The social milieu today has not dramatically changed in any way rather all the factors that led to a all nation being hoodwinked by Capitalist deceits are here with us. Some Activists and Civil Society groups know this to be true and seek to lead the victims to understand the dynamics of politics across a broad spectrum of reality.
The struggle for resource control had historically been fraught with hazards. State and its agents often view every singular agitation for social and economic inclusion with suspension and its concession as a sign of erosion of state power. The state assumes that such would often trigger a fresh round of demands and a gradual affront on monopoly of economic and political resources.
Citizenship and popular empowerment are incompatible with the liaises faire capitalist globalization, with its philosophy of survival of the fittest. The wind of struggle in Africa and globally is difficult to ignore, all around the world, people are expressing increasing desire to have a say in how they are governed and equally how to have control over the natural resources under their soil.
It is against this backdrop, that civil society groups differ sharply on the recent passage of the PIGB. This differential perspective definitely is not far from the ideological or ethnic irredentism posture of different organizations and its promoters. In May 2017, the Senate passed the PIGB while the Federal House of Representatives is still working on the bill. This hasty passage of the bill smacks of hidden agenda by the Green Chamber, some critics commented.
The herculean journey to carry out a legislative reform in the petroleum industry started in 1999 with the emergence of civil rule. There has been a growing call for for this overdue reform to reposition and operate in a dynamic and fast oil and gas industry. It was considered an aberration for the primary regulatory instrument to be a 1968 military decree that emanated under uneasy circumstances of a civil war.
In view of the protracted and tortuous journey, the bill passed through in the Legislature; various interests have been in the trenches including civil society groups to intervene when the bill goes through any stage in the journey. Reactions continued trailing its evolution as the bill appears in new nomenclature at every passage. Therefore, it was not shocking and strange when the May 2017 version came out as a mutilated and doctored to the preference of the overwhelming interest groups including the federal government.
Since the passage in the Senate, another round of reactions and agitations are triggered as cacophony of voices rent the air in the public domain on the PIGB conversation. In this direction, two reputable and credible groups in the civil society community differ ostensibly in its reactions.
While Social Development Integrated Centre considers the PIGB as passed by the Senate to have serious flaw, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre commends it as giant legislative stride by the National Assembly. The two groups have sharp differences in their reservations about the PIGB informed by the nature of its promoters, ethnic and ideological leanings as the basis of their interests in their advocacy for a better Nigeria.
As we await the resurgence of reactions and agitations by various aggrieved ethnic oil producing communities and their sympathizing civil society groups, we in the socialist tendencies and progressive left admonish the federal government and the legislature to consider the plight and grievances of host communities and its people
- Comrade Alex Ameh Ogbu is an Abuja based Media Practitioner and a prolific writer that writes mostly from Akatekwe Kingdom. He can be reached via: email@example.com
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