By Adamu Bello Mai-Bodi
The member representing Bauchi Federal constituency, Hon. Yakubu Shehu (Wakilin Birni) pulled up his trousers and went into the gutters to ensure Bauchi State is rightly apportioned what it deserves from the Federal Government. Furthermore, the lawmaker moved a motion during the plenary on Thursday 15, July 2021, seeking to declare Bauchi State an oil-producing state given that oil exploration started in 2018 in Alkaleri LGA of the state. This is nothing short of bravery; it depicts Yakubu’s sheer love and concern for the development of his state.
Yakubu boldly puts it bare on the floor that it has become imperative to ascertain the fortunes at the disposal of the Federal Government in Alkaleri LGA so as to hasten the process of giving effect to the provisions of the new Petroleum Industry Bill, 2021, in terms of the economic benefit the host community stands to gain.
As a Bauchi citizen, I couldn’t hold back my applause when Yakubu asserted that any community from whose location oil is discovered and or produced is entitled to some extra monetary packages for the upkeep of its environment, infrastructure and health impact. He went further and bolder to make a case for the people of Bauchi to start benefiting from the 13% derivation being the constitutional right in the form of an incentive to the host community.
As expected, the motion, which Hon. Mansur Manu Soro seconded nearly divided the House for obvious reasons, one of which is that there are no reports of production from the Kolmani Well. Notwithstanding, the Ayes have it after a third submission by the Speaker of the lower chamber. It is a crying shame that most of southern Nigeria’s media houses hypocritically reported that the House overwhelmingly rejected the motion despite the fact that the Speaker ruled in favour of the Ayes.
By sponsoring such a critical motion, Wakilin Birni has won a bravery medal for himself and some degree of prestige and assurances for the Pearl of Tourism. Moreover, the motion gives Bauchi people a sense of victory, for it puts Gombe’s unfounded contest over the oil field to a permanent rest. It also serves as a groundbreaking argument for declaring Bauchi an oil-producing state in the country, which shall come to pass God willing.
However, the most crucial component of the brave Yakubu’s motion was his prayer to mandate the committee on petroleum resources (upstream) to invite the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to give a comprehensive presentation on the level of work in the oil exploration currently undertaken in Alkaleri and the successes recorded. This is because we don’t want to be taken for a ride or fall into the same ditch as the Mambila hydropower project that was nearly completed on paper. Bauchi people and Nigerians need to know what is going on in the Kolmani River.
As I applaud Hon. Yakubu, I want to assure him that all well-meaning Bauchi citizens are solidly behind him on this. He must not relent, especially on mandating the committee on petroleum resources (upstream) to invite the NNPC to give a progress report on their undertaking of oil exploration in our state.
Adamu Bello Mai-Bodi writes from Gidado Bombiyo residenceK/Kaji Azare. He can be reached via 08067481928.