Interventionist Development Agencies before the Emergence of NDDC and the NDDC Itself (Historical Anchor)

The Niger Delta is an important sub-region in the Nigerian Federation. Since the colonial days, the region has always presented one problem or the other. The Henry Willinks Commission set up in 1958 identified the region as being poor backward and neglected. This was the federal Government’s reaction to the problem of the minority which it canvasses. The recommendation of this commission was that, special attention should be devoted to developing the Niger Delta, but did not satisfy the yearning of the people.1

This discovery of oil in 1956 and its subsequent exploration created other problems of ecological degradation and pollution through gas burning and others. The federal government’s second reaction was to establish the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) in 1961 to take of these problems. The impact of this Board was little felt. The special provision for enhanced derivation to revenue allocation was also made to provide additional revenue for the development of the area. But during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, up to the 1982 Revenue Act implemented by the Shagari`s administration gave 1.5% special fund (as derivation benefit) to develop oil producing area. The entire revenue allocation formula was modified by General Buhari’s administration in 1984 via Decrease 36, which reduced government share of oil revenue from 80% to 55%. 32.5 percent went to states and 10% to Local governments.2 Due to poor resource governance, no meaningful development could take place. This led to the agitation for resource control that late Isaac Adaka and Kenure Saro-Wiwa laid their lives for. Unfortunately, all conscious efforts towards the direction of redress were met with repression from the Federal Government.

The discovery of the “black gold” (Crude oil) in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in the mid 1950 by shell (then SHELLD` Archy) had been a source of curse rather than blessing to the people. The continued exploration of the crude oil and its production in commercial quantities for export, have affected the rural people’s conditions of living. As posited by some activities, the lives of the people have turned into a harbinger of misery, poverty and anguish.3 According to Edosomwan,4 these problems are associated with regular oil spills, gas flaring by oil companies, inadequate compensations for damaged crops and land in the areas, no good hospital, pipe-borne water, good learning facilities in schools, no modern road net-works in the areas; no meaningful youth capacity building opportunities in terms of skill training and engagement.5

Therefore, Niger Delta struggles have been centered primarily on environmental degradation, over-exploitation and security problems. According to the Niger Delta Environmental survey,6 most Niger Delta villages and communities lack good roads, portable drinking water, and electricity supply even when they are near flow stations or tank farms, and health care system is still very low. The fight to correct these ills brought losses of many heroes and potential leaders.

The principle of federalism by its operational value is cooperation and understanding as a political system processor. The three tiers of Government must interact with each other at various point of national development through consultation and operation.7 To Enaruna, revenue allocation is one of the problems of Nigerian government and administration in terms of funding projects and programmes due to high political content which bothers generally on acceptable revenue formula in favour of Niger Delta region.8 As a framework of analysis, fiscal federalism significantly attempt here to explain the post-independent revenue allocation formula adopted in Nigeria as represented in the table below.

Table: Post – Independent revenue formula recommended in Nigeria

ITEMS DATE FEDERAL GOVT. % STATE GOVT. % LOCAL GOVT. % SPECIAL FUNDS% TOTAL %
Aboyade commission 1977 57.00 30.00 10.00 3.00 100.00
Okigbo Commission 1980 53.00 30.00 10.00 7.00 100.00
Revenue Allocation 1981 55.00 30.00 10.00 4.50 100.00
Pre-Supreme Court- Legal Decree-Law Pre-April 2002 48.50 24.00 20.00 7.50 100.00
Pre-Supreme Court-RFMAC Proposal August 2001 41.23 31.00 16.00 11.70 100.00
Supreme Court-Ruling April 2002       Unconstitutional  
Post-Supreme Court Executive Order N1 May 2002 56.00 24.00 20.00 0.00 100.00
Post-Supreme court Executive Order N1 July 2002 54.68 24.72 20.00 0.00 100.00
Post-Supreme Court RFMAC Proposal January 2013 46.63 33.00 20.37 0.00 100.00

Source: Http://www.newage-online.com/politics/article 01. Thursday, March 4, 2008 cited in Edigin, L and E. Okomnmah.9

 Before the Aboyade’s Commission of 1977 as presented in the table, there was the Raisman Commission of 1958. However, from the Aboyade Technical Committee of 1977 which recommended three percent (3%) and Okigbo’s Commission recommended seven percent (7%) special fund for the development of Niger Delta areas respectively? Notably in 1981 under the administration of Alhaji Shegu Shagari, the National Assembly reduces the special fund to 4.5% which was increased to 7.5% in 2001 under the pre-Supreme Court Legal Law, the funds were not released accordingly to the interventionist agency responsible for the development of the religion. The Revenue mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which was established in 1992 by the Military regime of president (General) Ibrahim Babaginda (rtd) has not found its fit in recommending a federalist revenue formula that can promote development in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta. This is contrary to Buchanan’s position on the features of creating a “balance” between the contributions made by region and the value of the Public Services referred to the region (the oil producing areas).10 Buchanan further explained that, “under fiscal federalism, an individual (here representing Niger Delta State) is subject to the influence of the fiscal operations of three levels of government.11 This he suggested will promote the efficacy in resource allocation”.

Resource allocation to Nagel Stuart12 as cited in Joseph E. Imhalahimi, is the allocation of resources to all the activities (which includes all round development projects and programmes of the government) and places or units (Oil producing areas in the Niger Delta) in the social formation, with a view to harnessing and equalizing the Marginal rate return of oil production and exploitation that is taken place in the region. J. E. Imhalahimi thus contributed that, an understanding from the above contextual definition reveals that the theory of resource allocation is a budgetary process involving many interests and group of actors (majorly the Federal Government on Policy Plans). Absolutely, equal recognition with other needs without any special Preference or Marginalization is necessary.13

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119           Ibid

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