If Oil Can’t Save Venezuela, It Sure Can’t Save Nigeria Says Ben Murray

When I proposed electric cars for Nigeria and started driving one, many laughed. Today, France, U.K. and Norway have banned petrol cars from between 2025-2040.

It is not a matter of if, when it is a matter of when. When I read about Boko Haram killing the engineers searching for oil in Lake Chad I was sad, because oil is fading product. It is on its way to obsolescence.
How can we allow people die for oil, a commodity that the world is moving away from in favour of electric, alternative energy and other non fossil fuels?

Mr. President and my colleagues in the National Assembly, If Nigeria does not restructure today and move our economy away from dependence on oil, a very, very rude shock awaits is eight years from now.
Our mass transit system is almost 100% completely dependent on a road transportation policy that is dependent on petrol and diesel. Even the new trains that the Nigerian Railway Corporation has are diesel engine units.

Eight years from now when Europe, America and Southeast Asia start going electric, Nigeria will become a dumping ground for petrol and diesel cars and trains that have no future.

Already we are becoming a dumping ground. Motor Assembly plants that are now becoming obsolete in South Africa and Asia are being knocked down and transported to Nigeria to deceive us that cars are being assembled in Nigeria.

Mr. President, my colleagues and fellow Nigerians, please do not be deceived. They have seen the future and are preparing for it. What we are getting are their rejects.

We must redesign our automobile and mass transit policy. We have a unique advantage in that we do not have a strong industrial base so we do not have to demobilize it and retool it for the future which is going green.

We can start afresh and go green.
We should design an automobile policy that provides that only manufactures of electric vehicles can come and set up manufacturing plants in Nigeria.
We should design a mass transit policy that provides that makes out railway system shift from diesel or other fossil fuels to either electric or any type of non fossil fuels.

Mr. President, my colleagues, time is running out. The world is moving on. We must remember that we are the leaders of Nigeria at this very moment and that good leaders sees the best in people but great leaders are the ones who helps people see the best in themselves. That’s what Nigeria needs and that is why I am doing this.

Mr. President, I was way ahead on this issue. I predicted it. I prepared for it. And now I am telling you that I have an automobile policy that I have prepared for Nigeria which I will give to you as my patriotic contribution to the growth of Nigeria because I don’t just believe in identifying problems, I also identify solutions.

If Nigeria does not restructure today and move our economy away from dependence on oil, a very, very rude shock awaits us eight years from now when the 2025 deadline of some European nations to move to electric cars take effect.

And Mr. President, it looks to me as if you are not even preparing for that. Nigeria seems to be digging its heels into oil rather than planning to get out before we become like the fly that follows the course into the grave.

When I read that Boko Haram killed engineers prospecting for oil in Lake Chad I was sad. Oil is fading. It is on its way to obsolescence. Should we be losing valuable human souls chasing after a commodity that is on its way to obsolescence?
How can we allow people die for oil, a commodity the world is moving from in favour of electric, alternative energy and non fossil fuels?

Look at Venezuela. The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognised as the largest in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels, yet Venezuela, with less than 20 % of Nigeria’s population is facing economic ruin. If oil could save a country it would have saved Venezuela!

That oil has not saved Venezuela means that it cannot save Nigeria. They have it more than we do. We are more populated than them. Do the maths!
What is happening in Venezuela will be child’s play compared to what may happen to Nigeria if we do not restructure before oil becomes obsolete.
Mr. President, it is no longer a choice. It is a necessity. As leaders, we cannot operate by what we see. We must exist by what we visualise.

A country like the United Arab Emirates is far ahead of us. Knowing what is coining for oil, they have diversified their economy away from oil to aviation.
Thirty per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of Dubai comes from aviation. It did not just happen by itself. It was and is the result of visionary and purposeful leadership by their leadership.

Now, more than ever, Nigeria needs that type of leadership.
A world without oil is not scare mongering. It is a very real possibility that is upon us and will keep biting harder and harder.

Let us not think that the West will save us by giving us aid when that time comes. We must be prudent and be aware that when it gets dark, even a man’s own shadow will leave him!

But it is not all bad news. In the midst of all this gloom, there is Anambra, a state that has shown us what can be done to better an economy without oil.
Anambra has taken to agriculture and manufacturing and is exporting its produce to Europe and earning billions of naira along the way.

What is it that Anambra is doing that cannot be done by other states with an even larger landmass than Anambra?

If we get our acts right in Nigeria, we can produce enough food to feed the rest of Africa and the $35 billion Africa spends importing food can find its way to Nigeria instead of to Europe and Asia.

• Murray-Bruce is the founder of the Silverbird Entertainment Group and the Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly


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