The Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, blamed the National Assembly members from the region for the three per cent approved for the oil-producing communities.
Okowa, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olise Ifeajika, said, “They (South-South National Assembly members) went partisan.
They went political and voted where their party wanted them to vote, throwing away the well-being of their people.
“It is unfortunate; so, it is not for the governors. If it were for the governors, they would have done it the other way round. It is a matter of law and they are the lawmakers the people voted for to go there and protect their interests; but they failed instead.
“Of course, Delta State has three senators in the National Assembly representing the people; so, Mr President was right to have said the law is the making of all Nigerians, because every local government area is represented in the National Assembly and they passed the bill.
“The PIB has nothing to do with the governors. It is the people, especially the oil producing areas, though the governors are part of the people. So, the way it will affect every other person in the area, it is the same way it will affect the governors.
“If anybody is to be blamed, it is the lawmakers, especially those from oil producing areas. It is regrettable that our own people left the integrity of the bill, left the yearnings of their people and went partisan to support the bill at the detriment of their people.
“Delta State alone has three senators; only one senator voted in favour of the yearnings of his people; in other words, he was against the others, while the two senators because they are in the APC voted for the three per cent against the yearnings of their people.
“If the people are going to hold anyone accountable, they should hold the lawmakers, particularly those from the Niger Delta’s oil-producing areas that voted for the three per cent.”
He added, “If they had dropped partisanship and saw the will of the people, who sent them there to represent them as important, it wouldn’t have been like that.
“We saw how Ndudi Elumelu led the minority caucus of the House of Representatives out of the chamber. We didn’t see such at the Senate, so it is a matter of our people failing us. They politicised the matter at the expense of the wish and well-being of the oil-bearing communities.”
Ifeajika said if the lawmakers had listened to the voice of their people and protected their interest and removed the issue of party, they would have voted against the three per cent and maybe the bill would not have been ready to be signed.