President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday that new oil discoveries in Bauchi and Gombe will assist to balance the country’s “oil politics.” Mr Buhari was alluding to the Niger Delta’s political clout as a result of its vast petroleum reserves.
“Now oil has almost become irrelevant, but we thank God that oil is now discovered in Bauchi and Gombe and that will help to balance the politics of oil in the country,” Mr Buhari said.
The President made the remarks in Maiduguri, Borno State when completing projects in the northeastern state completed by Governor Babagana Zulum.
Mr Buhari has been accused of encouraging sectionalism in order to benefit his northern supporters. Nonetheless, under his leadership, the region has suffered the most in terms of instability and widespread poverty.
Mr Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill into law in August, despite protests from southern governors, parliamentarians, and oil-producing communities.
Governors, parliamentarians, and oil-bearing host communities in the South have protested the National Assembly’s decision to give the host communities only 3% of oil profits.
The bill is also a “shame to democracy, disdain for the will of the people, and insensitivity to the miseries of the Niger Delta peoples,” according to the Peoples Democratic Group, an opposition party.
Mr Buhari, on the other hand, quickly signed the law after the National Assembly approved it in a fractious manner.
On Friday, Mr Buhari stated that the federal government will prioritize the development of new oil locations in the face of economic hardship, growing poverty, and public demand for equality.
“We will quickly develop that and we are putting pipelines across the country to cut the use of vehicles destroying roads. Within the next 17 months, Nigerians should be able to judge what this administration has done under my leadership when we came in terms of security, the economy, and the most difficult one which is fighting corruption,” Mr Buhari said.