The debate on restructuring Nigeria has reach its highest crescendo in recent times with party divided in favor and against while some others are questioning the real meaning of restructuring.
While the main theme of the restructuring is about devolution of power, the primary fear about this devolution of power, as it would impact the other part of the country still dependent on a central power, is surprisingly ignored and that is the Oil Equation!
Afraid to mention it?
The regions that the status quo favors are afraid to mention this for fear of being tagged parasites, while the other regions are giving an impression of winner takes all in terms of restructuring and control of their resources.
What if we plan a structure that will make the less economically viable state still able to keep to their responsibilities while developing other sources of revenue at the same time, the regions that have the resources maximize its potential without depending on the center?
Until the question of how oil revenue will be shared after restructuring is answered fairly, all other intellectual discourse about return to regions, constitution adoption, devolution of powers, state police etc will still be a wild goose chase.
The Workable and Fair Restructuring
Therefore, the workable proposal to answer the fundamental question about restructuring is a revised onshore/offshore dichotomy.
Under this structure, all areas and resources within internationally recognized 100 nautical miles belongs 100% to the state/regions while all areas and resources from 100 nautical miles to international boundary will be shared 50-50 between the littoral regions and the central govt.
The 50% Revenue from the <100 nautical miles areas due to the central government will then be allocated in fair formula to the non-oil states/regions.
This will ensure that allocations will still be shared to state, for development and administration overhead albeit relatively lower which should galvanized them to look for more productive means to generate IGR and consequently provide infrastructure for businesses to thrive.
The present oil titles will still be in place until their expiration. This will allay the fears of multinationals coys, their governments and private individuals (whether North or South) in the continuity of their investment plan. The only change will be the account which they would be paying their royalties.
To ensure that this works, the national oil company NNPC will be ONLY responsible for petroleum activities outside the 100 nautical miles while the regions and partners will operate their own oil coys.
Nigeria has a lot to gain by remaining united in terms of military force, judicial strength, educational advancement and market for products and services, however, no region has the right to drag back the progress of another region or hold the nation to ransom.
We must remain one and we must progress, restructuring is the only way forward and the oil revenue must still be shared.