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VIEWPOINT: OIL, OIL POLITICS AND THE NORTH BY IGWEBUIKE

The north has always laid claims to have bankrolled the oil exploration, in the Niger Delta Region. False! False!! False!!!

There were factors responsible for the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, by Lord Fredrick Luggard. The two most important reasons why the unholy marriage by Britannic Winminster was actualized was because of finance and the import-export of raw materials and finished goods, through the instrumentality of railway.

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The northern protectorate was a piece of huge financial baggage for Imperial Britain in the yearly recurrent and capital expenditure. It came to pass, that as it is generally known, that while the North produced cash crops. Cotton and Groundnuts, which are usually more in output than the South, but in economic value, the palm oil, rubber, and cocoa were of higher financial returns. The colonial power, in this instance, Britain, was not prepared to run her administrative costs with British taxpayers’ funds in this configuration in Africa, south of the Sahara.

The very buoyant Southern Protectorate had to foot the bill, no wonder the hurriedly packaged amalgamation, with one pro-British Yoruba lawyer and a handful of unexposed, illiterate, and subservient traditional rulers, majorly from the Fulani aristocratic conclave.

The big question is if the monies from the South were used for subsidizing the annual budget of Royal British Nigeria after the 1914 so-called agreement, how then is it possible for the North to fully finance oil exploration in the Delta oil basin? I have tried as much as possible to carry out a highly researched work on the ways and means, which led to the funding of oil exploration in Nigeria, and nowhere was the North, ever mentioned.

Through my research findings, I hereby posit that it was Shell and Shell alone, NOT the Nigerian government that was responsible for the entire funding of oil exploration in Nigeria. In a scholarly published work by George G. Frynas, Shell spent nearly seven million pounds, between 1937 and 1953, before oil was discovered in noncommercial quantities in Akata, very close to Eket in today’s Akwa Ibom State.

It remains an open secret to petroleum historians, that Shell spent another four million pounds, before striking oil in commercial quantities in Oloibiri in 1956. It came to pass, that from 1956, the Nigerian government never had any shares in the oil industry, apart from the mandatory payment of royalties to her by Shell, until 1973, when the Federal Government of Nigeria took over 30% of the shares from Shell. I will love to point out that by 1973, Nigeria as a sovereign state had a 12 state structure, and the nomenclature termed Northern Nigeria, has become history.

WRITTEN FRANK IGWEBUIKE

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