of Oil Derivation Fund for Development of Ibaji

His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,

The Executive Governor of Kogi State,

Lokoja, Kogi State.

Dear Sir,

Set Up Dedicated Oil Producing Community Development Account and Reserve 30 Percent of Derivation Fund Coming to Kogi State Solely for Ibaji LGA.

The news that Kogi state government has received the first 13% oil derivation fund which marked the beginning of such inflow into state government coffers is heartwarming. Now, every month, the state government will get credited with billions of Naira as oil derivation funds.

I want to start by commending your Excellency’s doggedness and unrelenting efforts to ensure Kogi is enlisted as an oil producing state, with accruing benefits. This is a legacy that will outlast your administration.

Your Excellency, Sir, oil discovery and proceeds from its exploration has been a bitter-sweet experience for most of the endowed communities in Nigeria. While host communities suffer absolute neglect, land degradation, destruction of ecosystem, ending pollution, elites who are not even related to the oil producing communities are cooling off in cozy offices and palatial residences enjoying the proceeds. This absurdity has led to relentless disruption of peace and restiveness. In recent times, this economic terrorism has led to upsurge in armed militancy.

This is not our prayer for Kogi state, hence, this timely appeal to Your Excellency to lay good foundation for enduring peace, progress and development.

Your Excellency is undoubtedly aware that Ibaji is one of the least developed local governments in Kogi state, if not the very least.

I appeal to Your Excellency to dedicate a minimum of 30 percent of the 13% derivation fund accruing to Kogi state solely for the rapid development of Ibaji communities. This, I believe, is a fair deal. The goose that lays the golden egg must be well taken care of.

We have ‘militants’ in Ibaji already. Yes, these patriots waded off all threats from neighbouring states that made attempts to rob Kogi state of the oil producing status we are celebrating today. These ‘militants’ have nothing against Kogi state at the moment, but out actions on what should be their heritage can change the thinking in their midst. I won’t say more about this, for now.

Your Excellency, Kogi cannot afford to be the next Niger Delta in the North. Ensure this new oil producing status is a blessing to state and not a curse.

Set up a dedicated account where 30 percent of the monthly oil derivation fund will be warehoused for rapid development of oil producing communities.

The dedicated account will be used to fund an agency, like the then Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) headed by General Muhammadu Buhari under the late General Sani Abacha regime. The agency will fast track construction and re-construction of both old and new roads across Ibaji LGA. Our health centres, schools and markets will be upgraded. The agency will build mini and mega sports stadiums, establish vocational centres and invest heavily in the agriculture which has been our major area of strength. The proposed agency will ensure quantitative and qualitative educational support system for indigenes of Ibaji. Women and youth empowerment will also be a major focus.

From the 30% Ibaji Development Fund, the agency will come up with short, mid and long term plans to mitigate impact of perennial floods in Ibaji.

Your Excellency, this demand may sound outrageous or ridiculous to some today, but it will be applauded in years to come. The time to be an exception leader is now.

– Abuchi David writes from Abuja.

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