A group of Nigerian professionals across various energy converged in Sokoto State and examined various challenges facing the Nigerian Energy industry at a colloquium convene bt Engr Zayyanu Tambari yabo..
The Theme of the second edition “THE ROLE OF ENERGY IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT” whch held on the 14TH OF December, 2019 AT GIGINYA HOTEL SOKOTO was tailored toward addressing the Nigeria’s energy challenge.
At the conference, Some energy experts called for the amendment of the Electricity Reform Act to enable states generate power using areas in which they have a comparative advantage. They observed that Nigeria is endowed with a lot of renewable sources of energy which remained untapped due to constitutional bottlenecks that make electricity generation an exclusive affair of the central government.
They noted that the North is blessed with abundant solar which they can use to generate their electricity while there are places with hydro-power capacity and those that can generate power from natural liquid.
“So it is better that we decentralize power generation so that we can maximally tap from our abundant energy sources,” they averred.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Habibu Nuhu, noted that Nigeria was not using energy for productive and economic purposes, a reason why oil and gas contributed less than 2% of what the agricultural sector was contributing to the economy. Nuhu who delivered a paper titled “The Role of Energy in National Development,” advised Nigerians to take key interest in public governance.
“Nigeria should have an integrated national energy policy that will be geared toward driving market-oriented industry that has little or no barrier to entry,” he said.
“Moreover, the focus should be on the entrepreneurial opportunity that leverages on the competitive advantage of the local community for energy to serve as feedstock to drive economic activities like agriculture, ” he said.
The geologist also said that for any society to excel in the global energy drive it must leverage on God-given capacity of women, “as such we should transform them into productive economic agents”.
“There should be a deliberate effort geared toward incentivizing to enrol on energy-related vocational training and financing models designed to encourage women in energy business drive and participation.
According to him Nigerian Youth must be committed to personally contribute in changing the societal narrative view of governance. “Youth must take a special interest in governance and demand for accountability from public officials,” he said.
The colloquium which was chaired by Professor Omowumi Iledare with nine panel members, however recommended that citizen participation, especially youth and women in public governance could drive inclusive energy development and ensure shared prosperity.
Iledare said that the issue of energy was one of the most challenging issues that needed to be generally addressed among the whole citizens.
“As you all know, energy is like the food we consume, because if you don’t have the energy it is like you don’t have food. As such, we need to make a reform in the energy sector for us to go to where we want to go in terms of energy development,” he said.
The Colloquium Convener, Zayyanu Yabo, in his address, said that the aim of the meeting was to engage people to discuss issues that would lead to national development.
“This is in commemoration of our tradition and legacy of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders to create awareness among the society to establish the real need for national development,” Yabo said
They also recommended that public policy must emphasize on energy access and reducing energy poverty and increase per capita energy consumption.
Below is the full communique released after the event,
In recognition of the importance of Energy and the significant role it plays in the development of any Nation, a National Colloquium was held in the ancient city of Sokoto with the theme “The Role of Energy in National Development” with participants drawn from all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and erudite scholars and discussants who did justice to the topic of the day. Participants at the national colloquium observed that:
2. Key highlights from Colloquium Presentations:
I. The correlation between the GDP per capital and the energy consumption per capital is positive.
II. The intertwine between poverty and the energy policy is real.
III. Though oil is still the most vital source of energy today, renewable energy is on the upswing especially in the developed parts of the world.
IV. Nigeria has not even attained up to 10% of energy consumption per capital when compared to Europe and America.
V. Development is any improvement effort put in place to change the narrative of the people, while sustainable development has become the more desirable version of development.
VI. Energy is the food that is needed for the nation to grow and it encompasses all spheres of our national life: security, development and economic growth.
VII. In Nigeria, the number one distortion in our energy structure is the over-centralization of our energy generation, transmission and distribution whereas in other developed climes, the policy of regional comparative advantage is being applied to obtain effective and efficient energy mix which is developed and utilized from the respective local and tangential sources.
VIII. The biggest challenge in the Nigerian energy development is inefficient leadership techniques and weak corporate governance.
IX. Our public office holders who are responsible for energy governance are not held sufficiently accountable due to ineffective or inadequate consequence management. Citizens neither demand for transparency, accountability or their rights nor equip themselves with the knowledge which is now readily available with just a click of the phone.
X. Our women are not adequately incorporated in our development policy formulation and this is also applicable in the energy sector with serious consequences on national development aspirations.
XI. There is insufficient economic incentives by government to encourage investment in the energy sector.
XII. Even the crude oil energy source, where we have comparative advantage is not processed here but exported in its crude form. This has significantly contributed to the low energy consumption per capital in Nigeria.
I. Evidently, energy has a positive impact in our lives when effectively deployed.
II. While energy is a necessary component of human development, it is not in all situations that an increased availability of energy resources turns out to be positive.
III. The world is not lacking diverse energy sources, but energy inclusiveness and shared prosperity has been a critical issue that impede universal energy access
IV. Energy policy dictates must emphasize diverse energy mix to reduce risk exposure and enhance energy security.
V. Despite our huge natural resources, that the positive impact of energy on most human development indices is translated to overall benefits to citizens, this has to do with political will to build institutions that will ensure that development gains from impact of energy are far reaching.
VI. Public policy must emphasize on energy access and reducing energy poverty and increase per capital energy consumption
VII. Oil and gas industry value chain integration with emphasis on midstream development to drive full value addition to the economy and stimulate development
VIII. Government must have a realistic model to incentivize bottom of the pyramid in terms of energy consumption for overall national development. Necessary legislative amendment of the provisions of Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 should be carried out to make the Act consistent with the provisions of 1999 Constitution (as amended) so that state governments can develop energy policies that best suit their peculiar local energy needs as envisioned by the Constitution.
IX. Ensure that the positive impact of energy on most human development indices is translated to overall benefits to citizens, this has to do with political will to build institutions that will ensure that development gains from impact of energy are far reaching.
X. Citizen participation especially youth and women in public governance should be inculcated and encouraged to drive inclusive energy strategy and ensure shared prosperity which is critical to overall national development, peace, security and stability
It was highly recommended that this National Colloquium should be made a yearly event and involve wider stakeholders.
Engr. Akemokue Lukman
Facilitator, Communique Committee
Sammani Idris Kaura, Member, Colloquium Drafting Committee
Ibrahim Illo, Member, Colloquium Drafting Committee