Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang was ?50 years old on ?August 27. Celebrating his golden jubilee, he spoke his mind on several issues facing the nation ranging from security challenges and endless controversies on sharing modalities of oil revenues.

He asked Federal Government to revoke oil blocks which has been the exclusive preserve of the north.?Inalegwu?Shaibu?reports. Excerpt: ?

With the endless security challenges facing the nation, would you say the time is ripe for establishment of state police?

I am becoming a lot more concerned. I had supported the establishment of state police partially. But as a member of the constitution review committee I will have to hear the rest of Nigerians before I will say this is how I will vote. But I am disappointed in the way the argument is going. It is going in the direction of the north against the south and that is not the aim of the discussion.

 

The aim of the discussion is to point out the advantages and disadvantages. During a radio programme on the viability of state police or not that I was invited to recently, somebody called in to give us the experience of Azikiwe, Sarduana and Awolowo during the campaigns in the 60s.

He said that it was not easy for Sarduana to go for campaigns in the southern parts because the state police at that time did not allow people to have free campaigns. And that they at that time could not go for campaign freely in north because state police at that time constituted security problems.

I must confess that these are all the ideas I never heard. I have heard more submission of retired IGs of police. These are matters that we should take as inputs in deciding whether or not to have state police. But we should also decide more whether if the Federal Government is funding the police properly.

There is also the fear that members of the public and those who will be in control of state police in the state may use the opportunity to recruit persons who may not have had the mental orientation, patriotic zeal, education and exposure to be in the state security system into the police system for peculiar political reasons.

I am not drawing conclusion on the matter but these are the issues I will take into account in taking final decision. And I will have to go to my state, relate with my governor and with the people I represent. I will have to go on the hearings from other geopolitical zones.

And then come back with a position or vote this way or that. What I plead now is that we should not allow the debate on whether or not we should have state police degenerate to a sectional team of Northern and southern governors or any section against the other. That is the reason why I think the President should handle it.

Do you not think that state police can? become better with time if introduced now?

I have not drawn conclusion. These are all matters that we would take into account in agreeing or disagreeing on state police. But my main submission is that we should not allow it become a sectional issue. There should not be a situation where governors from the north take a position against governors from the south. There should not be a situation where the houses of assembly in the north take a position against those of the south. There should not be an ethnic or sectional thing.

What is your reaction on coat of arm introduced in Bayelsa State?

I have been more concerned than you,and I want to state that Mr. President should take serious and decisive actions to nip all these in the bud. First, I am impressed at the actions he has taken in respect of the Boko Haram matter.

The National Security Adviser has given indication that they are dialoguing with the group. Remember at the early stage of this I had said it was easy and better to go dialoguing and to adopt the amnesty approach to it. I had also submitted that it is necessary for us to also adopt exchange of arms for money. So far, the President has taken that step but I believe that there is much more to be done in that direction.

The southern part of Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta, has come with its own by declaring intent of self determination, the other ones have taken steps to say we are a federation, we can have our own coat of arms and state song.

They are not saying they are not part of Nigeria yet or they will not recognize the national anthem. I have observed this perhaps from Cross River State in 2000-2007 when they had a state song. I had been disturbed about it. But I discovered it was their own way of creating their own identity and boosting their own tourism, and a means of inculcating statism. But I believe that this should also go far enough to inculcate the love for the country. I am a lot concerned about the action of Bayelsa state.

The governor,Mr. Seriake Dickson is my friend, my colleague. We worked together in the House of Representatives. I was chairman Rules and Business and he was Chairman House committee on Justice. I remember also that he was attorney general of that state, I think under Goodluck Jonathan as governor of Bayelsa State, and this is the state of the President. I believe that the President should not just think that this is the matter of the state. Agreed it is a matter of the law of the state and persons who are aggrieved should go to court but coming from Bayelsa State, the state of the President, I think? he should be more concerned about it.

Although the governor may have a reason for playing up the federalism in Nigeria that being a state within the federal constituency of Nigeria he can do certain things within the limits of statism without compromising the integrity of Nigeria. He may be practicing federalism at an advanced stage.

But I will call that people should be prepared to go to court either to seek to nullify it or affirm it. It is the declarations of court in this instance that will enable us practice this federalism more. In matters of revenue allocation, there have been oil that we mining, who are the owners of the oil blocks?

How many persons in the South-South have oil blocks? It is the TYs, the Mai Daribes that owned the oil blocks, mostly people from the North-East and the North West. No single person from Akwa Ibom State owns an oil block.

They owned the oil blocks, they produce hundred percent, they give 13 percent and keep 87 per cent, that is what is causing problem now.

Let us take steps that would not cause further declarations. Let us revoke the entire oil blocks and re-allocate them on the bases of the equality of zones and states. And why are we not taking oil from the Bauchi and the Benue trough and the Chad basin.

Niger republic is taking oil from the Chad basin using lateral drilling. They are drilling oil from Borno, and it is suspected that it is most people from Nigeria that own these oil blocks and I understand we are importing from Niger. This is what should be the discussion now and not the abolition of the onshore/offshore dichotomy.

You will soon turn 50, how has the journey been?

I give all glory to God because I believe that God is so faithful, precious and good to me. I started my political career at a very young age as a councilor, about 25, 26 years and about 28, 29 I was at the State House of Assembly, and in mid 30s I was in the House of Representatives and at 50, I am in the Senate.

Therefore I look back to it with gratitude to God and look back and see myself as a person whom Nigeria has invested in by giving me lots of political opportunities.

I will keep what I have being doing, that is telling the truth, to do everything to make sure that the government is doing well. I will do everything to make sure that Nigeria survives as one country. Nigeria?s integrity, education, economic growth and future Nigerian children, growth of industry, and growth of truth in governance are sustained.

What are your high and low points?

Anything you consider low points have been a challenge to make you correct or get to the next level. Every action of my life, every opportunity I have had has been my high points. Every challenge I have had has been my low points which have been like a stepping stone to get to higher point.

In the Bible before you can go to heaven, you must develop and build yourself spiritually, you must avoid certain things that will make the Lord angry with you. You must fast and punish your body. So those things you consider low points were moments of my fasting, moments of sacrifices, moments that I have to learn, that I have to experience what others experienced.

 

The entirety of my life has been high points because I have had everything going for me. I have had a good family, good political relationship, and good relationship with friends. I have had trust; the greatest I have always enjoyed is trust of the people I worked with. In the House of Representatives I had trust of all the leaderships.

Now in the Senate, I will maintain absolute loyalty to the leadership of the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and the entire Senate, because it may not just be about David Mark, it may not just be about the Senate, the country, I believe that every position God has placed me, I will always give my utmost knowing that there are persons in life who throughout their life time were not able to have these opportunities I have had.

And I will urge those who are having hard words against some persons in government, saying remove him to accept that God places every person in authority. One thing I always want us to do is that when you are in particular position, ask God to enable you to fulfill the purpose for which He has placed you in that position.

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